No Horizon is So Far
Bancroft is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized educator who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world. Through her various roles as explorer, educator, speaker and philanthropist, Bancroft shares stories related to outdoor adventure to inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams.
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[00:00:06.920]Today you are part
[00:00:08.110]of an important conversation about our shared future.
[00:00:12.020]The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues explores a diversity
[00:00:15.340]of viewpoints on international and public policy issues
[00:00:18.960]to promote understanding and encourage debate
[00:00:21.800]across the University and the State of Nebraska.
[00:00:25.220]since its inception in 1988,
[00:00:28.140]hundreds of distinguished speakers have challenged
[00:00:30.760]and inspired us making these forum one
[00:00:34.690]of the preeminent speakers series in higher education.
[00:00:39.440]It all started when E.N. Jack Thompson imagined a forum
[00:00:44.010]on global issues
[00:00:45.330]that would increase Nebraskans' understanding of cultures
[00:00:48.360]and events from around the world.
[00:00:50.790]Jack's perspective was influenced by his travels,
[00:00:54.180]his role in helping to found the United Nations
[00:00:56.980]and his work
[00:00:57.813]at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
[00:01:02.120]As president of the Cooper Foundation in Lincoln,
[00:01:05.130]Jack pledged substantial funding to the forum
[00:01:08.310]and the University of Nebraska
[00:01:10.110]and Lied Center for Performing Arts agreed to co-sponsor.
[00:01:14.650]Later Jack and his wife, Katie,
[00:01:16.870]created the Thompson Family Fund
[00:01:19.460]to support the forum and other programs.
[00:01:22.610]Today, major support is provided by the Cooper Foundation,
[00:01:27.920]Lied Center for Performing Arts,
[00:01:30.000]and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:01:32.860]We hope this talk sparks an exciting conversation among you.
[00:01:39.500]And now, on with the show.
[00:01:48.100]We would like to thank the Cooper Foundation,
[00:01:50.740]the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:01:53.070]and the Lied Center for Performing Arts
[00:01:54.980]for their ongoing support of this prestigious series.
[00:01:59.460]I would like to take this opportunity
[00:02:01.290]to introduce Dr. Colette Yellow Robe originally
[00:02:05.300]from the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska
[00:02:08.430]and an enrolled member
[00:02:09.980]of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana.
[00:02:13.320]Dr. Yellow Robe holds a PhD from the teaching,
[00:02:17.330]learning, and teacher education department
[00:02:19.740]in the College of Education and Human Sciences
[00:02:22.870]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:02:25.460]Dr. Yellow Robe is an active community member committed
[00:02:29.430]to social justice and alleviating poverty.
[00:02:33.050]Currently, she serves on
[00:02:34.570]the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of People of Color
[00:02:37.730]at UNL and on the Mayor's Multicultural Advisory Committee
[00:02:42.450]for the City of Lincoln.
[00:02:44.270]We are so pleased to have Dr. Yellow Robe
[00:02:47.000]perform a land acknowledgement ceremony
[00:02:49.270]for us this evening before we begin our program.
[00:02:57.598](speaking in foreign language) Thank you, Patrice.
[00:02:59.887](speaking in foreign language)
[00:03:01.120]My name is ceremonial woman and greetings to everyone today.
[00:03:04.890]I'm joining you from Lincoln, Nebraska,
[00:03:07.750]and I would like to acknowledge the ancestral present
[00:03:11.160]and future homelands
[00:03:12.430]of indigenous tribal nations and peoples
[00:03:15.010]upon which the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was founded.
[00:03:19.830]The university spans across several areas.
[00:03:22.410]So I am honored to include our original stewards
[00:03:25.120]of the land, the indigenous tribal nations.
[00:03:28.560]This includes the territorial lands
[00:03:31.580]of the Pawnee, Chancellor's, Oto-Missouria,
[00:03:35.270]Omahan or Omaha, Dakota, Lakota, Arapahoe,
[00:03:40.475]Testas and Sudahae or Cheyenne and Kaw Peoples,
[00:03:44.340]as well as the relocated Ho-chunk or the Winnebago,
[00:03:48.520]the Santee, Santee Dakota, Iowa or Ioway,
[00:03:52.010]and Sac and Fox Peoples.
