#sendAarontoAntarctica

I’ve found a new way to put myself in danger—Antarctica, the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on earth.

I recently participated in the Oceanwide Expeditions Antarctica Contest. An online travel competition, with the first prize being a 30-day cruise trip to one of the most spectacular Antarctic journey ever: the Ross Sea (with helicopters).

Check it:  Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 20.50.14.png

This is where I’ll need your help Internet, to get me on that choppa and send me to Antarctica!

Help a fellow traveller out by voting for me here and find out more details about the contest and my entry in the link.

I’ll leave you with this incredible video shot by Kalle Ljung of this icebound desert.

 #sendAarontoAntarctica

Rumble in the Jungle.

You won’t be able to sleep…
Even though you’re training twice a day for six days a week at such intensity, you would still find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night and it’s the strangest thing.

My body is exhausted. I know this cause my body knows this. It tells me through the pain in my feet and the soreness in my neck. It hurts to get up, it hurts to lie down. It hurts to laugh, to breathe (even to brush my teeth in the morning).

We often talk about it during dinner and discuss theories of this strange phenomenon.
Could it be the difference in timezones?
Perhaps it’s the food.
Maybe it’s the intensity of the training. But shouldn’t exercise aid you in sleep?

We don’t know, we’re tired.

I would be laying on my bed and my shoulders would jerk out involuntarily from throwing punches all day—courtesy of muscle memory. But when we finally did fall asleep, our dreams took on a whole new reality, creating far more vivid and lucid images that our subconscious mind could barely comprehend.

I had a one such dream the other night; I can’t remember what it was. It was four in the morning and I burned from the heat of the night in the dark room of the camp. I awoke, fearful and in doubt of every decision I had ever made. I questioned everything I had ever done in life from birth up till this moment. A million thoughts raced through my mind and in that moment of confusion and vulnerability came clarity of the highest condition.

In that moment, I understood everything.
That true joy and understanding do not come from comfort and safety; they come from epiphany born in exhaustion (and not exhaustion for its own sake). That nothing in this world is worth having or doing unless there is pain and difficulty and that there are some things in this world you simply must fight for to preserve.

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The Art of Packing light

Remember in that movie “Up in the Air”, when George Clooney gave that speech about backpacks and asked us all “How much does your life weigh“?

That was a great scene and what he said was right; moving is living.
And having more material stuff will only end up weighing us down.

“The slower we move, the faster we die,” and learning to declutter ourselves from our worldly possession is an important discipline to master when it comes to travel. 

There’s definitely some skill and tact required to live such a minimalistic lifestyle. I’ve embraced the ‘carry-on’ culture for years now and I’m constantly challenging myself to go even lighter.

When I trekked Everest Base Camp in 2014, my backpack weighed about 8 kg and even then I felt it could have been lighter. There’s a certain sense of liberation to be had from carrying such a light load and I often relished in my own mobility.

My pack for the next few months weighs a total of 6 kg:
5 kg backpack and 1 kg Dive bag.

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I love the SAF’s utility bags. They’re cheap, durable, and you wouldn’t think twice about strapping it to the top of a dirty bus or a moving train. The army market at the Golden Mile Food Centre is a backpacker’s haven for travel supplies and other knick-knacks you’ll need for the road. I always make it a point to head down to pick up any last minute items before a big trip.

Here’s a look of some of the things I’ll be taking with me to Thailand:

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Clothing

  • Four pairs of shirts—I brought three tops (including an air force singlet) for training and one black tee for everything else. Because I’ll be training at twice a day, six days a week, these will get dirty real quick; laundry is key.
  • Three pairs of shorts—including one that doubles as a swimming trunk (God bless Uniqlo).
  • One cargo pants
  • Three pairs of socks
  • Five pairs of underwear—come on, I’m not an animal.
  • Water resistant parka—for when riding around town or when it rains.
  • A quick dry towel

Footwear

  • One pair of sandals—bought and paid for via e-mart credits.
  • One pair of running shoes—the green SAF ones.

