Why Travelling to Antarctica is Good for Your Mental Health

There’s certainly enough evidence out there that travelling is good for the soul – all of us intrepid explorers don’t even need to read about any ‘evidence’, we know it from personal experience. Whether it’s an adrenalin-packed adventure, a restful reprieve or a revitalising and culturally immersive journey, bursting out of our routine, our lives and our comfort zones has some seriously wicked benefits for our bodies and mind. Yet there’s something about travelling to a truly unplugged destination like Antarctica that adds a new element to the ‘travel is soul-soothing’ credo. An adventure to Antarctica is a mental-health boost on steroids.

Here’s why travelling to Antarctica is good for your mental health:

An Antarctica expedition is the ultimate unplugged therapy

We all know we’re addicted to our devices, to the hectic pace of modern-day lives and to the constant bombardment of news, updates, world-happenings, meetings, work, family, and on and on and on. So take a deep breath and unplug – seriously unplug – in one of the last true sanctuaries left on the planet where the ‘rest of the world’ doesn’t even exist.
There’s something quite cathartic about being out there, at the end of the world. At first, the thought is daunting: it’s not like you can run back home (or the nearest airport) should anything happen. But then it’s soothing, purifying even, to be so far removed that the only option is to abandon yourself to the adventure and leave the rest of us behind. Your daily phone scroll is replaced by a daily penguin spotting. Instead of a sneaky vino at news time to unwind, you’ll have sneaky vino, nose to window, looking out for whales. Soon enough, the rest of the world won’t even exist in your mind: it’ll be just you, your travel companions and the exhilarating expectation of what you’ll see next in Antarctica. This kind of experience is beyond therapeutic and something we all need to feel, at least once in life.

Cruise ship in Antarctic waters. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise ship in Antarctic waters. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Travelling to Antarctica reconnects you with nature – and plunges you head-first into it

Being out in nature has been found to be one of the most effective mental health prescriptions around (Stanford researchers said so), reducing stress, depression and anxiety, three chronic conditions which are on the rise in the most urbanized regions of our planet. Walking around in nature feeds your soul and improves mental health and there’s no better nature than Antarctica. This wilderness paradise takes it up a notch – after a couple of days crossing the Drake Passage, you’ll feel as removed from urbanization as humanly possible – and you won’t see a single city for the whole duration of your trip. No cars, no honking traffic, no maddening crowds (except loud penguiny ones) no bright artificial lights…only the deafening silence of nature. Your days in Antarctica will be filled with outdoor adventures, from Zodiac rides to kayaking excursions, on-land walks and explorations or, hey, even a polar plunge to really test your resolve!

Antarctica is one of the few places where you can feel connected with nature on multiple levels – even feel incredibly dwarfed by it – and that is one of the most therapeutic benefits of all.

King Penguin colony, South Georgia Island. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

King Penguin colony, South Georgia Island. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Travelling to Antarctica will make you feel that all the hard work is worthwhile

We work for the mortgage, for the car, for the kids – we work decades to provide and secure but, sometimes, it also feels amazing to know we’ve worked to have the experience of a lifetime. An Antarctic expedition doesn’t need to cost the earth (in fact, we’ve made it our mission to offer affordable Antarctica trips) yet we know people deliberate long and hard about the expense. Whilst it’s impossible to verbalise the rewarding aspects of a trip to the White Continent, suffice to say we’ve yet to meet anyone who regretted it. How could one? Antarctic trips are lifelong dreams for many, bucket-list wishes for most and unforgettable for all. When it comes to good mental health, not to mention a host of other benefits, travelling to Antarctica is about as good a reward as you could ever find.

And that just makes you feel good about all the hard yakka. You’ve earned this.

Expedition to Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Expedition to Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Travelling to Antarctica will give you a whole new positive perspective

If you’ve ever been in truly overwhelming natural surroundings, you’ll know what a humbling experience it is. You feel tiny, insignificant, unimportant – and so do your problems and issues. Antarctica trips have a way of resetting our perspectives, not just on ourselves but on the world, as a whole. They can make one reset one’s priorities and the way they see their existence, not to mention their impact on the planet. We’ve blogged about Antarctica expeditions turning mere tourists into environmental warriors and it’s true: these expeditions are so educational and intense that you just can’t help but be totally engrossed in it, raising your awareness of climate change and the general direction in which humans are headed on this incredible planet of ours. Most importantly though, this kind of experiential journey manages to take the focus off our own priorities, even for just a few days, and that dissociation from self-absorption is incredibly liberating and beneficial to mental wellbeing. It really is like the ultimate ‘distraction’ technique that resets priorities and alters perspective.
Want to feel rejuvenated, positive and proactive?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Go see Antarctica.

Zodiac in front of ice berg in Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Zodiac in front of ice berg in Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

On an expedition to Antarctica, you could make lifelong friends

There’s something about sharing intense experiences that makes you connect with strangers on a very deep level and if an expedition to Antarctica delivers anything, it delivers that – plenty of intense experiences. We often say that your fellow Antarctica cruise passengers are just great friends you’ve yet to meet and that’s because we’ve all made close and long-lasting bonds with people with whom we’ve shared our expeditions to the far south. When you’re standing on a remote pebbly beach on the peninsula, surrounded by icy peaks and an insane number of waddling and yapping penguins, it’ll feel utterly surreal – like you’re living through an ethereal episode of Blue Planet. Those who are there with you will share your amazement, your goosebumps, your bewilderment, and that’s one of the most bonding experiences ever. An Antarctica expedition is unlike any other journey one could ever take and that reconnection happens not only with nature but also with your fellow companions and that is a truly beautiful thing.

Share a canoe trip in Antarctica with a stranger and you’ll come back good friends.

Two men in a canoe among icebergs in Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Two men in a canoe among icebergs in Antarctica. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Oh we know we love waxing lyrical about travelling to Antarctica – but this magnificent destination really is as therapeutic and otherworldly as everyone claims. Want to come see it with us?

See our full collection of Antarctica Experiences and come do something good – no, GREAT – for your mental wellbeing in 2019.

Author: Laura Pattara

“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 13 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now in the midst of a 5-year motorbike odyssey from Germany to Australia.”

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