If you’re like me, March 9th started with a string of alerts, texts and notifications about the discovery of Shackleton’s famous ship, “Endurance,” just four miles from where it went down 107 years ago. And unlike some other noteworthy polar ships that have recently been discovered (including the Erebus and the Terror) the Endurance looked almost untouched from her glory days during the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition. What a dream it would be to raise her, patch her up with some epoxy and sail away with her. Alas she is in protected waters...
Despite my exuberance at the discovery of Endurance and my lifelong passion with Shackleton, the Endurance isn’t my favorite polar ship. That credit goes to the “Fram”, which when translated from Norwegian to English means “Forward.” The Fram was Fridtjof Nansen’s ship during his 1893-1896 attempt to reach the North Pole. It was a remarkable and daring expedition that cemented Nansen's status as a legend in the world of exploration. The Fram was later used to deliver Roald Amundsen to Antarctica for his 1911 race to beat Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole.
Nansen happens to be a hero of mine. He always viewed challenges as great opportunities. He recognized that personal deliverance comes largely from the world’s wild and “lonely places” and not from the rushing, bustling centers of society. As a diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate he saw his greatest accomplishments advocating for refugees.
Throughout his life Nansen tackled challenges using what he called the “three geniuses'': courage, independence and a sense of adventure. I believe that when we embrace these qualities we discover the depths of our capabilities and the immeasurable extent of our own potential.
For me the word “Forward” is more than the English translation of Nansen’s famous ship. It’s also a gut feeling I get every spring. It’s the opposite of what I feel in the fall, which is the urge to get cozy and bed down. In the spring I want to escape the confines of winter, embrace the longer days and discover new things. We’ll be doing a lot of just that in the coming months with three fabulous adventures including a Greenland Crossing (May 4-29), an Iceland expedition (May 14-24), and the Shackleton Crossing of South Georgia Island (October 18-November 7). Each of these adventures represent a unique opportunity to build your courage, independence and spirit of adventure; and have a great time while you're at it! Whether you want to challenge yourself, hone your skills, explore a new destination, marvel at wildlife, or simply enjoy the company of fellow adventurers, we want you to join us. Let us know what expeditions you are interested in, and let us help you realize the full extent of your potential through adventure.
- Annie Aggens