A special thank you goes out to Gretchen Sparling, Associate Editor of Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines for making this happen. Without her perseverance and fact checking, this would not have happened.
Joining the Boy Scouts of America was one of the best things I did in my young life. The organization taught me leadership, one of the most valuable skills a person can have. They also taught me outdoor living, first aid, environmental science, and personal management. All of these skills came in handy as I had so many things go wrong down there. The training in the program really paid off. I cannot recommend it highly enough, as these lessons have stayed with me my whole life.
The picture featured on the back is one of my favorite from Antarctica during the beginning on my expedition in some of the worst weather imaginable. There were routine gale force winds and one day of what I estimated to be hurricane force winds.
Every day I had to build up a large snow blockade to protect the tent and myself, as there was constant danger of things blowing away, including the tent. In 2013, an explorer in Greenland had that happened to him and he died from exposure. Antarctica is a very unforgiving and yet beautiful place.
One of my good friends said that I should not have called Antarctica a wasteland but rather magnificent. He was correct. In this case, beauty really is in the perception. Virtually all people I spoke with while publishing my book, Antarctic Tears (Sastrugi Press) said they could not have imagined how I spent so much time out there in bad conditions and yet had the best time of my life.
I did have a wonderful time down there in spite of everything that happened because I was living my dream. Not everyone dreams of going to continent 7 but it was mine. In my keynote addresses, I press that point of encouraging people to set their goals and pursue their dreams. You really do only have one life to live and unless you’re Randy Peeters (Journeys to the Edge) who is still trekking to Pakistan for mountain climbing in his 70’s, you had better get all the grand things you want to do by that age. Most humans slow down and begin having difficulties by then.
Don’t wait for your “active retirement”, whatever that means. You have no idea what will happen 10, 20 or 30 years from now. You might not be walking by that age. Should you be reckless and ignore your responsibilities? No. But you might want to remember that the only things you’ll really regret in your life are the things you DIDN’T do.