One couple's unforgettable trip to a cold, unlikely place
A lot of us might choose a warm and tropic destination to enjoy a vacation or trip, but I had the opportunity to talk with an incredible woman named Chelsea who had a very different vacation spot in mind. Think south. Very south. Like, Antarctica.
She is a free spirit. Then again, she also loves to plan (just like my wife!). Apparently, that combination creates an environment that is ripe for a unique way to spend a Thanksgiving.
Okay, unforgettable might be a better word.
Instead of a cruise to the Bahamas, Chelsea and her husband Ryan hopped aboard an 88-passenger ship from Argentina and headed south toward Antartica for Thanksgiving last year. As the rest of us enjoyed our oversized gluttonous meals, this couple was in the midst of a trip of a lifetime.
After all, her husband's goal of visiting every continent needs to include Antarctica.
Their Thanksgiving meal on-board the ship? A few rolls from the ship's dining room, turkey jerky, corn nuts, dried cranberries, potato chips and a delicious dessert of pecan and apple pie Lara bars. Gotta do what you gotta do when sailing the high seas.
"I do my best to not take myself or life too seriously, there is way too much to be grateful for and way too many things to laugh about," she told me.
"My social worker heart felt as though this would be fun but wouldn't really help anyone. From there it morphed into us putting together a program called The Map to Dreaming BIG and we ended up teaching a webinar to our members from each continent, with Antarctica being our last stop!"
Yeah, it was cold. But, the moment Chelsea and Ryan set foot on the continent of Antarctica was when chills could truly be felt.
"Not only did I feel an incredible sense of personal accomplish - mentally and financially," she said, "but also that I got to experience this with my husband." Though Antarctica is 98% covered by ice, "the beauty and the intensity was something I was unprepared for."
"Of course, hanging out with penguins and falling in love with icebergs was pretty spectacular too!"
What was the toughest part of the expedition?
Let's talk about Drake's passage, which is a notoriously rough stretch of water that extends south from Cape Horn, South America down to Antarctica. Imagine monster-sized waves slamming against the ship and rocking it so violently that lunch and dinner were canceled on their first "Drake Day". Now, imagine enduring it for 38 straight hours.
Chelsea's advice? "Take the drowsy Dramamine before you set sail, only take small sips of water and hope that you can sleep through most of it," she wrote on her blog. "The waves got up to over 21 feet, which was "thankfully normal." They can get up to 45 – woof."
She told me that while sailing through Drake's passage the first time was bad enough, the anticipation of having to do it again on the way back was a daunting thought. "I can tell you it was absolutely worth it".
What is your advice for others who dream of seeing Antarctica?
"Start saving!" This trip, while amazing, isn't generally cheap. "There were moments through the process of saving up and then paying for the trip when I thought OMG, we are spending so much money to do this! I sure hope it's worth it..." She said that if people want this bad enough, they will make it a priority. "Start planning and take action!"
Just how much money did Chelsea and her husband spend to see Antarctica? Over $10,000, but she would do it again in a heartbeat. "There are so many places to see in our world, so I don't often like to travel to the same place again". But this time, she would. Yes, Drake's passage and all.
Like me, Chelsea and Ryan want to retire by 35 and travel the world but prioritized the expense of this trip over adding to their retirement stash.
She described three primary reasons why they chose to spend money on this trip:
1) what we currently value (for 2015, this included making memories, traveling, and making a difference)
2) timing (we currently don't have any kids and had time in our calendars)
3) we can make more money
She added that number two and three haven't always been the case, especially when working their former 9 to 5 jobs. They both now work for themselves, and "we have the opportunity to work harder and smarter to make more money."
Chelsea blogs over at TheNewWifestyle.com.
Enjoy a few photos that Chelsea and Ryan were kind enough to let me borrow!