Antarctica Travel Junkie Diary of

Shereen Mitwalli

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Shereen MitwalliLike0

Shereen Mitwalli is the presenter & founder of The Female Network [thefemalenetwork.com], an online platform/community bringing together successful women in the Middle East region, and providing engaging content from an array of contributors. The platform also markets and connects businesses and professionals from versatile backgrounds of expertise. Read all about Shereen Mitwalli’s travel story.

Here is her diary

Destination: Antarctica

Paris, London, Milan, New York, those are the travel destinations that roll off the tongue, considered the travel capitals of the world, but it is a rarity to find someone who’s been on a trek to Antarctica. It always evokes curiosity.  I wanted to experience what I believed to be a truly unique travel experience.

Stayed at Unfortunately, the Ritz doesn’t have a branch in Antarctica, and for that matter, neither does any Hotel chain. Shelter was provided in the form of a Russian Ocean Liner entitled the MV Ortelius. It was definitely a few steps away from 5-class accommodation. It certainly wasn’t the Ritz in Paris. From bunk beds to seasickness, the trip was not filled with the usual activities associated with travel. Most of the three day boat trip to arctic was spent in my living quarters with Frank Sinatra on repeat.

One surprising element was the dining experiences on the Russian vessel. International chefs were on board to prepare the daily meals during the trip, and they did not disappoint. That was one thing I did not see coming.

Month  February, considered to be Antarctica’s summer period. It’s recommended that anyone considering taking the trip visit during this month.

Dined at A post office was the only building on site

Shopped Sadly no shopping in Antarctica. Souvenirs could be purchased from a little post office, and we were able to send out postcards as well. Though delivering the postcard yourself might actually be faster than the mail service in the arctic.

Diary The trip overall is a bit hectic to say the least. It’s fair to say that Emirates doesn’t fly direct to Antarctica. After a flight to Los Angeles and then Buenos Aires, we were then required to travel to the Argentine city of Ushuaia. Commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia was absolutely captivating, from it’s climate, to the museums and wildlife, not to mention the unique ‘end of the world’ train. It was truly an experience.

That’s the easy part. Passengers then boarded the Russian liner on a 3-day trip to Antarctica. Smooth sailing was not on the menu as 15 meter swells continuously crashed against the body of the ship, making for an uncomfortable journey and causing a seasickness epidemic onboard. You know things aren’t going well when even the on-board doctor is having a hard time maintaining his stomach lining. As for me, dry biscuits and my iPod kept me company during the 72-hour trek. Once we arrived though, it was worth it. To finally experience a geographical structure after three days of nothing but water was a blessing, but we were welcomed by true beauty. From the pure white of the glaciers to the ‘greeting’ ceremony put on for us by the whales in the area, and definitely not last or least, an endless sea of beautiful Penguins. We received a safety brief and then transported to land. Possibly the only time I’ll trade in my Chanel’s for a pair of hiking boots. It’s safe to say that I was temporarily reduced to my childhood days, running across the ice and experiencing those beautiful creatures and the landscape. It was a scene straight out of the Discovery Channel.

Various activities were planned for each day including kayaking and exploring the glacial environment. The last day though was slightly nightmarish, as it was proposed that we slept on the ice, not my finest moment. It’s fair to say that a lot of peer pressure resulted in what was possibly the most uncomfortable night of my life.

Regardless of sub zero temperatures, I can say without any hesitation that it was an experience that remains with me. To be given the opportunity to experience and revel in what is one of our planet’s magnificent wonders.

Tips Nothing will be more important to anyone undertaking this journey than the following two words, Pack Warm. Predictably, the temperature is consistently below zero, so body warmth is a necessity. The three-day trip from Ushuaia to reach your destination is not for the weak of heart. Clearly Antarctica is not an annual travel destination for the family, but for a once in a lifetime experience, it is hard to beat, and a true life changing experience. I gained an appreciation for the versatility of our planet, defined by a beauty that can be experienced in even its most extreme environments

Mode of travel A flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles. Followed by a flight to Buenos Aires and a final flight to Ushuaia, concluded by the grueling 3-day boat ride to Antarctica.

