By Punch Pep Correspondent Elizabeth Fischer
Triumphant and glorious â€“ nature at its most raw, simplistic and breathtakingly exquisite selfâ€¦a combination of the branded, identified & recognized with the invisible, mysterious, anonymous, and unfamiliar.Â The dialogue and photos were wow â€“ amazing â€“ wow! Â I was transported and an integral part of his adventure.
For Andrew Evans his bus to Antarctica was his lifetime journey and dream realized.Â A bit akin to my life, although his vision came at a much earlier age, yet as I sat there lost in his journey, I felt the all too familiar tug, the one that has been telling me for the past three years to â€œjump and all will be okay;â€ to â€œtake the plunge â€“ the time is now.â€Â With each moment, each adventure and each time I step outside of my old self I come closer to realizing I will no longer be sitting back living vicariously through other peopleâ€™s adventures.Â (Although I donâ€™t know if I ever have truly just lived through others since I am about living life â€“ just my beginnings were a bit more controlled and restricted as opposed to how theyâ€™ve evolved over the last decade).
Over the last nine months, I have met many people from many walks of life but nothing excites me more than when I am listening to someone who has achieved what others said was impossible (the doubting Thomasâ€™ so to speak).Â Andrew Evans is one of those individuals.Â He is a travel writer for National Geographic and his vision: Bus2Antarctica began simply. Andrew decided he was going to Antarctica, but wanted to get there without spending lots of money.Â As such, he traced the route on a map, noted buses ran almost the entire 10 thousand miles and came to Nat Geo with his proposal: Heâ€™d take the busâ€”a guaranteed adventureâ€”and post entries to Nat Geoâ€™s Intelligent Travel blog en route.Â Nat Geo loved the idea.Â Ten weeks, 14 countries, and 10,000 miles later, a lifelong dream to travel to Earthâ€™s frozen continent wasâ€”yes!â€”realized for Andrew.
According to Andrew, traveling to Antarctica had been his dream since he blew out candles on a birthday cake many moons ago.Â To realize his dream he auditioned for scientific internships on research ships and applied for menial jobs on American polar bases.Â He wrote elaborate proposals for special grants that were never granted and made wild attempts to win Internet contests. Unfortunately, none of those efforts bore fruit so he just decided to go â€“ his time was right now.
I was in awe through the entire program – thinking of my own journey to my current place and my sense for adventure to achieve my dream despite the abundant and plentiful questions and skepticism.Â I mean I am a lawyer what more could a girl want….(despite being a dime a dozen here ).
As a child, my dream was to be a nurse in a nursery, married at 18 with a dozen kids by the time I was 30.Â Well, I have been married and I have had a dozen kids of the four-legged variety but that is where theÂ similaritiesÂ end because during my freshmen year of high school I met Tasha Pasiekaâ€™s dad â€“ a lawyer and FBI agent â€“ and as he talked something resonated and I headed to law school.Â But my journey didnâ€™t end â€“ fate stepped in and I was laid off.Â I started questioning my path (a deep seeded question that existed when I was very young but with each chapter surfaced and came into focus a bit more) – mainly because the life I meticulously planned ran like clockwork till the day it started to twist and turn making life more delicious (even thoughÂ at the time I wasn’t sure what to think).Â Â But I didnâ€™t take the road less traveled; I followed the expected path since finances and fear kept me stranded.Â I accepted a position thinking I could do both â€“ maintain my old life and start a new life.Â Yep, didnâ€™t happen.Â But 2 years ago, I was afforded another opportunity â€“ while the path to accomplishment has changed (from engagement to blogging -blogging wasnâ€™t even a piece of lint in my overall big picture- but thanks to Pamela it is an integral part of this new chapter), the time for this journey is now with all its warts, bumps, hills, valleys, obstacles, tears, happiness, and euphoria.Â Listening to Andrew talk my journey was cemented as never before â€“ no matter the outside criticisms and judgments â€“ my moments of WTF and fear â€“ I will not be derailed and I am precisely where I am suppose to be.Â I am ready to dive from the highest peak.
