Sunday, January 27, 2019

Left Eye Right Finger: Journey to Antarctica

Antarctica, the most mysterious place on earth. It covers the land mass three times the size of Australia. It is a true behemoth in the annals of global connoisseurs of photographic travel.
Antarctica is much more than its center, the South Pole. It extends its elbow of ice until it touches the Southern, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This frozen wonderland is home to the coldest, deepest and most chaotic of all Oceania and demands the attention of travelers from Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia.

Icebergs that have separated from its land dwellings cause havoc in shipping lanes due to its sporadic tendency to let go of its brethren ice. Antarctica is a continent, whereas the North Pole is one huge frozen body of ice bordered by many continents.

I produced a short YouTube video for a developing travel episode called, “Left Eye Right Finger.” My goal is to host a travel program in the future and I am on my way.  This is my 7th continent and 89th country visited. I hope to see all 206 countries in my lifetime.

What lessons could I share with colleagues, friends which would be beneficial and effective to the reader? Perhaps sharing a few visionary concepts, strategies and goals that are relatable to frequent travelers as well as those just starting out in goal setting. For starters, this summary article is simply to get ideas and the juices flowing. One should find their own personal mantra as it relates to expanding on the aforementioned.

First, I am an voracious reader and life long curious person. So reading what ever you can get your hands on in your chosen subject of interest is paramount. As a youth, I digested every encyclopedia or world Atlas that I could get my hands on. This prepared me for the many adventurous and far reaching places that I have seen along the way.

Second, language is very important; it is the key that unlocks the door of uncertainty in communication. I was born overseas and my first language was English and some semblance of youthful German, enough to play soccer with the locals. I make a concerted effort to communicate in the mother language as much as possible. The humble gesture does not go unnoticed and is often reciprocated in-kind.

Third, books remain a game changer and can get you to travel freely but, I have always felt being present provided a more robust experience. I made a life long goal to travel and meet humanity where he or she stands versus a third party opinion from someone who had never traveled.  I think if you combine the two ideas, you garner a richer experience.

Fourth, you must have a passion for setting extreme goals that push you to the point of second guessing your destiny. Discomfort is a great description of this.  You'll know you are reaching this level when others believe that jumping in frozen waters is not exactly what someone should be doing in Antarctica.  But I know how to swim and I love ice cream so the Polar plunge wasn't too far from either. Steve Jobs, talks about those who have done the unusual, who ultimately change the world; of course I am paraphrasing, but you get the jest of his suggestion of leading without relenting to culture, peers or traditions.  This is a necessary evil if you are to change and seek a new direction for success.

Finally, you need a smart, well researched checklist that is specific to your overarching goals and immediate project (that's two separate ideas). This knowledgeable list of things to do will help mitigate, remind and confirm you of your purpose. I lost my favorite traveling scarf to a lucky Penguin but returning home with my 500mm telephoto Nikon lens and 10,000 pictures was much more important. I can always find another scarf right? Throughout my year long planning and the completion of my journey, I methodically ensured I checked off accomplishments and goals while maintaining my photography equipment in order to get those rare and unexpected wildlife opportunities. I wanted to make sure that upon returning from the 8500 miles and six countries visited, I had what I needed and left the place better than when I arrived. This is what we should strive to do in the end.

In this short article, I have shared just a few thoughts that will be helpful to you on setting and accomplishing your goals. One must have a clear vision, a sound strategy to accomplish the vision and maintain a smart checklist to ensure you have achieved your objectives.
Antarctica is a beautiful place as it is extreme and always changing.  For those that like adventure, Antarctica is a place that will not disappoint you. You can see more like minded videos and my schedule for future photo exhibitions at "Left Eye Right Finger." If you have questions or comments, please reach out and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.

Good luck in your future travels and accomplishing your personal goals.

Dr. Timothy D. Wilson, Antarctica 2018