I was lucky to have the last contact with Alex before she set off and below are the burning questions I asked her:
Hi, Ask Alex!
I think it’s amazing what you’re doing and I know all of us at SAP are looking forward to the stories you will be sharing with us while you’re out there. A few questions before you embark on your expedition:
- We are spoiled here in California with some of the best year-round weather. I’m curious what it was like to shop for an arctic adventure. Any fun stories?
o Luckily I snowboard, so I wasn’t completely helpless in terms of warm gear. What I didn’t have, and something I’m told is crucial for surviving freezing temperatures, is warm baselayers. I actually learned a lot about outdoor gear and how to dress for all climates during this research period. I can also tell you the best prices, brands, and when the best deals are happening. On a serious note, I was limited on what I could bring as they enforce a strict weight policy on luggage. I plan to re-wear the same clothes for a few days, I’ll let you know how that goes.
- I’m sure you’re looking forward to everything you’re about to experience, but what are some of the activities you’re most excited about?
o Hard to pick one. Mainly, I’m looking forward to being inspired by the place and people. I’ll be seeing, from what I imagine, the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on, and the people I meet will all have incredible stories to share. I’ve already met a few folks from diverse backgrounds, who come with different perspectives and motivations, and who have fascinating stories to share. I think we’ll all connect on a deeper level as we survive the crossing of the Drake Passage together–I have to imagine that must bring people together. Also, the Polar Plunge, I’m scared, but I’ll be excited to share in the misery and adrenaline with other plungers. Oh, and the penguins, but that’s a given.
- I heard you’re going to be traveling through some of the roughest waters in the world. Are you prepared for that rollercoaster of emotions?
o Clearly, it’s already on my mind since I’ve mentioned it above, and really, it’s all anyone has been talking about. Have you watched YouTube videos of this stuff? It’s extreme. I’m kicking myself for not bringing more motion sickness medicine, and I forgot my ginger! Apparently Mythbusters proved that ginger is the most effective for preventing motion sickness. Every person that I’ve met thus far has come prepared with a full pharmacy, so at least I can make friends and ask for handouts. We’re hearing now that the waters are looking “good,” but seriously, Google “calm Drake Passage,” the videos you find are not for the faint of heart.
- Is there anything you’re reluctant to experience? Any fears or worries?
o Not really, but I’ve had this one nightmare about falling into a crevasse while trekking on land. I’m told that won’t happen as long as I follow the crew’s guidance and direction. We will all be given safety training and be told the critical information for survival. I’ll be surrounded by professionals, so I’m not too worried, but Antarctica is a wild land with many dangers and unknowns, which for me, adds to the excitement of the expedition. Not one expedition is the same from the last, it’s always changing and I’m eager to experience it all.
- If there is one thing you think we should all take away from your time out there, what would it be?
o I’ll have to get back to you on this, but I think it’s important to remember why I’m going, why Rob does this every year, and why people from all over the world compete for this opportunity. This expedition is about action. It’s about learning how individuals can positively impact climate change, how our organizations can make a difference, and for me, a chance to see how SAP fits into the grand picture. It’s also not about one generation, it’s about all of us. Rob and Barney, father and son, on a mission to preserve Antarctica and create climate action champions around the world, it’s such a powerful message; I want to shout their story from the rooftops!
Best of luck with your trip, Alex! Can’t wait to read more about your adventure.
SAP Silicon Valley