Tech

  • Macbook Air 11″—probably the most expensive item on the list. I plan to get some writing done during my free time there.
  • iPhone 5s—doubles as my camera.
  • Charging cables
  • Travel adaptor

Supplements

  • 2 lbs Whey Protein—strawberry and banana flavour, got a problem with that?
  • Creatine
  • Vitamin C Tablets—training over there can take a real toil on the body, I’ll do whatever I can to try and keep myself in tip top shape.

Med Kit

  • Band aids
  • Bunch of medication—Panadol, flu, food poisoning, the works.
  • Yoko yoko—for when I get my ass handed to me.
  • Vaseline—for cuts and minor wounds.

And that’s about it.

Other miscellaneous items include toiletries (the usual soap, shampoo, toothpaste,etc.) which don’t need much mentioning. Sunscreen, lotions, insect repellant, and maybe a good book for the flight and long train/bus rides. I intend to buy everything else that I’ll need over there, including my training gear (Gloves, Hand wraps, Mouth/Shin guards, etc.) so I’ve left some empty room in my backpack for those as well.

The trick is to get rid of that inner voice inside you that keeps asking, “Do I need this?”.
90% of the time you won’t, and on the off-chance that you do need it, you could always borrow or just buy it.

I mean, do you really need that hair dryer and curler? And for goodness sake, only wankers bring their ukuleles with them, leave that shit at home.

 

Strange Land/Disconnected.

I can’t even begin to describe the events of these past few days…
The moment I landed in Bangkok I was immediately seduced with change. The thrill of being in a new place was simply invigorating.

Each day was a unique challenge. Not knowing the possibilities of what tomorrow would bring, to venture head first into the unknown of a strange land were everyday was an adventure waiting for us. The thought of that drove me mad with possibilities.

I felt so alive…

What worried me was when I came back…

Everything felt like a dream, like it never even happened. I was desperately fighting routine and loosing. I found myself reverting back to the overbearing cavalier drone that I so very much despised. I began harboring the insolence of the many & committed crimes of ignorance to things to which I did not understand.

I wasn’t feeling very alive anymore at this point…

I met a man from my travels that once told me he’d lived in many different parts of the world through out the different stages of his life and I asked him…

“Don’t you ever miss home? Don’t you ever wanna go back?”

He told me at first he’d return once every few months, see the family & friends.. then he’d go back once a year, then maybe once every 2 or 3 years.. and eventually he realized that there was nothing left for him back there anymore…

His life was wherever whatever adventures took him to.
He was living the dream..
He was free…

Many people have told me to snap out of it. That its merely frivolous thinking & nothing more. “Frog in a well…”, I’d tell them. “Your a frog in a well.” The conceited will never understand how big the world is and how small you are and your insignificant first world problems in comparison to the plights of others.

I’m glad to have experienced the unconventional and there are times when I’ve questioned and even disobeyed in the name of deviance for if I’d allowed myself to follow the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.

The struggle to be an individual has never been easy… Have you ever heard of a Greek philosopher named Epictetus? He was a funny man with a certain flare for life. He’d compared people who “fit in” to the white threads of their toga… Indistinguishable.

He wanted to be the purple thread.

“That small part which is bright, and makes all the rest appear graceful and beautiful. Why then…”, he asked, “do you tell me to make myself like the many? And if I do, how shall I still be purple?”

nowhere to go but everywhere~

The plan was (and always has been.. ) to save up enough cash, probably about 10, or even 20 thousand, whether I’m disciplined enough that is, and just leave. Just straight up leave and never come back. That was the plan and still is…

The dream life would’ve been to simply travel vivaciously around the world and just “nomad” it out like the blithe vagrant that I am. It never ceased to surprise me how easy the act of leaving was, for me at least…

I mean, stop for a second and realized where you are! How can anyone ever allow themselves to be grounded in world with such rich possibilities?

