Blog Your Way to the North Pole

149 votes

The magic of a point on a map

Meg Natraj December 05, 2010 | 11:08 PM

Every so often, someone asks that age-old travel question, “If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?” Popular answers include tropical islands and African safaris or trekking adventures in Asia or South America. I often see raised eyebrows and strange looks when I answer, “An icebreaker to the North Pole.”

It’s not what most people expect, and even some of the most seasoned travelers I know have never even considered it a possibility! Yet this is the single item at the top of my travel dream list. (For a while, it was even on my Amazon wish list -- not because I actually thought someone would book it for me, but just to see it among the books and DVDs and enjoy a moment of wistful longing.)

Why the North Pole? I've always loved maps, and ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the thrill of crossing those invisible lines in person. State lines and international borders. Latitudes and longitudes. They all share a special quality: when you’re standing there in person, you know your exact place in the world.

Some people find those unseen lines to be a disappointment, arriving at a significant geographic point and abruptly realizing that there’s actually nothing to see. Maybe there’s a marker or a sign, but the part of the world on one side looks very much like the part on the other. The joy isn’t in seeing what’s there, but in knowing where “there” is. I picture myself as a tiny pin in a world map, and the oceans and continents spread out around me.

My particular penchant is for geographical extremes. Standing at the tip of the Indian subcontinent, I felt like I was poised at the very edge of the world. Looking down on myself from a global perspective, oceans spread out in three directions, and the entire Asian continent fanned out behind me. For the moment that I stood there, I myself was the tip of this enormous expanse of land!

To stand at the North Pole? That would be to stand on top of the world! Just imagine the whole world extending out from the very spot where you stood. What an incredible experience! To be the tiny pin at the very top of the globe.


Report Abuse Melissa Moore January 19, 2011 | 04:19 AM

Good luck! I'm a bumpie that was lurking on thenest and saw this.

Report Abuse paris applewhite January 07, 2011 | 05:35 PM

my best wishes.

Report Abuse Koray Yildiz January 05, 2011 | 11:47 PM

Good luck!

Report Abuse Kim Pakney January 05, 2011 | 04:17 AM

Good Luck! You can thank Kerry for this otherwise unknown vote!

Report Abuse Achut Bhandarkar January 04, 2011 | 08:58 PM

May the forces be with you.
You will definitely succeed in your mission.

Report Abuse André Philip January 04, 2011 | 12:30 PM

You have my vote, interesting text. =)

Don't forget to vote on me ;)

Report Abuse John Delaney December 29, 2010 | 02:54 PM

You could take Nat with you as he tells me he likes the snow and the cold...........

Report Abuse Michael Suwandi December 17, 2010 | 09:00 PM

You've got my vote. Take lots of pictures when you get there. :)

Report Abuse Gloria Jacob December 13, 2010 | 02:47 PM

Good luck, Meg! You've got my vote! I'm sure you'll make it! Aunty Lolly

Report Abuse arlene alves December 11, 2010 | 10:22 PM

Way to go Meg ! I am sure your gonna win ! Have fun & Merry Xmas ! Regards Arlene

Report Abuse Ingrid Mathias December 11, 2010 | 11:15 AM

Good luck Meg - Nat's mates Downunder

Report Abuse Allison Newbauer Matthews December 10, 2010 | 07:00 AM

Good luck from another nestie!

Report Abuse Racquel Pilon-Zackery December 10, 2010 | 12:35 AM

Good Luck, from another Nestie!

Report Abuse Chasity James December 09, 2010 | 05:08 PM

Saw you on the Nest! I voted for you! Good luck! =]

Report Abuse Terry Casey December 09, 2010 | 03:01 PM

Good luck, Meg. Just voted. Facebook is a pain to deal with, but it's done. Terry in Ohio

Report Abuse Shane Halbach December 09, 2010 | 02:58 AM

There is nobody I'd rather send to the North Pole (I mean that in the nicest possible way of course!)

Report Abuse Amber Reinders December 09, 2010 | 01:09 AM

good luck

Report Abuse Courtney Moser December 08, 2010 | 03:45 PM

I voted for you Meg! (Are they going to let you bring Lucas if you win?!)

Report Abuse Jenn Hronkin December 08, 2010 | 03:41 PM

This is a great essay. Wishing you all the best.

Report Abuse Raveendranathan Chemmannoor December 07, 2010 | 09:27 AM

wish you all the best

Report Abuse Michelle Lobo December 07, 2010 | 02:27 AM

Good Luck Meg. Hope you win and dont forget to send pictures once you get there

Report Abuse Amy Dickman December 06, 2010 | 10:28 PM

Good luck!

Report Abuse David Stancil December 06, 2010 | 08:26 PM

I don't know you and am actually myself in this competition, but your essay is the first I have felt connected with. I can truly appreciate and feel the passion and understanding that you have for the lines of the maps that make up our world and I couldn't be in more agreement. Nice to meet a kindred spirit. Good luck

Report Abuse Jennifer Atkinson December 06, 2010 | 07:30 PM

Good Luck Meg!

Report Abuse Sarah Rosenbaum December 06, 2010 | 07:15 PM

What Norway isn't close enough to Northpole?
Good Luck, Meg

Report Abuse Francine Palmer December 06, 2010 | 06:57 PM

Best of luck.

Report Abuse C M December 06, 2010 | 06:34 PM

Good luck hon!!

Report Abuse Rita Wise December 06, 2010 | 03:53 PM

How many times can one vote?

Report Abuse David Gotshall December 06, 2010 | 03:07 PM

Go Meg Go

Report Abuse Saadia Azelmad December 06, 2010 | 02:27 PM

great emotional entry ,good luck :)

Report Abuse Nirmala D'souza December 06, 2010 | 02:22 PM

Good Luck Meg !!!!. Do you have space in your baggage for me, I am only 5.5' & weigh only a 160 LBS.Just shove me in.

Report Abuse Melaina 25 December 06, 2010 | 11:51 AM

Good luck! You totally deserve to win xoxo

Report Abuse Glenn de Mello December 06, 2010 | 10:03 AM

One more from me, Nat

Report Abuse Michelle Wong December 06, 2010 | 08:39 AM

Your heart is totally in this. Good luck!

Report Abuse Natraj Iyer December 06, 2010 | 03:58 AM

Hey, Good luck, Meg ! Am I allowed just one vote ??? Lol !