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Great expanse of Antarctica

This is a final blog in the series about our recent expedition to Antarctica.  We were recently contacted by Go Outside Brazil to be part of an article about couples who do adventures together.  We’re not sure how much of the information that we sent them will make it to the article, so we thought we’d share it here in a series of six blog posts.

How do you get along as a couple during the expedition?

During our adventures we tend to be even more connected than in every day with its stresses and distractions.  During our trips, we completely unplug from busy schedules, and we get more and more in tune with each other.  During our Antarctica adventure, we hit a point late in the journey where the environmental, physical and mental stresses became so great that it was hard to support each other as usual.  For a few days we only had the energy to focus on our own issues (stresses, challenges, ailments) and had to work through them without the usual help and support that we give each other.  Overall, we provided great support for each other throughout the journey.

What are some tips that you could offer to someone who wants to do big expeditions or adventures?   

Visualize what you want to do and start planning and preparing for it now.  When you run into a barrier, see it as an opportunity to find a unique solution, not as an obstacle that stops you from going after a dream.  Choose the right teammate that you are compatible with – I recommend your spouse if possible!  Save money so you can afford to make your ideas reality.  Find fun and joy in the planning and training because those may take more time then the journey itself.  Don’t be shy about asking for help from mentors, friends or stranger because people want to help you realize a dream that you’re passionate about.

Describe some time during your expedition where you thought it was better to be a couple to handle the situation.

I think couples can offer great emotional support for each other because they know each other so well.  In Antarctica, when things got really tough emotionally, Marty and I could lean on each other and not be afraid to let down our guard or worry about looking weak to a teammate.  For example, one day Marty was having a tough time, low on energy and strength, so I led the entire day while he followed. At one point he let down his guard and shed a few tears of frustration.  He likely wouldn’t have been that vulnerable with a male teammate that he didn’t know as well.  Likewise, I had days when I felt weak and Marty supported me.

What are you planning next?

We’ve told our son that he gets to choose our next family adventure.  We are considering places like Mexico, Nepal or going back to Africa, a favorite destination.  Right now we are taking time to fully absorb and recover from the enormity of our South Pole trip and the three years leading up to it.  When it comes to life adventures, I am in the process of writing book about our South Pole expedition, and Marty has launched a new career as a financial advisor.  No doubt, adventure will continue to be a theme that we weave into the fabric of our lives.