October. That time of year when people everywhere start reconciling themselves to their year’s unfinishable to-do list, while desperately trying not to think of the process as one big metaphor for life; where we all secretly wonder whose genius idea it was to invent a calendar which draws to an end as the days shorten and the bitter chill takes hold, as if it’s purposely trying to encourage people to top themselves and thereby free up some winter stores for the rest of us.
Except if you’re in Antarctica*! where the year ends in a glorious blaze of sunshine (and bitter chill) and a new season of tourists. In my wildest fantasies we join them this year. In the reality which is not having the type of children who would happily fly forty hours around the world to crew a square rigger or read weighty novels in their rooms on board an icebreaker, this fantasy holiday will have to do.
Intended For: Mum, Dad, a supernaturally-well-behaved six-year-old and a supernaturally-well-behaved three-year-old.
Overview: Ushuaia and the Railway At The End Of The World, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Shackleton’s Grave, South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, Drake Passage, Antarctic Peninsula.
Strengths: Great learning opportunities (patience, frustration tolerance, impulse control, counting to ten, uno).
Forseeable difficulties and mitigating strategies: We may not have much chance to learn any of the above if our kids are too supernaturally-well-behaved. Luckily, there should be other passengers.
Estimated Price Bracket: Expensive. Maybe we could be supernaturally rich as well?
Days One, Two, Three
- Fly Singapore -> Ushuaia via a long, route which takes us to the South pole from Singapore via somewhere like Amsterdam, because that makes sense (about 40hrs and the kids will love it!)
- Explore Ushuaia. Hahahahaha I meant “try to shake the immediate after-effects of the long flight”.
- Overnight Ushuaia.
- Explore Ushuaia and overnight again.
- Take the Railway At The End Of The World to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. View park, wildlife.
- Overnight Ushuaia.
Days Seven Through Twenty-Nine (ish)
- Board ship for Antarctica.
- Marvel at life on board.
- Listen to interesting presentations from Antarctic experts.
- Visit places such as the Falkland Islands, Port Stanley, Shetland Islands, South Georgia, Shackleton’s Grave, South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney Islands, the ANTARCTIC PENINSULA and the infamous Drake Passage.
- Play Uno. Lots of Uno.
- Have pleasant conversations about kids, travel, geography, history, culture, social responsibility, logistics, marine biology, civil engineering, and sometimes, coffee or wine (plus anything related).
- Sing Von-Trapp-Family-Style sets on deck each night using musical instruments crafted out of driftwood, dried kelp, and penguin vertebrae. (Side note: Bought the album. Love it. Not sponsored.)
- Dream wistfully of having a non-fantasy holiday with normal children who fight, whine, forget their table manners, and crash around causing general danger to self and others, because we can be as perverse as anyone**.
Day Thirty (ish)
- Arrive back at Ushuaia.
Days Thirty-One, Thirty-Two
- Fly all the freaking way home. Or otherwise return to real life.
*And most of the rest of the world, as it happens.
This week and most of next I might as well be sailing to Antarctica, because my parents are visiting. Uh, what I mean to say is that I won’t be on the internet much, just as if I was sailing to Antarctica on board a vessel without wifi. Fewer penguins, of course. Anyway, I’m not deliberately trying to be rude or anti-social(media).