My birthday in Antarctica

Firstly happy birthday to Mandy, she turned the big 3 0, and thank you to her  for supporting and understanding that I had to come to the end of the world and be away from her on her special day.

Secondly, this post I wrote last week and never got around to posting it as other things were happening, but it’s about my birthday, nearly 2 weeks ago now!

Ok, my apologises for getting you excited, that was a bit mean of me. My birthday was not spent on the continent Antarctica, but rather the Hostel Antarctica. When I arrived at snowy Ushuaia airport on the 10th of November I looked at the list of hostels, the first one was Antarctica hostel. Usually I go around and check out all the hostels before making a decision, but the name was enough for me. I approached 2 other tourists and asked if they wanted to share a taxi into town as there were no buses. They agreed, I asked them where they were going to, they replied “We have a reservation for Hostel Antarctica”, it was meant to be.

In the hostel I met Scottish Nicola and Greek Harry who were travelling together. The following day was my birthday, I decided to postpone my Antarctica work search until after my birthday and went to the national park with Nicola and Harry. The national park is famous for being the end of Route 3, the road that goes from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, it is literally the end of the road. Yeah you feel a bit stupid getting your photo by it when motor biker Keith turns up and has ridden from the most northern point in North America (Alaska) to the most southern point in South America (Ushuaia).

My birthday lunch was spent at the bottom of the world, Antarctica not far away, it’s somewhere behind me in the photo below.

We spent the rest of day walking around the park stopping for the occasional mate break, as it was darn cold, especially when 2 days ago I was Paraguay’s 40˚C.

To top the national park experience off Mother Nature came to the party showered us in snow, was pretty cool, the fact that it has basically snowed every day since doesn’t matter.

Then it was back to Antarctica (Hostel) for a birthday dinner with new friends, and Keith the motorcyclist also turned up to celebrate the end of his journey.

The thing I love about travelling is that you always meet great people, friendly people. It’s good to know that the human race is not just made up of people that you see on the 6 o’clock news. For example the super friendly hostel staff brought me a bottle of champagne and a little birthday cake.

As far as spending a birthday removed from girlfriend Mandy, family and close friends, it was perfect. Having travelled for so long (I left New Zealand at the start of 2003), it was a fitting birthday to spend it with fellow travellers. The thing I love about travelling is that you are united as travellers, you don’t have a title, and you come from all different walks of life. For example my birthday was spent with a Greek construction worker, a Scottish HR manager, an Italian scientist, two German university students of which one was an opera singer, super friendly Argentinean hostel staff and a multimillionaire Englishman that had just motor biked from Alaska to Ushuaia. It was spent sipping red wine and having conversations that break through the real world barriers from the get go, perfect –until I woke up in the morning and was reminded by my head how much red wine I had drunk.

Birthdays are also a time for reflection, and when I was standing at the end of the world that day with snow hitting my face I thought about all the places I have had my birthdays since I started my goal working the world, and I felt pretty good. So far I have spent them in Korea, Spain, Vancouver Canada, Sylvan Lake Canada, New Zealand (after my accident), Australian Outback and now I can add the end of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina. Where will I be spending my 30th birthday in 2 years time? I will be turning 30 on the 11/11/11, (that’s a lot of ones), and I was born on the 11th hour as well, unfortunately mum popped me out 3 minutes early at 11.08am, don’t worry mum I won’t hold it against you, I still love you, Hap.