As a reminder for those of us for whom 1st grade was difficult or if you find knowledge of the seven continents useless…
The 7 continents are:
Total Continents so far: 4/7
As opposed to visiting all 196 countries, this feels more quickly accessible and like a building block to reaching that more ambitious goal. Now, I also have a leg up on this goal already, having lived on three of the seven continents before the age of 19.
Before my 2nd birthday, my family moved to Hong Kong, checking Asia off this list while I still had a finger up my nose and was convinced veggie-laden spoons doubled as airplanes when Mom made the “vroom vroom” sound.
Due to my family’s early ex-pat lifestyle, my parents had friends and family scattered through Europe. This, (and one great school choir trip to Greece), led to several trips over the course of my adolescence (photos of braces and badly self-cut bangs have since been burned and the ashes buried in consecrated ground). Finally, I was lucky enough to move to Florence, Italy for my first semester of college at 18.
In the summer of 2011, I interned with a group called Social Entrepreneur Corps, as one of their first groups of interns in the region doing a feasibility study on their microconsignment model in South Africa. I’m fairly sure they’re no longer in South Africa, but continue to do great work in Latin America. I got food poisoning, was almost robbed at gun point, slept in the same room with 9 other people, ate Mponi worms and chicken feet, and would give a limb to do it again. That was a phenomenal trip with wonderful people and the various places we saw there remain some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I am sincerely hoping to travel to other parts of Africa soon (ish). I have my eyes set on Kenya at the moment.
And of course, North America. Not sure if you can tell by the way I sometimes forget what I’m doing and break into a “USA, USA, USA!” chant, but I’m born and partially raised American. I’ve been a Texan, a Pennsylvanian, and I’m 2/5 of my way to being a New Yorker. I’ve travelled to Canada, but not yet Mexico. I would say spending the bulk of my existence on this continent crosses it off the list.
This leaves South America, Australia, and Antarctica. Both South America and Australia will just take some saving and prepping, but are doable!
So, Antarctica. Up until recently, you couldn’t travel to Antarctica, unless you were a researcher or scientist. Now, cruises and expeditions take tourists regularly. Some of these excursion groups will provide warm coats for you, because even in Antarctican Summer, the temperatures are still well below freezing. With recent climate change affecting the landscape of the continent (i.e. large chunks of ice melting and breaking off into the sea), it is recommended to go sooner, rather than later. I haven’t seen any inexpensive trips to Antarctica, but some of the most interesting travel plans I’ve found include:
1. National Geographic Expedition: Depart from Argentina on a small ship to Antarctica. This 14 day trip includes travel time to Buenos Aires, two day travel by ship to Antarctica, and 5 days of exploration.
2. Adventure-Life: This list contains different cruises, based on departure location, trip length, rigor of the experience, and cost.
3. Quark Expeditions: This company specializes in polar expeditions and was one of the first groups to make tourist trips to Antarctica. They have a range of different kinds of trips, with the lowest cost I could find at $5,500.
Travel tips for my three remaining continents? Stories from your travels? Let me know in the comments!
Also, just created a Do the Thing Facebook page! Check it out.