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by Zaid_bil on May 08, 2017



“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

I sit on the edge of the sturdy rubber boat, staring at the rare spectacular blue emanating from beneath the water. I wonder about hidden depths of ice below, and my heart begins thumping beneath layers of protective clothing. Sea ice crackles as our driver and naturalist Christian stands at the back of the boat, one hand around a long steering handle, navigating us away from the safety of the expedition ship. I glance around at icebergs everywhere and notice the emphasis of white under vibrant sunshine, cloudless skies and zero wind. This does not look to me as terrain to touch. I feel as if I have been transported either to another planet or another time period.

None of us nine passengers say anything. We glide with grace, crunching through sections of ice toward a tall, wide, snow-covered mountain. Cracks, ridges, and one long slope of thick white smoothness covers dark rocks below.  A few whispered “wows” mine included, are all emphasized like I’ve never heard before. It’s like being in the presence of a spectacular cathedral. So sacred, I’m frozen by it. Beauty and wonder exist here, yet a sense of harshness and danger is present too. It is sensory overload – the serene, devoid of smell, emptiness and unknown. I am drugged by it.

I glance up at the inchworm type straight lines of five or six specks climbing up the mountain ahead, spread out in various sections. They look like dot to dots along the quiet white ice. They are skiers, my husband included, roped together making their first ascent to the summit with the reward of skiing down.

One of five trekkers and ninety-seven skiers, I am the only one who is afraid to venture out and explore Antarctica on a roped line. I am questioning if I belong here. If I should’ve come after all. I’m not a skier or mountaineer. I do not light up at freezing temperatures, fresh tracks, and powder. I am here because my husband Gordon asked me to accompany and support him in his dream of skiing Antarctica. He wants me to experience this place very few people get to see, with him.  But I’m feeling vulnerably alone. Separate from and different than all these bundled up extreme adventurers. None of them seem to own an ounce of trepidation.

Heading now for the landing area, my stomach feels queasy. I am worried that a snow bridged crevasse – something I never knew existed before – will somehow swallow me up if I participate in the trekking excursion with my group. I feel a lump in my throat, but voice my feelings to our guide anyway. “Uh…Sarah, I…I am not going to go after all. I can’t do it yet. This just feels…I…I…I am just overwhelmed at all of this.”