Thursday, December 06, 2007

"...the point of travel is to come back changed..."

From Worldhum's interview with Susan Fox Rogers:

Somehow I don’t think tourism will diminish there. Antarctica has a powerful pull for some people, doesn’t it?

Yeah. I saw a blogger ask why people have to go there. Well, it changes how you see the world. That’s why people have to go there. When you’re thrown into such extremes, at least where I was in McMurdo, the sensory deprivation is extraordinary. Colors are reduced to white, blue, and suddenly blue has 9,000 variations you didn’t see before. And there’s no sound when you’re standing on the Ross Ice Shelf. There’s always some kind of noise around us when we’re at home, even the hum of the refrigerator. Suddenly you can be in a place where there’s no sound at all. You realize that’s not an experience you can have many places in the world. It’s spooky. Now, I don’t know whether anyone on these cruise ships is having that experience.

What’s more, all things are frozen so there’s almost no smell. And where I was the diet was really limited. So your taste is kind of reduced, too. When I left—I didn’t want to leave, but my time was up—and got to New Zealand, I was just assaulted by the warm air. I went out to dinner and ordered a salad and just chewed and chewed. I was so delighted and thought, how could I have not wanted to come back to this? I was on this sensory overload when I got back. It made me see the world differently.

With anything that’s as extreme as that, you have to be changed. To me, the point of travel is to come back changed. I am a pilgrim. When I go out, I want to return to where I’m from and see things differently from when I set out. Antarctica does that to you.

Susan Fox Rogers is the editor for the Traveler's Tales: Antarctica: Life On the Ice

5 comments:

Carl V. said...

I love the opening quote, great stuff. I'd personally love to go see Alaska, but I don't think I'd ever need to go see Antartica. There isn't anything in me that longs for that experience. Nothing at all.

Yancy B. John said...

Susan Fox Rogers has a wonderful website with a great blog about the Antarctic and her other adventures:

www.susanfoxrogers.com

Dark Orpheus said...

Carl As much as the romance of the Antarctica intrigues me, prefer to enjoy it someplace warm and cozy, maybe with some hot chocolate handy.

Hmm... Alaska - I would like to see it too.

Yancy Oh. Didn't know that. Thanks for the link.

Jean Pierre said...

very cool interview (or at least, section of an interview). i can just imagine how amazing it must be to experience that!

i'm fixated with the concept of all those variations of blue and the no-sound...

i don't know if travel SHOULD change one, but it can and its one of the nice things about travel. but sometimes going away can just be relaxing :)

Melanie said...

Thanks for posting. I'm heading over to her website to find out more. Another choice for polar reading...