Distance to go:
Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.
Distances here are shown in statute miles.
14 days on the Greenland Ice cap and today we are homeward bound. The stove has been turned off for the last time possibly until Antarctica…
The 14 days has felt longer, 14 days away from home always feels longer than 14 days at home. Travel has the psychological effect of expanding time wherever you go.
Our Antarctic expedition has a maximum time budget of 112 days, which sounds a like a lot of time and it will feel longer than forever on some, if not most days… but minutes will count: an extra 5 minutes faffing on each one of our 10 minute breaks during the day – which is very easy to do, will add up to just over half an hour a day; 56 hours of potential faffing clocked up on just break times alone. 56 hours of unrecoverable time.
It is inevitable that we will ‘lose time’ on the odd day: the variables on the expedition are so many and so wide that all of them cannot be anticipated. Lost time is also lost miles or much-needed tent rest. Being under such time pressure is only a good thing as minutes become precious things not to be lost. All time is precious but I only consciously realise it when I am running late or feel time ‘running out’ because a ‘deadline’ is fast approaching. There are four months to go until we depart for Antarctica, already it feels too little time. Too little time to spend with family and friends, to work hard play hard, laugh, drink beer, eat good food, and enjoy life before it feels hard and cold again.
If Antarctica was another year away it would still feel too close and time would still feel in short supply…time is always always too short…time to go home and use all my minutes wisely…