This was probably the most common response I got from family and (non-travel industry) friends when I first announced I was going to Antarctica. Working in the adventure travel industry, where most of my colleagues have already been to Antarctica - some more than once - I forget that it’s not a place that most people realize that can be visited. It’s easy to forget about Antarctica: this big, empty continent at the bottom of the globe, so far away from everything we know and think about on a daily basis - it’s not like the penguins are causing newsworthy political trouble. So I understood the surprise when sharing my next vacation destination.
The second most common response was “But, why?”
This one was harder for me to understand and to explain. Ever since I found out that I didn’t have to have an advanced science degree to visit Antarctica, I desperately wanted to go. I wanted to experience this untouched continent that I’d heard colleagues speak of with reverence. As an artist, I was thrilled to have the chance to see what this continent had to show me, to try to translate the awe and wonder I was sure to feel into images that might capture just a fraction of it to share with the folks back home. As a lover of nature, I was excited to visit a place with so little human impact. Living in Montana, it’s pretty easy to find wilderness, but there was something about the remoteness of Antarctica that called to me in a totally new way. And as a curious person with an urge to explore, I was looking forward to getting the chance to do just that.