When they received the news, they jumped out of their seats at the packed cafe, threw their arms in the air, and danced. Everyone looked at them like they were crazy.
But Jarryd Salem and Alesha Bradford did not care. They were going to Antarctica.
They were no strangers to adventure, having met at a hostel bar in Vancouver in 2008 when Jarryd joined Alesha for drinks at the end of his security shift one night. After several days spent exploring the city, Alesha had to leave for Seattle, and she joked that Jarryd should join her. Having just quit his job, Jarryd called her bluff and hopped on a bus to meet up with her. They spent a week in Seattle — and they’ve been traveling together ever since.
Over the past decade, the couple has wandered the globe. They’ve spent a year hitchhiking around Central America and explored Canada by van. They’ve ridden motorbikes around southeast Asia for 10 months and worked on a private catamaran in the Caribbean. Funded by the success of their blog, NOMADasaurus, they’ve explored the far reaches of the planet, hopping onto the cheapest trains, taxis, buses, and even cargo ships they can find.
But Antarctica was different.
It was every traveler’s dream. The White Continent. A place so remote and unknown that, unless you’re a scientist or have your own sailboat, you must be part of a licensed expedition to visit.
Traversing the Drake Passage takes two days by boat, and requires crossing some of the roughest seas in the world. Despite some seasickness, Jarryd and Alesha were filled with wonder and excitement for the impending trip. Waking up to their 4 a.m. alarms on the third day, they peered out their portholes to catch a glimpse of an iceberg floating by. They threw their clothes on and ran outside to the bow to see the first view of the continent in the distance. With tears streaming down their cheeks, they watched as the sun rose over the snowy peaks, casting a deep orange glow across the horizon.
They spent their days at the bottom of the world visiting research stations, watching wildlife, hiking, sea kayaking, camping, and even swimming in the caldera of an active volcano, all the while admiring the wondrous landscape around them. Though they’d expected an endless panorama of snow-covered hills, they were surprised to find a region marked by towering black cliffs, gigantic icebergs, sprawling glaciers, and turquoise water. The beauty and enormity of it all was humbling, almost overwhelming.
When it finally came time to leave, they were disappointed but grateful. In their decade of traveling, no other location has had quite the impact as Antarctica. They still think about it every day.
On the return trip, the waters were quiet and calm, a rare occurrence known as “Drake Lake.” As they gazed out over the placid sea, they vowed to return again.
Alesha and Jarryd are the professional writers, photographers and videographers behind Australia’s top adventure travel blog, NOMADasaurus. Traveling the world together since 2008, their nomadic lives takes them in search of culture and adventure in off the beaten path destinations. You can find more on their Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook channels.