Archive | November, 2009

The waiting game

30 Nov

To keep you updated, I’m still in Ushuaia, I still look like I have a sheeps daggy back side hanging off my head.

You probably want to know what’s happening after yesterday’s blog post. Basically I’m just playing the waiting game. The interview never came into fruition, but the hospitality manager from the cruise ship emailed me back and said:

Your details have been forwarded to the Office as we need to have all Crew vetted through our HR Department. The biggest obstacle in hiring will be the necessary Medical required by law for any Crew onboard as a health certificate needs to be issued by the home country. I will hopefully have a reply by tomorrow and will be able to give you details. As a Crew member onboard we need to make sure all relevant documentation is in order. Enjoy your stay in Ushuaia and hopefully we will see each other soon.

Yep, it looks positive, but I’m not counting my chickens until I’m walking the gangway. I’m no longer nervous about my dreads, there gone burgers, I’m obviously just nervous to hear back, I’m close, I have butterflies in my stomach, my fingers are shaking, sooooo close. I will keep you posted!

Would I shave my dreads off to go to Antarctica?

29 Nov

This was the question that Gabriel the hostel manager asked me a couple of days ago. When he asked me I made the sound of a wounded walrus mixed with the sound of a president that is pondering sending his country to war, something along the lines of “ooohhhhhhhhummmmmmm”. Ouch what a question.

Because the reason behind myself having dreadlocks is because it has always been in my mind to travel Africa with dreadlocks after a recently returned student from Africa back at University told me “they would love your dreadies in Africa”(I also had dreadlocks in university). From that point I always said when I travel to Africa I would have dreadlocks – sounds stupid, but that’s the reason.

Little did I know I would have to be making this decision for real. As I was walking out the door to go for a walk in the mountains to clear my head of the frustrated Antarctic work battle,  the hostel receptionist excitedly tells me something about a phone call.  It was something along the lines of somebody asking for me and a captain of a cruise ship, and a captain in the hostel today and tells me to check my email. So I get quite excited. But it turns out, I meet the captain, but he is a captain that lives in Australia and has come here to be a passenger on the Antarctic cruise ship.

But, totally coincidentally I check my email, and there are 3 emails from Sich, the kiwi guy I had met a couple of weeks ago who is working on the cruise ships. Well, he’s been emailing me and trying to ring me saying the hospitality people are short staffed and are probably looking for a waiter at short notice and they arrive tonight! But it’s a “6 star” cruise ship, yep not 5 star, but 6 star. In his words, “appearance is everything; the dreadies would have to come off”! So once again I made the above noise, but a little excited, buuuuttttt, nothing is guaranteed, I would have to cut the dreads off for the interview, without having anything guarantee of a job. As I’m making my wounded walrus noise, the receptionist points to my shirt “I will do ANYTHING to work in Antarctica”

So my decision, well put it one way, I just went and bought a razor and shaving cream for my facial hair, the first time in my life I have ever bought a razor. Yep, decision is made, I would chop the dags off, just for an interview. It’s all I have to go on after 3 weeks of job hunting, I have done all I can do, and have nothing to show for it except more rejection emails, this is all I have to go on, but still, nervous times. If I do get an email back and say I have an interview, I will be a whole mix of emotions, happy, excited, nervous, gutted, all put in a blender and blended on high. Waiting now for a reply to my email I sent off, you can imagine my feelings! OH, a massive big sincere thanks to Sich if it all comes off.

As an afterthought. It’s quite ironic. Mandy did my dreads nearly 3 years ago, maybe 2 and half years. Anyway, the day that she finished them we went to have dinner with her co-work and husband. They are adventurers, they had sailed around the world for 4 years with their young family.

At dinner we talked about my goal and the friendly husband asks me “so Hap, how are you going to go to Antarctica?”. This is something you may not know, but I bumbled and said “well, I kinda wasn’t planning on going to Antarctica, I know its a continent but I didn’t really think I needed to”. The husband says “Well if you going to live and work on every continent you have to live and work in antarctica”

That day in Colorado was where the Antarctic seed was sown, my dreads that were just completed that day were there when I reluctantly realised, “shit, I have to work in Antarctica, how am I going to that………..can you work in Antarctica?”.  So if I get the interview the dreads will have to go. They would represent the lifetime of my Antarctic goal, from the start to the completion.

