Friday, 4 October 2013
I always wanted to go to Antarctica. I don't even remember when I decided that I wanted to go there. I just wanted to go at least once in my lifetime. I guess I read too many books about explorers lost in the heart of Africa, or Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. These explorers and travellers that went to unknown places. I also wanted to have the feeling of being in an untouched and unchartered place. It is this kind of silly dreams, that you think you would never fulfil. But, because of my work, and a little bit of luck, I could make my dream come true. 

And I actually found more that what I expected. I'm not going to go into details. I only want to point out some facts I wasn't aware of before going there. First of all, you are in a place isolated from the world. You are not even in any country. Your passport says that you are out of the world. Yes, I wanted to have that feeling, but I didn't understand what it would mean before going there. The point is that you depend only on the people that it's there. For anything. If something happens there, you are the people who have to solve it. And nobody is going to go away if things get bad. So you do an effort to be helpful to the community, and not to be grumpy, or impolite. You try to make it easy for the other people, because you are going to share a little space and a few resources for a few months. You feel this detachment from normal life (you don't need money, for example), but you feel a strong sense of community. And, I have to say, I was very lucky because I found really good people there. We were most of the time laughing and sharing our experiences. 

And we shared this "Antarctic spirit" with the people who visited the island. Deception island is a very touristic place, and a lot of boats go there. They would land and would ask for something, like some food, or whatever they needed. And you would give it willingly, because you knew that nobody else could help them. 

It is a place where you give your best, doing something you love (seismological research, in my case) and you see that if the entire world had this sense of community everything would be better. This responsibility of being honest and helpful. 

Before going, I was afraid that I would say "Tu l'as voulu, Georges Dandin", like Conrad's main character. But it wasn't like that. I found much more than I was looking for. So, pursue your dreams. Sometimes they are even better than you thought.

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