I recently had a conversation with my family about travel and how many continents we had traveled to. First, I had to double check that my daughter knew all 7! (And yes, I made her say them out loud.) My daughter was at 3, getting ready to hit Australia, and make it 4. My husband is at 4, getting ready to make 5 in the spring. My son is at 3 and I pull up the rear at 2. Now, this may not be a typical conversation in many peoples’ households, but in our family we travel a lot and we often talk of “where to go next.” It got me thinking about travel, in general. I have always had a passport as long as I can remember. My mother was born in Yugoslavia and from a small child on, we would travel to her home in Europe. Traveling was always a part of my life and I have instilled the idea in my kids that the world is a place to explore and discover.
Do you know how many Americans have a passport? The answer is 42% according to the Department of State. That seems like such a small number to me. I don’t know why people don’t travel more, whether it is money, time, or just the “scared” factor of going somewhere unknown.
So back to the subject of traveling the continents. It is estimated that only 0.02% of the population has visited all 7 continents! A lot of changing factors go into this number and it is hard to pin down, but rest assured, it is a very small number of people.
While traveling to all 7 continents was not a goal I previously had, the thought of doing this has come to the forefront. While I won’t be planning my next trip to Antarctica anytime soon, I do believe I will be part of the 0.02% before I die. I have no doubts my children will too. They have much more time on their side too.
Just to let you know, getting to Antarctica is not easy. Most people fly or cruise out of Chile, which is a main departure point. Flying is very difficult due to the wind and changing weather. Also, the flying season is Dec-Feb. Very short. If you do fly, note that there are no scheduled flights; just charters. The flight takes 2 hours to King George Island, which is just an outer island and not the main continent. It takes 10 hours to the South Pole with one stop. For the 2016-2017 travel season, there were 44,202 visitors to Antarctica. (coolantarctica.com). Cruising is much more popular and takes about 4 hours to cross from Chile. What you can see in Antartica: penguins, icebergs and the Drake Passage.
If you are not part of the 42% of American citizens, consider getting your passport and opening up to a whole world of experiences. Maybe Antarctica is in your future.