The more people that know, the more people can help

25 Nov

Click here to check out the article that was published in the Ushuaian newspaper “El diario del fin del mundo”.

Finally that $30,000 student loan for that bit of paper I have that says I’m a “Marketing professional” has paid off. Yep, marketing myself, not yet a successful campaign, but a marketing campaign none the less.

One thing that I have learnt about what I’m doing ie trying to live my dream and get to Antarctica, is that you can’t be shy, you just have to put it out there, you can’t be worried about looking like a fool (something I do pretty well) or appearing arrogant, you can’t be bothered what other people think of you, you just have to do whatever it takes. And this is a little bit harder for us kiwis that got brought up with tall poppy syndrome. This is what we call in NZ when someone talks themselves up and they get cut back down to size, which is good because it makes a humble population, but the bad side is that it represses people to outwardly express their desires, ambitions and dreams.

My theme for my “campaign” is the more people that know about my goal, the more people can help me achieve it. And it is only going to take one person, just one person, it just takes being at the right place at the right time, and if I don’t knock on that port agents door, ask the sailor at the yacht club, or go and visit my cruise ship contact, I could miss being in that right place.

And also my good ol’ travel theme “you lose much by fearing to attempt”. Sometimes it gets a bit draining, going up to random people, giving them the spiel of what I’m trying to do, but I just say those phrases. And majority of the time it pays off, it’s surprising and warming how many people give you supportive feedback and are willing to help you.

You are always going to get the guy that looks at you with pessimistic eyes and thinks you’re a bit of weirdo. But he’s the kind of person that takes satisfaction in making people inferior, when the truth is the only joy that guys get is pretending he’s better and making other people unhappy, and kicking his dog when he gets home from work at night where he wallows in his negativity and enjoys the company of the ice clinking against the side of his whisky glass.

My uniform since I have arrived has been my t-shirt that says “I will do ANYtTHING to work in Antarctica”, my jacket that says the same, and I hand my business card out like they are candy. Putting it out there.

Last week the local newspaper (El diario del fin del mundo) here did an article on my goal and quest to get to Antarctica. So I have been going around other Antarctic related businesses, eg Port Agents, Fishing companies etc handing them my article and business card, talking to them about Antarctic work options etc. But it’s good to have an article that captures most of what I have done and is Spanish so they can read it quickly and summarises what I have done and what I want to do.

It was quite funny, the day the article got published in the paper a person came up to me on the street and said “I saw you on the internet”, I replied “oh yeah the article in El fin del mundo”, they are like “nah, theres 4 photos of you on the Kaitek night club website dancing around on the stage with the same t-shirt on”. Ummmmm, so it appears I have a double in town that looks the same as me with the same t-shirt 😉

My birthday in Antarctica

22 Nov

Firstly happy birthday to Mandy, she turned the big 3 0, and thank you to her  for supporting and understanding that I had to come to the end of the world and be away from her on her special day.

Secondly, this post I wrote last week and never got around to posting it as other things were happening, but it’s about my birthday, nearly 2 weeks ago now!

Ok, my apologises for getting you excited, that was a bit mean of me. My birthday was not spent on the continent Antarctica, but rather the Hostel Antarctica. When I arrived at snowy Ushuaia airport on the 10th of November I looked at the list of hostels, the first one was Antarctica hostel. Usually I go around and check out all the hostels before making a decision, but the name was enough for me. I approached 2 other tourists and asked if they wanted to share a taxi into town as there were no buses. They agreed, I asked them where they were going to, they replied “We have a reservation for Hostel Antarctica”, it was meant to be.

In the hostel I met Scottish Nicola and Greek Harry who were travelling together. The following day was my birthday, I decided to postpone my Antarctica work search until after my birthday and went to the national park with Nicola and Harry. The national park is famous for being the end of Route 3, the road that goes from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, it is literally the end of the road. Yeah you feel a bit stupid getting your photo by it when motor biker Keith turns up and has ridden from the most northern point in North America (Alaska) to the most southern point in South America (Ushuaia).

