Patagon Journal has posted a Q&A with Borge Ousland, a Norwegian polar explorer, photographer and writer. In the Q&A, done following a expedition across the Patagonian ice cap in 2009, Ousland discusses the reasons behind his polar journeys. Currently he is taking part in another adventure in Patagonia, follow along on his blog or Facebook.
The most interesting answer was in response to the question asking what it is like to be out there alone:
The South Pole can be quite sterile in a way. The animal life is coast to coast and when you get inside its just a huge expanse of snow. But what is interesting about that, especially solo trips, is that its not just traveling from point A to B, rather its also very much a mental trip. When you don’t have anyone one else to relate to, you relate more toward nature and also toward yourself — you reach levels inside of you that you didn’t know existed. As well, you also have an entirely different interaction with nature when you are by yourself. For me, it’s extremely exciting to do it solo, my trips alone are some of the most rewarding I have done. But I mostly do the trips with other people because its too beautiful to do it alone and I want to have someone to share it with.
I saw Ousland speak at a National Geographic Live event more than a decade ago. I found him inspiring, and I have enjoyed following his adventures since then. His ability to travel solo, to persevere in incredibly harsh conditions, to adapt to adversity make him one of this era’s top explorers.
Here is a video National Geographic posted following an event earlier this year: