Soooooo close!

Ohhhhhhh, it felt good. Let me share with you my experience of yesterday, in fact I had a similar experience today, but for now I will share with you yesterdays experience.

My previous post was about meeting Tom and Jelle who were about to embark on an Antarctic expedition of a lifetime with Antarctic legend and environmentalist Robert Swan. The purpose of the expedition is for the 40 hand-picked participants to experience Antarctica expedition, attend onboard seminars etc and then go back to their respective countries and spread the word of 2041 and global warming.

Before Tom and Jelle left the hostel in taxi to go to the hotel to meet with the other participants I wrote Robert a letter and attached my business card (gosh I sound so professional). I jumped in the taxi with the boys and headed 10km out of town to the hotel.

Through the sea of participants trying to check in, I spotted a gray haired man in his 50’s wearing a red “team leader” jacket. I approached him, said I had a letter for Mr Swan and explained to him my goal and showed him my t-shirt. He was such a nice guy, he introduced himself and said to me “ah just go in there, pretend your one of them, no one will notice, I will make sure Mr Swan gets your letter……….in fact let me tell you something. Mr Swan isn’t here at the moment, he’s up at another hotel up on the hill, he will be there a little bit longer, go there and you might be able to see him”. How awesome is that, one thing I have found as I strive to get to Antarctica are people are so willing to help you live your dreams.

Luckily I had printed off 3 letters, so I left another one with Tom, and took my last remaining letter and went to see if I could get a taxi, as I needed to get there ASAP. But in true traveller form, I checked my wallet and had no money, not even enough to catch a bus.

The vibe I had got from the team leader and from what I had read about Mr Swan I knew if I could meet him and he had a spare berth from someone not turning up I could live my dream. It was close. I started on the 10 km walk back into town, and all of a sudden I felt tears in my eyes, my Antarctic goal I have strived for the last 3 years felt like it could be in reach, I kept saying, “this could be it Hap”, the feeling was amazing, my heart was racing.

I started to walk, restraining myself from running. I stuck my thumb out at the same time and when I heard cars approaching I would turn to face them with my smile so they could see the positive wave that I was riding, the aurora or whatever you want to call it. The fourth car pulled over.

26 year old Nicholas was driving, I told him what I was doing, and he replied “that hotels right at the top of the mountain, but I can take you there as it just so happens I have to drop something off there today”. Nicholas hit the gas and during the conversation it turned up that he has an American wife that he met 3 years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! The same place I met my American girlfriend Mandy 3 years ago, how crazy is that.

We made it to the 4 star hotel, I walked into the foyer and told the receptionist I was there to talk with Robert Swan. I was expecting him to call security, but I heard him telling Mr Swan on the other end that there was a man here to talk with him and then handed me the telephone. My god, what do you say to a famous Antarctic legend that you’ve just stalked and doesn’t know who you are? Well, you tell him your name. “Hello Mr Swan, you don’t know me but name’s Hap” “Hello Hap, sorry I am just in the middle of a meeting organising this expedition, I can’t meet you, but quickly tell me what you want”. So I just let loose on my spiel about my goal, about Antarctica, about wanting to be a part of his organisation and helping with my public speaking etc, this is easy to do when you are this passionate. He was such a genuinely nice guy, he said to me “I’m sorry Hap, I have no berths available, but leave me your letter and I will read it, but take down my email address and send me an email again on what you can offer my organisation and I will see what I can do, good luck”.

Wow, so I didn’t have a berth, but the genuine words from someone I had spent all morning reading about and admiring left me floating on a cloud as I made my way all the way back down into town.

Then I made my way back to the hostel and spent the night battling to keep my eyes open as the night before I was awake from 4am as my dorm room mates organised their packs for their 5am bus. But I finally I got the email sent off at 3am with the small chance that a participant could fall ill in the one day they had in Ushuaia before departure. In hind sight I should of had taken more time and written the email with a fresh mind, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So what part is 2041 going to play in my future?