At some point I had to come out and say that it wasn't really a lifelong dream to go to the South Pole. Best do it right now.
I have to admit that I didn't read Amundsen, Scott or Shackleton as a kid. I never dreamed of following in their footsteps. (Which I still don't do. I am in love with places and landscapes, not with difficult journeys. I've met a group of Norwegians at the South Pole, who had gone there all the way from the 82°S. No depots, carrying all their stuff. Am I impressed by what they have done? Yes! Do I envy them? No, not at all. Except maybe for being able to spend almost two months in Antarctica. But I would gladly spend the two months just being there, without doing the sledge pulling bit.)
Getting back to the point: I never dreamed about going to the South Pole, because, as far as I knew, there was no way of getting there. The only people ever going there were adventurers on expeditions (which I wasn't) or people working at the South Pole station (which were only Americans, which I wasn't either). So getting to the South Pole was about as impossible as flying on the back of dragons or leaping tall buildings in a single bound. At best the stuff of fantasies, but nothing to actually long for.
This changed about a decade ago. Essentially there were three things that happened:
So I realized that, in theory, I would be able to go to the South Pole. Wouldn't be able to afford it, but that is exactly the point of something you dream about and what distinguishes it from a mere fantasy. You can dream about owning a Rolls Royce or a private jet, even if it is way out of reach financially, but you can only fantasize about the Batmobile or flying an X-Wing over Endor.
If I had known as a kid that I would enjoy cold countries and that it would be possible to go to the pole as a tourist, it would probably have been my lifelong dream. But as it happened, it has only been my lifelong dream for about ten years. Good enough for me.
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