12322_1292264038661_494545_n 12322_1292264318668_4379408_n 12322_1292264358669_3963477_n 12322_1292264478672_5466413_n 12322_1292264678677_1153557_n 12322_1292265158689_1171094_n 12322_1292265198690_751376_n 12322_1292265678702_4501745_n 12322_1292265878707_2780732_n 12322_1292265918708_2213526_n

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

6 comments

  1. Y.M.Kakar. says:

    You were really fortunate to have been there … Being a Polar Covers collector I really enjoyed reading about the Ushuaia Post Office and your posting postcards from there…

  2. FATEMA (@fatema_painter) says:

    wow loved the article , how u managed in this freezing weather oops i can imagine sleeping in ice …………..dead freeze

  3. PoisedinPrint.com by Reginia Cordell says:

    I’d love to see Antarctica one day; careful planning and it should happen.

  4. AmiiiiiR (@82amir) says:

    I must say. WOW

    Not everyone one earth can have such travel trip. i can really see how life changing it is. You are one lucky lady out there.

  5. KK says:

    Truly sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you for sharing, this has truly inspired me to think about making this trip!!!

  6. Rita Walker says:

    Brave lady!! Not on my bucket list…. well maybe now!

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • They say, reality is a projection of your thoughts. I’ve dreamed about sailing north of the arctic for years... I never doubted for a second that it would not happen ‘one day’ but, nothing every prepared me for what I’m experiencing on this trip witnessing the magic of the midnight sun!! I’ve seen and felt things I never imagined existed or at least only on @natgeotravel magazines. This is the start of my 3 day journey sailing in the arctic! 💫

I’m also very excited to announce our new partnership with @pukkatravels for our next @travelwithtjd #TravelWithTJD in October and now, you can join me too! Information will be up tonight on the link in bio!
  • I know escapism is real to so many of us... but you can’t escape yourself and, travel won’t be the answer, so learn to love every single weakness and strength you have because no matter where you go, your thoughts go with you... nothing will disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. 💫
  • There is something so incredibly special and cozy about boutique hotels that I love so much... like @constancehotels - Do you prefer large resorts or boutique properties?
  • We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe... and most of us are breathing the best way we can... I think I’m ready to get back out there 💫
  • It’s the ‘have you seen the way he looks at her’ kind of love I have with you 💫
  • What do you see? It’s so easy to fall in love with landscapes and nature in Sweden. I know some of you have realized my insane fascination with Scandinavia but I just can’t help it. Maybe it’s because I am familiar with isolation and I embrace it so well... It keeps my creativity as fierce as ever and it never gets lonely. Maybe it’s because I love the adventure and photography so much... I’m not sure what it is. 
This is called The Mirrorcube - camouflaged mirrored walls reflecting the surrounding. I can’t wait to return!
  • This simply makes me smile! Happy Sunday everyone! Can you spot the baby giraffe? 😊
  • I’m sorting out my summer plans today and added Portugal again! I’m excited to be going back and exploring more landscapes, culture, food, sailing and the incredible nightlife! There is a whole article on my last trip and guides on my website! What are your summer plans?
  • I gave you a heart stronger than a thousand warriors... but it will take you years to learn that not everyone loves like you do... 💫
  • Not bad for a view outside my room window! She looks like she’s waiting for me to come out and play ☺️ - What do you think?
  • Looking back at the exact same time last year on a #TravelwithTJD team trip to Tokyo with @ritzcarlton - This was the view from my beautiful room. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to! Have you been to Japan? I’ve got lots of articles and guides on the blog!
  • I spent my morning with @fourseasons worldwide team at @fsdubaidifc for breakfast and it was so wonderful to learn more about their new and existing projects, but here is a memory taking me back to Maldives. Isn’t the Maldives just an incredible place!?