At the end of December, we had the pleasure of traveling to Antarctica. It was so much fun to travel with my mom and my two oldest daughters, Emma and Olivia.
Mili, our youngest daughter, was also invited because we wanted a fun girl’s trip.
But Mili isn’t a fan of the cold, so her response was, “No, thank you. It is way too cold for me.”
Of course, my response was, “I think you’re going to regret it when you’re older. How many opportunities do you get to go to Antarctica?”
But she insisted that she was just fine and had no desire to go, so Mili stayed home while the rest of us embarked on one incredible journey.
Visiting Antarctica Has Always Been a Goal
My mom is 84 years old. She has been to 97 countries and traveling to Antarctica completed her circle of visiting all seven continents.
My daughter, Olivia, who just turned 21 in December, had also visited six continents before Antarctica.
When she was younger, Olivia was the kid who loved signing up for school trips. She went to Australia on a school trip. She went to Ireland on a school trip. And she was able to visit India while attending the wedding of one of her closest friends.
So. with this trip to Antarctica, Olivia also completed her circle of visiting all seven continents.
This is the backstory of why we went.
We knew that it was going to be an adventure. But we also knew that it was so much more than that for my mom and Olivia.
Antarctica was the Experience of a Lifetime
I believe that every time we travel, it is life-changing in some way.
For our trip to Antarctica, there are two parts that were life-changing for me.
The first one is being able to do a trip like this with my mother and two of my daughters.
Having three generations on such an incredible journey really did make this trip the experience of a lifetime.
We may never go that way again. And with my mother’s age, having three generations there was priceless.
The second thing that made it life-changing for me is that Antarctica is a place that has barely been touched.
Antarctica has no native human inhabitants.
I don’t know the actual number of people who have visited Antarctica in their lifetime, but I would imagine it’s not a very large number.
To Visit Antarctica, You Have to Take a Cruise
Antarctica is incredibly remote, so you can’t book a hotel to stay in. You have to book a cruise instead.
And because of regulations put into place to restrict the number of tourists at any given time, very large cruise ships are unable to enter Antarctic waters.
So, the cruises that are offered are in very small boats compared to larger cruise lines.
Because it’s so remote, even the cruise ship isn’t easy to get to. We had to fly through Chile and take a couple of other flights to get there.
We then had to fly over the infamous Drake Passage.
The Drake Passage is known for its rough waters. The reason for its roughness is that there is no resistance to the currents at that latitude from any landmass anywhere on Earth.
Basically, the Drake Passage is just free-flowing arctic water with incredibly high winds, making it a real challenge to navigate.
And while some people like that kind of adventure, we made the choice to fly over the passage instead.
The Beauty of Antarctica is Breathtaking
It was amazing to see the icebergs and the glaciers and all of the really incredible colors that come from the combination of the ice and the sun.
The way the light reflected off the icebergs made for crazy blues and greens that were vibrant and radiant.
The colors were so intense that they didn’t look like they should come from ice. But there they were, like nothing we had ever experienced.
It was absolutely beautiful.
The penguins were also amazing to see.
To be honest, seeing the penguins was probably our favorite part. They were just so cute and so interesting to watch.
It was all such a wonder to behold.
Preservation was an Important Part of the Journey
I love the company we traveled with.
We went with an organization called Quark Expeditions.
They were very careful about maintaining the environment and not introducing any new bacteria or microbes into the environment that could change the area.
They checked all of our clothing, and they vacuumed everything.
Every day we got on and off the boat, we had to wear specific boots. And we had to wash our boots with a very specific solution.
This way, the environment remained untouched and unaltered by non-native bacteria and microbes that may have been transported on our clothing or shoes.
The care they took to protect Antarctica was touching to me.
It just goes to show that it really is a continent that has remained relatively untouched and unaltered by humans.
That, alone, is incredible to me, given the billions of people on the planet.
Taking the Polar Plunge
The most exciting thing we did on our trip to Antarctica was the Polar Plunge.
Of course, my mom didn’t participate in the Polar Plunge at 84 years old. But Olivia, Emma, and I did.
I hyped it up big before we went and told the girls that it was something we absolutely had to do.
As we were waiting in line to do it, though, the only thoughts that kept going through my head were, “What are we doing? What are we thinking? Why are we jumping into this water?”
But, a lot of times, I think we have to push ourselves to do things that are uncomfortable and that we don’t have control over.
This was one of those times, and I’m so glad we did it.
We made the jump into that frigid water—and when I say frigid, I mean frigid. There were icebergs floating almost right next to us. But we did it together.
It was so cold that my skin was freezing when I got out and it was tingling for ten minutes or even more after.
But I’m so glad we did it.
I would highly recommend it to anyone else who is trying to decide if it’s something they want to do.
I say, just do it.
Traveling Is One of My Favorite Things to Do
When you have the opportunity to travel, it’s really one of the best things you can do.
It doesn’t matter where it is, it’s just about doing something different.
Travel is about seeing different places and enjoying all that the world has to offer.
There are so many amazing places to see and so many lessons to be learned.
Most of all, travel is a wonderful way to spend time with your family and experience new things together.
I will never forget the experiences I shared with my mom and my two oldest daughters in Antarctica.
Those moments will stay with us forever.
I look forward to many more adventures together.