I’ve been meeting a lot of new people recently and the topic of travel has never been far from conversation. I’m always amazed at the things you can learn from new people. It’s like hearing the same story told over & over again in a different way.

I’m excited about life and of all the things that we could do together. Traveling has always been that constant variable when it comes to what I want out of life & part of that is to experience everything as much as I can.

Sometimes I’d meet someone who’s found solace from the false securities of routine and wonder what happened to have made this person’s existence so sad?

Life is short, we only get to live it once. And by the end of it I’d wanna have my own crazy stories to share, my own adventures and experiences, both good and bad.

I stumbled onto an article from a travel blog a couple of weeks back that really appealed to me which I though I’d share.

He wrote:

“I am running away. Iam trying to avoid life — I’m avoiding your life. I’m running away from your idea of the “real” world. Because, really, I am running toward everything – toward the world, exotic places, new people, different cultures, and my own idea of freedom.”

I must admit, choices like these are easier said than done.Especially in a place like this were individuality is often frowned upon, if not, shunned.

To hell with it I say.

I’m sick of people telling me i should live my life a certain way just because they can’t fathom any other way of living other than that of society’s conventions.

I’m all for individuality. The ability to choose  &  decide for yourself how you wish to live… that is the true definition of freedom.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…”
― Jack KerouacOn the Road

The Great Sleeping Bag Debate.

I never expected this subject to be such a controversy. This topic is one of great significance & has been brought up rather frequently among all the backpacking forums and websites that I’ve visited.

The majority of most sites advise that when it comes to packing, bring only the essentials. If you normally wouldn’t use this back home, the chances that you might use them overseas is slim to none. The idea is to travel LIGHT. Most travelers make this mistake of bringing too much unnecessary shit and are forced to lug their formidable backpack awkwardly onto trains and buses, brushing & bumping up against everyone along the aisle and generally making you seem like a giant douche~

Your bag is your life. The smaller it is, the less it sticks out and the less vulnerable you will feel. It also gives you more room for souvenirs and won’t be such a nightmare on Motorbikes or Rickshaws.

Carrying a large bag may sound alright, its cool that you brought 10 pairs of pants and that niffty first aid kit packed with enough supplies to open up a small practice in Africa. But most of the time you’d just end up wearing the same pair of trousers over and over again. Unless, of course, your one of those mollycoddle twats who’s never done any laundry before in your entire life, then what are you even doing backpacking in the first place? As for first aid kits, I guess it is a good idea to bring a good set, just leave the morphine and poisonous-mushroom-antidote at home and try not to kick a rabid dog in the face or step on any landmines & you should be fine~

Same goes for all the other random junk you’d generally wouldn’t use at home. If you need to think twice whether or not to bring it, then don’t. Let someone else bring those portable speakers. Also, its a widely known fact that only wankers carry guitars around when traveling, so I’d digress.

From what I’ve gathered in many of the travel blogs and backpacking forum sites is that this isn’t the 1920s and you are generally able to locate cheap hostels with running water and a relatively comfortable bed to sleep in. So unless your traveling to some god forsaken part of the country, you got nothing to worry about..

However, where I’m going requires taking 17 hour train rides and 2-day bus rides up snowy mountain tops where a sleeping bag could very well save your life should you get stranded there above the snowy plains of the Himalayan for whatever reason.

Now, if you’d kindly refer back to when I’d mentioned bout how important it was to pack light, you can see my dilemma…

I’ve tried to weigh the Pros and Cons to try and determine my next course of action but I’m in such a pickle… On one hand, I do NOT fancy exploring the streets of New Delhi with a backpack the size of a small man, whilst on the other hand, should the moment arise, a sleeping bag could very well prevent me from hypothermia and freezing to death in the snowy alps.

Am I way over my head on this one? Good lord what am I getting myself into -_-

So erm.. yeah… let the comments roll~