The Journey Begins

I boarded the tall ship at the dock and waved farewell to all of my love ones for the years long journey ahead of me. I know that I might not return to them… the journey will be harsh. Odds are, some from my expedition party will not return alive.

The dogs and sleds are stashed and all is well, but there’s a sense of foreboding for a very difficult trip. Heavy seas, harsh conditions, and even scurvy make traveling to Antarctica a fools journey.


As I rest here in a comfortable Holiday Inn room in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, I am struck by how much easier exploring the seventh continent has become in a historically short period of time. My biggest obstacles so far have been delayed flights, finding outlets to charge my iPhone and trying to invent a position to sleep in my airplane seat that did not involve cuddling on the shoulder of the man sitting beside me.

Seriously, think about it! I traveled over 10,000 miles in just over one day. How freaking awesome is that!!! Aside from the fact that I am pretty sure my derrière fell off somewhere over Colombia, the trip is going great.

Random things I’ve learned so far:

1) When in doubt, ask a total stranger on the same flight. I was a tad confused about how and where I was supposed to collect my checked bag at Pearson International Airport in Toronto without going through security again. Not only did the couple beside me give me verbal instructions, when we got off the plane they actually showed me the direction to go.

Lesson learned: While some people are traveling to the destination to visit, it is quite likely that some people on the same flight are traveling home. There may be an expert who can answer your question sitting right next to you.

2) Even travel agents don’t get it right every time. My little adventure through Newark (we sat on the runway for 40 minutes in Toronto) apparently could’ve been avoided had I flown directly with Air Canada from Toronto to Buenos Aires. The lady helping me check-in at YVR looked at me kind of incredulously that I hadn’t taken that route. It certainly would’ve made things easier. If you are looking to travel to Antarctica, be sure to check your flight options to Ushuaia.

While I’m talking YVR, can I just say how comfortable our airport feels to me. Love it!

3) I am grateful that I got my Argentinian pesos at the airport in Toronto. It would’ve been a whole heckuva lot more complicated doing that here in Argentina given that I don’t speak Spanish.

4) I need to learn more Spanish.

and finally…

5) Beware the girl magic.

I wonder if the hotel management knows that is possible to wash the ceiling with that bit of bathroom technology. I don’t recall actually had a bidet in my room before, so I had to check to see what happened when you pushed that button. Bad idea. Scratch that. It was worth it, in a Brady Bunch disaster sort of way. But consider yourself warned. 😉

It’s 7 PM local time, and I’m feeling almost human again after a good nap. Time to go see if I can find one of those legendary Argentinian steaks for supper. My next flight leaves at 8:15am so it will be another early morning.

Antarctica is only one flight and a cruise ship ride away now; no sails, sleds or scurvy required. So exciting.

Greg Tjosvold is a teacher, writer, and innovator. One of the first to crowdsource his biography, he is apparently 12 ft tall, has no body fat, is always polite, and is the only living recipient of an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Stanley Cup, Pulitzer, and two Nobel prizes (Economics and Break Dancing). He is currently reevaluating the merits of crowdsourcing.

He is the father of two amazing children and currently lives with his wonderful wife in the wilds of suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.