When I came back from the Choquequirau trail and had reception last week I had one message in my inbox I didn’t expect. It was an offer which I could not decline anymore…

Flashback: Two weeks earlier when I was still in Bolivia I investigated a bit on how to bridge the time until the end of the rainy season in March since I want to go to the Cordillera Blanca. But hiking solo in flooded conditions is not a good idea. Well I ran into an Aussie girl on my Huayna Potosi climb and she told me from her amazing trip to Antarctica. The spark was set…

I contacted her tour operator and they came back to me with a few options. The careful reader will probably know that I am not the type of guy that goes on a fancy cruise ship with all the glamour. So I asked for something that would give me as much as possible nature, insights and activities without any glamour (remember, I still only own three t-shirts and I am not planning on buying any fancy stuff… 😉). They came back with an amazing offer to visit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkney, South Shetlands, and finally Antarctica. The price was a good deal but still quite a stretch for an unemployed guy like me 😉. When I decided to go I had to learn that the last spot in the triple room had been reserved and I had to wait over the weekend to see if it would get available again. The twin cabin was no option for me – another 2,500USD more. So I waited and really hoped for it to happen… On Monday had to learn that someone else went for the triple and I called it off. It was not supposed to happen on this tip I guess. So off I went to go hiking in the Sacred Valley.

And now there it was – this message. The ship leaves in five days. Final an unbeatable deal for the the twin room. Somewhat wanted me to go I guess. I quickly checked if I could make it from Cusco to Ushuaia on time (I still had to get to Machu Picchu and back to Cusco) and then contacted Jennifer, the agent of my trust, to tell her that I was in. I am going to Antarctica!!!

I thought it would be an easy two hour thing to organise flights and pay the tour. Big misconception! I have to say it was a big fight during the last five days to actually make it happen. All the things which happened would fill en entire blog post, so just briefly.
I booked a flight online directly with Aerolineas Argentinas, which I couldn’t pay online. They referred me to the call centre which I tried to contact for over 4 hours from a public phone getting kicked out of line ever forty minutes to find out that I could not pay there either. The only way was a travel agency which could issue the tickets or a bank. To late for the day and I hoped to be able to organise it in Aquas Calientes – the town close to Machu Picchu on the next day. Of course this didn’t work out, no travel agency in town, the bank closed on a Saturday and more Call Centre time. I ended up buying a new ticket after my reservation was lost with a German Travel agency… 🙈

And then there was the payment. The operator wanted a secured payment or course since the ship left in less than five days now. Have you ever tried to transfer a 5 digit amount quickly to another country? I can tell you – Odysseus trip home from Troja was a piece of cake compared to this! Credit Card limits, banks which keep money in the orbit forever when you transfer it, different regulations and information, 100USD worth of telephone calls from public phones to hotlines overseas, wifi which let’s your receive emails but not send, time zones, weekends were nobody works, commitments and at the end of four days of back and forth only two hours left to find a solution. Half of the amount paid as a down payment and the call that if the money was not there the ship would not issue my documents and I couldn’t go. Well, the Kiwis probably knew: She’ll be right, brew! At the end it happened in the last hour by a lucky punch and the knowledge that my best friend would have sped in to just pay the rising amount to make it happen. NGT 😘!

Traveling sometimes is a tough business. It’s a lot of work, stress and organisation. Of course there is a lot of fun at the end. But sometime the way to get there involves a lot of work. Russell has put this together in a nice article (Corporate Skills of a World Traveler). I’ll probably use this if I ever go back and have to apply for a job 😂

Anyways at the end it work out. I am sitting in Ushuaia, which is the self declared “Fin del Mundo” (The end of the World) and wait for my boat to depart in a few hours. I am going to Antarctica!

After all the payments went through I treated myself with a typical Argentinian “asado”. Unreached. And soooo good!

 

It is an intense feeling to be back in Ushuaia. I have been here a few years ago at the end of a very special trip – a special trip for many reasons…

We spent very intensive four weeks in Patagonia and it was when my love for trekking really started. We spend a lot of time hiking in the Fitz Roy area, Torres del Paine and around Los Dientes on the Isla Navarino which I can see across the channel from my seat in the cafe now. Amazing memories on a great journey and on the beginning of a love for trekking. Stoked to be back!

So, last little thing before I embark and will be offline for three weeks! No internet, no nada! I am so looking forward to the silence. I’ll for sure do some writing and try to capture what I experience at these unique and amazing spots. The boat ride in between will for sure also give enough time for reflections and thoughts.

After I visited Choquequirau and Machu Picchu I wanted to know more about the amazing culture of the Incas. So I went to a book store at Lima airport and found this. Can’t wait to start.

But before I will finish Sam’s present from Vancouver. Trying to understand why #ilovemountains

But – what I came across in the book store was just another highlight. Even though I hardly plan anything I of course think of the future. For sure not with anxiety but with curiosity of what I will and could do. And most probably there will be a time “after the travels”. But how will that look like? And my biggest concern and question. How will I be able to preserve this feeling of happiness which I have worked on for the last year in the normal life? The time in Vancouver with a more normal life has already shown how quickly you get trapped in certain things and how quickly normal life brings you back to many obligations and more…

So what did I just stumble over in the book store. “Adultery”, a book of my favourite author Paulo Coelho who also wrote the Alchemist which inspired me so greatly in New Zealand. Just read yourself. Is that a sign? Of course I got a copy and are super excited to read it on the boat. Let’s see what he will do to me this time… 😊

%d bloggers like this: