Onto the Ice
The feeling of stepping on Antarctica for the first time is indescribable. It's ... humbling, in a sense. To be among so many penguins, in a place nearly untouched by humans is really life-changing. It makes you really understand just how incredible the Earth is, and why people are so passionate about conserving it. You really don't understand it until nature puts you in a position like this, where you see its true beauty. There really is no place like Antarctica, and certainly nowhere as beautiful. Its snowy landscapes and crisp air are amazing. You feel so small, but so at peace. Once you are there, nothing else matters. It's just you and nature, and that is all you need.
The wildlife that my mother and I saw in Antarctica was amazing: thousands upon thousands of penguins, plus seals, birds and whales. It was common for the ship to announce, "Humpback on port 2!" Everyone would rush out with their huge cameras to capture the moment. While I love taking pictures, I'm more of a "life outside of the lens," sort of person, so I'm giving most of the photo credits to my mother, who did an amazing job and capturing the beauty of Antarctica.
Another question people ask is what I did in Antarctica. Well, for starters, my mother and I just loved walking around observing everything. Technically, you cannot approach penguins, but they are allowed to approach you. The thing about penguins, though, is that they are so calm around humans. We've never given them a reason to be scared since they hardly come in contact with humans. They have no problem pretending you do not exist.
Just strolling around the ice was incredibly breathtaking in itself. It also was not as cold as many think it was. Apparently it was much colder in New York at the time, to give you an idea. My mother and I also went snowshoeing and kayaking to see more views of the landscapes and icebergs. There was also the chance to go swimming, and get a certificate. While my mom declined the offer, I jumped for it. I ran into the freezing cold water in my bathing suit. By freezing, I mean there were chunks of ice floating in the water.
The Impact of a Wish
Now, I'll get to the most important part of the wish. How it made an impact.
Well, for one, it changed me as a person. It really has. Being "one" with nature really opened my eyes to seeing what the world is really like. I've never been out of the United States, so traveling to Argentina and then Antarctica was certainly an experience of a lifetime. Until you experience nature like this, you don't really understand what all the biologists and ecologists are really talking about. You don't really understand what people who work for National Geographic see. Most of us just see glossy pages of scenery in magazines, and understand that it's pretty, but we don't really get it. It's just another landscape, another perspective of the Earth. No matter how gorgeous a picture may be, it can never capture just how stunning our Earth really is.
By traveling to Antarctica, my eyes and my heart are open to really appreciating and loving the planet we live on. I can now understand just how important conserving the Earth is, and why so many people care about it. Once you see the true nature of it, it really feels like home.
Read Part 2 here.
Each year, 10,000 kids like Alexandra travel with their families for a Make-A-Wish experience. They need your air miles. Find out how you can help every day in April to help make their wishes come true this summer.