My birthday lunch was spent at the bottom of the world, Antarctica not far away, it’s somewhere behind me in the photo below.

We spent the rest of day walking around the park stopping for the occasional mate break, as it was darn cold, especially when 2 days ago I was Paraguay’s 40˚C.

To top the national park experience off Mother Nature came to the party showered us in snow, was pretty cool, the fact that it has basically snowed every day since doesn’t matter.

Then it was back to Antarctica (Hostel) for a birthday dinner with new friends, and Keith the motorcyclist also turned up to celebrate the end of his journey.

The thing I love about travelling is that you always meet great people, friendly people. It’s good to know that the human race is not just made up of people that you see on the 6 o’clock news. For example the super friendly hostel staff brought me a bottle of champagne and a little birthday cake.

As far as spending a birthday removed from girlfriend Mandy, family and close friends, it was perfect. Having travelled for so long (I left New Zealand at the start of 2003), it was a fitting birthday to spend it with fellow travellers. The thing I love about travelling is that you are united as travellers, you don’t have a title, and you come from all different walks of life. For example my birthday was spent with a Greek construction worker, a Scottish HR manager, an Italian scientist, two German university students of which one was an opera singer, super friendly Argentinean hostel staff and a multimillionaire Englishman that had just motor biked from Alaska to Ushuaia. It was spent sipping red wine and having conversations that break through the real world barriers from the get go, perfect –until I woke up in the morning and was reminded by my head how much red wine I had drunk.

Birthdays are also a time for reflection, and when I was standing at the end of the world that day with snow hitting my face I thought about all the places I have had my birthdays since I started my goal working the world, and I felt pretty good. So far I have spent them in Korea, Spain, Vancouver Canada, Sylvan Lake Canada, New Zealand (after my accident), Australian Outback and now I can add the end of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina. Where will I be spending my 30th birthday in 2 years time? I will be turning 30 on the 11/11/11, (that’s a lot of ones), and I was born on the 11th hour as well, unfortunately mum popped me out 3 minutes early at 11.08am, don’t worry mum I won’t hold it against you, I still love you, Hap.

Soooooo close!

18 Nov

Ohhhhhhh, it felt good. Let me share with you my experience of yesterday, in fact I had a similar experience today, but for now I will share with you yesterdays experience.

My previous post was about meeting Tom and Jelle who were about to embark on an Antarctic expedition of a lifetime with Antarctic legend and environmentalist Robert Swan. The purpose of the expedition is for the 40 hand-picked participants to experience Antarctica expedition, attend onboard seminars etc and then go back to their respective countries and spread the word of 2041 and global warming.

Before Tom and Jelle left the hostel in taxi to go to the hotel to meet with the other participants I wrote Robert a letter and attached my business card (gosh I sound so professional). I jumped in the taxi with the boys and headed 10km out of town to the hotel.

Through the sea of participants trying to check in, I spotted a gray haired man in his 50’s wearing a red “team leader” jacket. I approached him, said I had a letter for Mr Swan and explained to him my goal and showed him my t-shirt. He was such a nice guy, he introduced himself and said to me “ah just go in there, pretend your one of them, no one will notice, I will make sure Mr Swan gets your letter……….in fact let me tell you something. Mr Swan isn’t here at the moment, he’s up at another hotel up on the hill, he will be there a little bit longer, go there and you might be able to see him”. How awesome is that, one thing I have found as I strive to get to Antarctica are people are so willing to help you live your dreams.

Luckily I had printed off 3 letters, so I left another one with Tom, and took my last remaining letter and went to see if I could get a taxi, as I needed to get there ASAP. But in true traveller form, I checked my wallet and had no money, not even enough to catch a bus.

The vibe I had got from the team leader and from what I had read about Mr Swan I knew if I could meet him and he had a spare berth from someone not turning up I could live my dream. It was close. I started on the 10 km walk back into town, and all of a sudden I felt tears in my eyes, my Antarctic goal I have strived for the last 3 years felt like it could be in reach, I kept saying, “this could be it Hap”, the feeling was amazing, my heart was racing.

I started to walk, restraining myself from running. I stuck my thumb out at the same time and when I heard cars approaching I would turn to face them with my smile so they could see the positive wave that I was riding, the aurora or whatever you want to call it. The fourth car pulled over.

