I started as a hero: „OMG! I am going to Antarctica!” I had to overcome my fear of cold and discomfort. Step out of my comfort zone. Creativity is most stimulated when something’s rubbing us, MAKES US FEEL uncomfortable, so – here we go – I’ll get myself some of that. I thought about James Cook, to get some more courage. As before I hadn’t known anyone who was there, my greatness in my own eyes was really huge ☺.
The only reason why I remember thinking about it in such a way was the fact that… I wrote it down. The very first day on the ship I knew that I would not be a hero. After reaching the Antarctica, I realised that I didn’t need to give myself courage thinking about James Cook.
And after the first trip I knew that I am a total blonde that I was even thinking about it this way.
This is simply RIDICULOUS! Stupid and ridiculous. What did I think before? Courage? It’s a bit like saying that you need courage to breathe. Or give yourself a present.
The best trip in my life was born out of fear, lack of knowledge and mistaken motivation.
Yes, I am a girl who always said she hated snow and ice. But I discovered that:
- I don’t hate snow and ice, but I do hate when I am COLD.
- I like natural beauty more than I hate cold.
- I’d never seen beautiful ice, and that was why I was talking rubbish.
Antarctica was like an atomic bomb for my mental state. It changed my own definition of who I was and what I liked. It questioned how well I knew myself. I – so conscious analysed every small bit of me – discovered that what I thought was me, was only my image of what was me.
Thirteen days, including six in Antarctica. My biggest goal every day was to IMPRINT every view, every sound, every emotion I felt into my emotional DNA. With every breath I wanted to incorporate Antarctica into me. I wanted it to be a part of me. I wanted to be whole with it. I wanted to never forget the shapes, feelings, landscapes and strangely pretty penguins. Antarctica was a place where I fully felt in the present, without a reference point, experience, groundlessness. Only penguins and me, sounds of birds and me, ice and me, beauty and me, the entire universe and me… There were people on the ship, who came to the continent 7th year in a row, not for fame and money, but for the ice. As they say about themselves – some of them turned it into their profession, and some of them go, because they can’t not go.
Usually I have no special problems with expressing emotions, but Antarctica overwhelmed me a little. Almost every day I happened to break down. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I couldn’t find any other way to express them. I was full of awe and uniqueness… I was not able to find words and feelings to show my admiration for nature, beauty, exotic. I was strong and weak at the same time. Incredibly grateful for being there. And mega sad that another day was behind me.
It is strange how little we know ourselves. And in how strange circumstances we discover our true nature. I – a girl who feels it being cold when the temperature is below 25 degrees, who wears wool hat even in the summer, who forms her life around the sun, escaping the snow. That girl is in love with the furthest, coldest and most lonely continent on this planet.
As I found out about myself so much in a week, I think I am like an ogre. I am also an onion. And I don’t know what else is hiding behind those layers of thinking about myself.
Thanks to my neighbour, Irek, who is a photographer and who trained me in taking photos, the camera was for me like a meditation pillow. Here and now. Full flow. Nothing else exists. Penguins and I. Ice and I. The whole world and I.
One could see that I was really cold, when I gave up taking photos. Then not only hands refused to obey me, but also my brain concentrated on visualising something warm while looking at gigantic glaciers. Thanks to this I had a cold and hot shower at the same time.
Normally I don’t wear clothes, in which I look like three of me, but the fear against cold was bigger than taking care of how I was going to look on the photos.
The worst was that later I was so warm that I had to undress. First time when our feet touched the continent of Antarctica, it was so hot that most of us fell on the ice to cool down a bit. And to record this incredible moment :).
I don’t know whether there are any animals sweeter and funnier than penguins. I could look at them for hours and I didn’t have enough. I completely cannot understand how some said: “God, those penguins again.” For me it was: “Oh, finally more penguins!!!”
Our ship looked like a tank. I think I really must have hit my head hard when thinking that visiting Antarctica was a brave thing on such ship, big like an iceberg :).
Sailing on zodiacs between the lumps of ice was so pleasant and magical that I often was moved to tears, looking at this natural beauty. Sometimes, when I was in the boat with Chad, whom I told at the beginning that I hated ice, he laughed when he saw me so moved: “Seriously? You hate ice?”
Penguins always lay two eggs the most. It is moving to watch them looking after the small ones and how they feed them (they store food in their stomach and dose it as needed).
The second day of New Year we visited the Esperanza (Hope) island, which I saw as a very good omen for next year. On the photos there’s me and the real hero – the army guy living there all year (so also during the winter). Argentinians choose the best of the best, and it is a real honour and dreams come true for them. Of course, they come with entire families.