Life is what happens whether you are planning it or just living it.Â Andrew tried numerous ways to make his dream happen until the moment he decided it would happen.Â In that moment, his dream became a reality.Â So take a few moments to read more about Andrew Evans and his adventure.Â It just might provide you with the push you need to attain a life that makes you smile large every day.Â The following links share a detail that I will only brush upon below:
Andrew eagerly mapped out a rough ten-week plan, arranged to post entries to Travelerâ€™s blog from the road, bought his first bus ticketâ€”and embarked on his one-man polar expedition from a sidewalk bus stop outside National Geographicâ€™s headquarters in Washington, D.C.Â It was New Yearâ€™s Day, and all he carried was a backpack stuffed with clothes, a camera, and a new National Geographic flag.Â He paid $1.35 to ride the S2 Metrobus down 16th Street past the White House.Â An hour later he boarded a Greyhound bus to Atlanta, nervously anticipating the long road ahead. Â Â His journey would take him from the US to Mexico to Guatemala to Costa Rica to Panama to Columbia to Ecuador to Peru to Bolivia to Argentina ending in Antarctica.
After three days of riding silver buses across the American South, Andrew found himself at a roadside rest stop in northern Mexico at midnight.Â While the other bus passengers slept, he ventured into the cold, dry air. Â Aside from the glowing tip of the bus driverâ€™s cigarette and some vague white stars, the only other source of light flickered from a pile of orange embers on the ground, where a lone Indian woman wearing a red wool cap squatted and shaped tortillas,Â pat-pat-pat.Â Andrew felt overwhelmed by the obscure scene and the utter darkness.Â Heâ€™d been to Mexico before, but not like this. The bus had delivered him to an invisible part of the world.
On another part of his journey, somewhere in Colombia, he was awakened by a loud crash, followed by the bus rumbling off the road.Â Nobody risked stepping out to see what happened, fearing it might be bandits.Â So finally, Andrew got off with the driverâ€”and both discovered the cow the bus had hit and killed. Â As the sole passenger with a camera, he was enlisted to help document the carnage for the police.
Ironically, through his travels, accidents and breakdowns offered new opportunities for discovery. Â Cruising at 12,000 feet along the Peruvian Andes, he noticed that his inflatable neck pillow had sprung a leak when the wheels on the bus went pop, pop, pop. Â The flat tires occupied the bus driver for hours, which Andrew spent taking walks across the rock-strewn altiplano, gazing up at the bluest skies heâ€™d ever seen.
Along the way, Andrew learned Guatemalan buses are colorful and full of chickens; in Panama frogs and boats are friends; in Columbia there are ten ways planes are just like buses (they both have wheels that donâ€™t always touch the ground);Â in Ecuador the strangers are kind; Argentina has fancy schmancy buses; and there is tea time in the Falklands.Â In Mexico it is about the people on the buses; in Costa Rica he met the singing truck driver; in Bogota it was a high school reunion, the street life & the lucky miss; Ecuador was about the virgins; Lima was the views; Bolivia was the high life, the rainy season and the salt flats; in Argentina he was â€œscared Strait;â€ and in Antarctica it was the views, the icebergs and the wild life.Â His adventure will always be remembered and for us the message is clear â€“ when you dream â€“ dream big â€“ never give up â€“ never accept defeat because one day you might just realize a wish you made when the possibility was nothing but an impossibility.
Attorney Elizabeth Fischer is Punch Pep Correspondent. She is working as an Entrepreneur, Lawyer and Student (environmental studies), covering events for Pamela’s Punch as a generalist correspondent. When she is not working, studying or playing soccer or tennis, she is walking her pups, traveling the globe, running marathons, and enjoying all DC has to offer. Contact her at email@example.com.