26 year old Nicholas was driving, I told him what I was doing, and he replied “that hotels right at the top of the mountain, but I can take you there as it just so happens I have to drop something off there today”. Nicholas hit the gas and during the conversation it turned up that he has an American wife that he met 3 years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! The same place I met my American girlfriend Mandy 3 years ago, how crazy is that.

We made it to the 4 star hotel, I walked into the foyer and told the receptionist I was there to talk with Robert Swan. I was expecting him to call security, but I heard him telling Mr Swan on the other end that there was a man here to talk with him and then handed me the telephone. My god, what do you say to a famous Antarctic legend that you’ve just stalked and doesn’t know who you are? Well, you tell him your name. “Hello Mr Swan, you don’t know me but name’s Hap” “Hello Hap, sorry I am just in the middle of a meeting organising this expedition, I can’t meet you, but quickly tell me what you want”. So I just let loose on my spiel about my goal, about Antarctica, about wanting to be a part of his organisation and helping with my public speaking etc, this is easy to do when you are this passionate. He was such a genuinely nice guy, he said to me “I’m sorry Hap, I have no berths available, but leave me your letter and I will read it, but take down my email address and send me an email again on what you can offer my organisation and I will see what I can do, good luck”.

Wow, so I didn’t have a berth, but the genuine words from someone I had spent all morning reading about and admiring left me floating on a cloud as I made my way all the way back down into town.

Then I made my way back to the hostel and spent the night battling to keep my eyes open as the night before I was awake from 4am as my dorm room mates organised their packs for their 5am bus. But I finally I got the email sent off at 3am with the small chance that a participant could fall ill in the one day they had in Ushuaia before departure. In hind sight I should of had taken more time and written the email with a fresh mind, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So what part is 2041 going to play in my future?

Hola gente de Ushuaia

18 Nov

Tal vez ha leido el articulo en el diario del fin de mundo sobre mi meta de vivir y trabajar en todos los continentes del mundo hasta los 30 anos. Si fue asi, bienvenidos a mi blog!

Si esta leyendo esto y puede ayudarme conseguir trabajo en Antártica, para alcanzar mi meta , por favor contactarme. Mi numero es (2901) 533618, o puede mandarme un mail a o dejar un mensaje por mi blog.

Gracias a todos los que me han ayudado, toda la gente de Ushuaia que encontré, todo fueron muy amables, muchísimas gracias. Muy buena onda!  

Saludos, Hap

Hello the people of Ushuaia

 Maybe you read the article in El fin del mundo newspaper about my goal to live and work in every continent of the world before I’m 30. If so, welcome to my blog!

If you are reading this and can help me get work in Antarctica and therefore help me achieve my goal, please contact me. My cell phone is (2901) 533618 or you can email me at or leave a message on my blog.

 Thank you to everybody that has already helped me. All the people I have met here in Ushuaia have been so friendly, for this I thank you all.

Thank you so very much!


2041 – A number worth mentioning!

16 Nov

Hey folks,

It’s your man on the ground in Ushuaia, yep still here looking for my passage to the illusive continent. Everyday I am meeting people that have worked in Antarctica, knows someone working there, someone that has just got back from the continent, or someone who has just paid the last minute price of US$4000 for their 11 day cruise to Antarctica.

But today I met two Antarctic bound guys here in Hostel Antarctica that are worthy of a mention, and an organisation that is doing wonderful amazing things for the frozen continent. The two fellas are Jelle from Holland who studied Industrial Ecology and Tom a journalist from England. They are about to embark on a 2 week journey with the 2041 expedition, organised by the passionate Antarctic explorer and protector, Robert Swan, the first man to walk to both the North and South Poles.

The Antarctic treaty was first signed in 1959, to protect it’s natural resources from drilling and mining, and the year 2041 is when that treaty is up. Swans 2041 organisation is about the education of the next generation about climate change and use of sustainable energy so that there will be no need for Antarctica’s abundant untapped resources to be exploited. I have spent the last 3 hours on the 2041 website, Robert has also just released his 2041 book, can’t wait to get my hands on it. Go to the 2041 website and check it out.