Antarctica and the Garden of Eden

riding a surly moonlander in antarctica

ericlarsenexplore.com


It’s eerie to listen to the voice. The transmission starts out chirpy, almost a forced chirpyness. As the voice goes on, loneliness and a sort of uncertainty come through. The voice is not real time but it’s still chilling to realize it’s coming from the middle of the Antarctic, the middle of that frozen desert. He’s alone. I can see pictures of him crouched in the orange glow inside the little tent, or huddled beside the bike trying to get out of the wind.

Eric Larsen just returned from an attempt to ride a Surly Moonlander to the South Pole…and I complain about a little bit of snow on the local roads! Spoiler Alert: He didn’t make it. At first he saw it as a failure, but on the ride back to the pickup point it sounds as though he started to enjoy the routine. That brings to mind a paradox; one needs a goal when setting out on a journey, but if the ultimate, original goal is not reached, is that necessarily a failure? What is the point of the journey after all? Sure, Eric had sponsors and he felt as though he let them down but at the same time he was being realistic. He calculated that he would be out of supplies before he reached the South Pole. How would his sponsors look and feel if he died>

Tom Allen set out on his own journey. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but when he found it he was self aware enough to know it. And lucky for us, he made a movie titled Janapar. We will be screening it twice this month (January 2013) so if you want more information about that leave a comment.

Paul Salopek is planning to walk from Ethiopia and across Asia before crossing over to Alaska and continuing the length of the North and South American continents, ending up at the “end of land”. That’s 21,000 miles. On foot. What’s scary is that I sort of get this trip. He is a journalist and his “goal is to cover the major global stories of our time by walking alongside the people who live them on a daily basis”. To me the hardest part of this trip would be the mental aspect. He plans on walking for seven years. Thinking about reaching the end, or even the day’s stopping place- o n f o o t- might drive me mad. His website is called Out of Eden

Paul Salopek in Ethiopia

John Stanmeyer
NPR.ORG

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