Arriving in Ushuaia at the End of the world

30 hours after I left my home in Copenhagen I arrived at Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is placed all the way down at the southern tip of Argentina which has earned it the name of “Fin del Mundo”, or “End of The World”.

It was a long trip, in fact the longest of my life

It was a long trip, in fact the longest of my life, but finally I was standing there at the baggage line in the tiny airport hoping dearly that my checked bag had made it too. I had the essentials in my carry-on but there is still a lot of important stuff that I wouldn’t be happy about losing.

When I came in to Ushuaia I saw towering snow covered mountains in the horizon and it hit me what a vast distance I had travelled. I had gone from the cold north all the way across the hottest part of the earth and continued around until I hit cold again. Just a little bit longer and I would have  gone from pole to pole.

There’s enough to do here if nature is what you seek

I went on thinking about Jules Vernes’ legendary book, Around the World in 80 Days, and how it’s now possible in less than 2. The engineer in me was impressed, the adventurer in me felt lucky.

Another thing I noticed was the people. In Buenos Aires it was busy with business men and women in suits, tourists wearing sneakers and ladies wearing high heels. When I touched down in Ushuaia there was none of that. Here, you didn’t see a lot of locals, the main language you heard in the halls was English and the sneakers and high heels had been switched for trekking boots.

It was clear that this city was a tourist town and that many adventures and expeditions started here. To the north and west you have Patagonia, a sparsely touched and very remote part of the world. A heaven for bird watchers and trekkers alike. To the south you have the 7th continent and it’s pristine winter wonderland.

There’s enough to do here if nature is what you seek!

As I walked out of the airport I noticed something very odd. Something very peculiar that I had never seen before; A line for the taxis!

I would rather wait 10 minutes for a taxi any day, than being asked if I want a taxi a hundred times before I’m even out of the airport.

Yes, that’s right. I long line of about 50 people waiting to get a taxi ride. I have never seen this before. Coming from Central America where there are literally hundreds of both official and un-official taxi drivers waiting for you when you come out this was a refreshing change of pace. I would rather wait 10 minutes for a taxi any day, than being asked if I want a taxi a hundred times before I’m even out of the airport.

So I grabbed a taxi, shared it with 3 other tourists and off I went.

When I arrived at the hotel I knew that I would fall asleep instantly if I stuck around for too long, so I made a point of just dropping my bags and then hurrying out before getting too comfortable.

When I walked around town I noticed something strange again. I felt dizzy and confused. I felt fresh but tired at the same time. I noticed that when I had to do something that involved cognitive activity I was at 25% at most. I also noticed that my balance was somewhat off.

I got myself a burger and a Beagle, a local craft beer, walked around for 1½ hour and went back to the hotel. I instantly fell asleep and slept for 11 hours until I woke up next morning at 7am. And with that my first day in Argentina was over.

Although I’ve travelled more than most I’m happy that I can still have new experiences and new feelings. There is always something more to do and something more to see.

This is also the first time in South America and soon I’ll be on Antarctica. That’s 2 continents I’ve never been to before on the same trip and within 2 days.

Let the exploring begin!

clear skies over Ushuaia
Clear skies over Ushuaia, Argentina. The trip is off to a good start

Conquering Antarctica. The 7th continent, the final frontier, the land of the penguins

I don’t remember when I first mentioned Antarctica to my friends but it’s been years.

If you ask someone to mention 5 things they think about when you say Antarctica, “penguins” is guaranteed to be one of them.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a great fondness for penguins. There is just something adorable about their posh always-wearing-a-smoking lifestyle in a mini-world where no-one else is around; even though most of the rest of the world doesn’t seem to appreciate it for anything else than vast, cold and inhospitable.

Adult penguins don’t have alot of natural enemies as there simple aren’t anyone else that bothers going where they go (okay, there are a few enemies but not many) – the inanimate nature, on the other hand, is different story!

This is good, because except for their flappy flippers, they are virtually defenceless. Although, thinking about it, their incessive squawking and their godawful smell is probably enough to deter all but the most hardened.

So why am i rambling on about penguins when the title of this post is Antarctica? Because, of course, if you ask someone to mention 5 things they think about when you say Antarctica, “penguins” is guaranteed to be one of them (ice, snow and cold are other excellent candidates).

They are such an integrated part of the antarctic landscape and the main reason why I want to go there.

So, the point is that I’ve wanted to go for quite some time. Some people want to buy a car, some people want to renovate their house and since I’ve already done both, I’ve decided to spend it on a trip to Antarctica. I’ll get into the cost of this adventure in another post after the trip is done so hold tight – spoiler – it ain’t cheap, folks!

However, with a steep price tag, only a 5 month season and a trip to “Fin Del Mundo”/”End of the World” aka Ushuaia at the tip of south Argentina to even begin your journey, only about 34.000 people a year make it to Antarctica.

There are of course other compelling reasons like bucketlist checkboxes and bragging rights. Having conquered the 7th and final continent ensues monumental bragging rights. However, with a steep price tag, only a 5 month season and a trip to “Fin Del Mundo”/”End of the World” aka Ushuaia at the tip of south Argentina to even begin your journey, only about 34.000 people a year make it to Antarctica. Which is of course also a big part of the reason why it’s so unspoiled, raw and pristine.

I realized, that since the season is so short and because it’s time for me to go back and work it might very well be now or never that I’ll able to have the time, money and energy to embark on such an expedition.

From here, everything happened very fast – see if you can hold on!

  • On the 13th of November, 2018 I booked a one way ticket to Ushuaia hoping to go from bureau to bureau to find that sweet last-minute deal.
  • On the 16th of November, 2018 I found that deal.
  • On the 26th of November, 2018 I will embark on the journey of a lifetime.

The man on the phone gave me 12 hours to accept the offer he had found.

The man on the phone gave me 12 hours to accept the offer he had found. “Now or never”, he said. “This is it”, he said.” It checks off all your boxes”, he said. “I called everyone – this is the one”, he said. “You can pay by credit card”, he said, “Tina will take care of you”.

And with that my dream was about to become a reality.

Antarctica and penguins

I will be posting more about this trip, so stay tuned. There is no internet on the boat, so the posts will be slightly delayed until after I’ve returned.

Free camping on the beach on Maui, Hawaii

We rented a car for a few days, bought a tent in Walmart and went free camping. Free camping is free camping on public land.

Can you do it on Maui? Absolutely. Is it legal? meeeeeehh. Ish.

It’s tolerated and if you stick to a few rules, you’ll be fine. Ask me in comments if you want advice.

 

This is the view when we wake up in the tent – I mean, holy smokes. The night before we actually very seriously feared that the tide would swallow our tent!

When you wake up, you’re in the middle of the obscenely beautiful landscape that is Maui. You’ll be enjoying this view all day and all the beaches are spectacular!

So what are you waiting for? Hawaii doesn’t have to be so expensive.

Contact me on your favourite social media or here in the comments if you want advice or just want to chat

 

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