Steve, can you describe your penchant for adventure?
When I was 15 or 16, one of my best friends, Louis, invited me on a road trip through Europe. I remember this was so alien to me and driving through all of these different cities and places was just so exciting. I think that trip was what started my love for traveling and we still do these types of trips today.
How did you prepare for this?
Preparing for this trip was quite tough, as we’re visiting so many different places in such a short amount of time. It was difficult thinking about equipment and different clothing you need – going from arctic conditions in Svalbard to approaching summer in Cape Town. However I have travelled quite a bit now, and learning to pack the right stuff becomes a lot easier, so hopefully I nailed it this time, too.
Is this the biggest trip you’ve attempted?
In terms of the biggest trip I’ve done, this is definitely up there. I did a road trip in 2011 with fifteen mates across the whole of America. We bought a 30-foot school bus just outside of New York and ended up in Anchorage, Alaska – clocking up around 9,000 miles. So that was quite a big trip too. But the Pole to Pole trip with PayPal is definitely the most challenging and biggest in terms of destinations visited, as we are hitting eight countries, three continents in only two weeks! Then on top of that, it’s completely cashless, using PayPal for all my travel, accommodation and adventures. I’m loving the challenge and definitely thriving from trying to figure out how to pay for some things!
Any concerns heading into the trip?
Visiting this many destinations in such a short period of time leaves little room for error, so things like missing flights is a slight concern. So far I’ve only missed one out of Moscow but we managed to jump on the next flight a few hours later, so it wasn’t a big deal. The trip has been amazingly organized though, so fingers crossed nothing else pops up.
You wrote on IG that you fell in love with the first stop. Why?
Svalbard was honestly incredible and what made it so special was a mixture of different things. Firstly, the fact that it’s the most northern populated town in the world is pretty epic! Also all the people we met were amazing, super friendly and you could tell that they just loved living there. Our guide Kjetil was brilliant too, we got on really well with him and he was also a keen photographer which strengthened the dynamic of us capturing this part of the trip.
We went on a boat tour where we headed further north and actually stayed over night on the boat itself. We got to check out an abandoned Russian town call Pyramiden, which was such a fascinating place as it really does feel like a ghost town; it’s like everyone left the day before.
One of the greatest memories I have of Svalbard is waking up the next morning; our captain Stein didn’t wake us until we were in sights of the most incredible glacier I’ve ever seen. This was so unbelievably overwhelming and it’s the most peaceful and visually beautiful place I’ve ever been. I think it’s because you get a feeling like you’re out there on your own, which you pretty much are, and the landscape is so unique from what you’re used to seeing, which is so special.
So I will definitely be heading back there as soon as I can, this time bringing my wife and family along with me.
At the midpoint of the trip, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling great and really excited about the next destinations, I’m a little bit tired but that’s expected when you’re trying to accomplish so much in so little time. Going pretty much from Pole to Pole, powered by PayPal and totally cashless is something I’ve haven’t heard anyone doing. I’m really enjoying the challenge.
Follow The Journey From #PoleToPole
Stay up to date with Steve’s journey!