Sage advice from an experienced expeditioner.

So, you want to go to Antarctica, do you?

Being a return offender, I have written a few of these articles before, and to be honest, I’m bereft of ideas. So, for those intending to make the leap into a winter season in Antarctica, here’s a couple of punch lists of what to expect.

Things you’ll miss from home:

Intimacy + companionship – Most notably for those with significant others at home. Sunday morning lay-ins are the toughest when you’re a bit lonely.

Fresh fruit – Oh my god! So many scientists come down here, why haven’t we got a native Antarctica banana tree yet?

Pets – Plenty of bedroom walls plastered with photos of their furry heart wrenchers.

Real milk - You do become accustomed to the powered variety, but it doesn’t find it’s way on to your shopping list when you get home.

Things you’ll love in Antarctica:

Penguins - Cute, funny, curious, unco, stupid little waddlers with a severe rock addiction. So graceful and slick in the water though.

The outdoors - Breath taking beauty. Icebergs, auroras, wind scowls, sea ice, mountains, glaciers, awe inspiring vistas. Just look at the pictures that people share and then think, these don’t really do it any justice.

Free chips, biscuits and chocolates - All you can eat. Just don’t look too carefully at the use-by dates.

The food - Top shelf most days and amazing the rest. From main meals to homemade treats, deserts and birthday cakes. Truly spoilt.

The community - You get to know each other well and develop lifelong friendships. In these people you trust.

Things you don’t miss when you get home:

Orange scent air freshener - The smell of every Antarctica bathroom. So much nicer if we could just burn a candle instead.

The three layers of clothing - That you regularly don and doff many times a day, as you move from one building to the next. I would love to know how much time is spent in the cold porches dressing and undressing over the course of a season.

The Dr’s scales - Maybe you should not approach the chips, biscuits and chocolates as “all you can eat”.

The community - Goldfish bowl life isn’t all sunshine and smiles. Twelve months listening to the same yarns, jokes and complaints can be tiring… especially mine.

Maintenance work orders - For tradies, the repetitive nature of these tasks can really dull the senses. Not in a way you like.

Powered milk - Enough said.

So, there you have it. My sage advice, pack as many pets as you can into your Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) when coming down. Pack as many penguins as you can in your Return to Australia (RTA) UPE when returning and go outside during the in-between bit.