“How did your presentation to the corporate client go?” “Well they either loved it or think I’m a total alien.”
This perfectly sums up Reho Travel’s Karsten Horne, one of the great personalities of travel in Australia.
But Karsten went polar; Antarctic Polar. Why anyone would choose to go somewhere freezing cold on a holiday is still a mystery to me, but as Karsten shows, to #traveltochangetheworld you’ve got to go beyond the comfort zone to experience the unbelievable
Welcome to a typical morning on Sea Adventurer’s 23-Day Epic Antarctica voyage.
I sit up quickly and smack my head on the ceiling. I’m in the top bunk of a triple cabin. An iceberg floats past. I reach with my toes for the ladder, arch my back and slide slowly downwards. I do the final twist, spin clockwise, avoid a pile of life preservers and perform a face plant.
Why on earth would you choose to put yourself through this for 23 days? It’s not exactly flop and drop.
Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So I might as well go for 23 days.
When people ask about my favourite country I exclude Antarctica because there is no comparison. The brochures just don’t do justice to the immensity. You’re standing there looking at a whole continent. A complete wilderness where nobody lives.
The first iceberg I saw was as big as the MCG. You are thinking it’s not really that big and then they tell you… it just changes your perspective.
One day on South Georgia we walked from Fortuna Bay to Stromness as the Explorers did 100 years before. 5.5km over a ridge and across a glacier and down icy slopes. At the waterfall we were on our knees drinking glacial water that was millions of years old.
How does it feel to be in that environment, that sense of isolation, and that sense of time?
On the ship you have this incredibly experienced crew around you. Everything is very organised, safe and efficient. The Quark Expeditions crew are professionals and all experts in various areas. So as a result there was very little fear even though you are so far away.
When you are drinking glacial water you are trying to imagine its journey. You just can’t imagine a million years.
Was being ‘cut off’ an important part of your journey?
We actually had no communications for the whole trip. Which for me is quite rare considering I’m on social media a lot. Once you get used to it, you really get back to basics. You start reading a lot of books, you start communicating with humans a bit more.
You give yourself time to appreciate nature. It’s really important to just find that time.
When did the experience of what you are doing start to hit home?
We were in South Georgia on the rubber Dingy about to head to shore there were 700,000 or 800,000 penguins standing there waiting for us…
Sorry Karsten did you say 700,000?
Yes, 700,000 or 800,000 penguins. Waves and waves and waves of penguins off into the distance. You just get all emotional and teary going ‘whoa, this is real’.
You’ve stepped into a different world.
What are your reflections of home like at that point?
You think of home… your house, your environment and think wow, that’s great, I’ve got that to go back to.
As a family it’s changed us. Our next trip is to Rwanda and we are craving the remoteness. After we’d spent that time in those remote areas together as a unit it’s hard to want to go anywhere mainstream. Really wanting those places where not many tourists have been.
But Karsten being Karsten, the beauty, this pure theater and drama could not leave it there.
Tune in next week to find out the tips and tricks of putting together this sort of adventure
What are your thoughts?
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