[00:03:53.972](speaking in foreign language)
[00:04:02.830]Thank you, Dr. Yellow Robe.
[00:04:05.730]In continuation of this season's theme,
[00:04:09.180]Regeneration Leadership and Hope for a Changing Planet,
[00:04:13.460]we're also celebrating the involvement of our students here
[00:04:17.350]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:04:19.890]This year, we have had a terrific group of students
[00:04:23.530]who have done remarkable things related to the forum.
[00:04:27.050]And this year we even had
[00:04:28.960]our first ever E.M. Thompson student panel in February.
[00:04:33.710]I'd like to invite Dulce Garcia and Amy Nishimue,
[00:04:38.160]Nebraska honors students, to present the winners
[00:04:41.050]of this year's Registered Student Organization Competition
[00:04:45.850]held in conjunction with UNL Office of Sustainability.
[00:04:50.120]They will also have the honor
[00:04:52.030]of introducing tonight's guest speaker, Ann Bancroft.
[00:05:00.610]Thank you, Dr. McMahon.
[00:05:01.970]The Forum Sustainability Idea Award recognized
[00:05:04.950]for student organizations on campus
[00:05:07.630]that developed a sustainability idea that aligns
[00:05:10.440]with the selected themes for UNL's sustainability
[00:05:14.020]and resilience master plan.
[00:05:16.090]Our four categories included waste management,
[00:05:18.920]energy, transportation, and COVID and sustainability.
[00:05:23.080]Our winning RSOs mentioned will receive $500
[00:05:27.419]graciously donated by the Arbor Day Foundation
[00:05:30.427]and a University Honors Program.
[00:05:38.540]And as they announced the winners,
[00:05:40.290]I would ask the representatives of the RSO to stand
[00:05:44.160]if they want to for recognition
[00:05:48.660]and I will ask the audience to give him a round
[00:05:51.100]of applause for recognizing their great work
[00:05:54.270]for coming up with these great ideas.
[00:05:58.300]Our winner for the transportation category is Bike UNL
[00:06:03.750]with their plan for a Nice campus bicycle resource station.
[00:06:18.560]And the winner for the energy category is a climate
[00:06:23.660]with their plan titled OAC Solar Array.
[00:06:36.870]Our winner for waste management is UNL student organic farm
[00:06:42.380]with their zero waste master plan.
[00:06:52.900]Lastly, the winning RSO for the sustainability
[00:06:57.280]and COVID-19 category is the Engineers Without Boarders
[00:07:02.650]with their plan to start using metal utensils
[00:07:06.110]for takeout in the dining halls.
[00:07:16.140]Congrats, our winners.
[00:07:17.540]Thank you to our judges, Ryan Fed,
[00:07:19.690]Dr. Christine Haney Douglass, and Prof. Sidra.
[00:07:23.010]A final thank you to the Honors Program,
[00:07:25.030]the Office of Sustainability, and the Arbor Day Foundation.
[00:07:28.920]I would like now to introduce today's
[00:07:30.810]Forum on World Issues speaker, Ann Bancroft.
[00:07:34.400]Ann Bancroft is one
[00:07:35.460]of the world's preeminent polar explorers
[00:07:37.830]and an internationally recognized educator dedicated
[00:07:41.010]to inspiring women and girls around the world.
[00:07:43.770]She was the first woman to reach the North Pole
[00:07:46.120]by sled and on foot and in 1992, she was a leader
[00:07:50.150]of the first team of woman to ski across Greenland.
[00:07:53.790]Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, speaker,
[00:07:57.670]and philanthropist, Bancroft share stories
[00:08:00.220]related to outdoor ventures to inspire a global audience
[00:08:03.430]to pursue their individual dreams.
[00:08:06.740]After the speech, you will have the opportunity
[00:08:08.790]to submit questions via text
[00:08:10.310]and in a message to the number 22333
[00:08:14.250]and then in the subject line, put ENT918,
[00:08:17.800]or you can go online to poleev.com\ent918.
[00:08:25.210]And now, please help me welcome Ann Bancroft to the stage.
[00:08:42.350]This is so wild.
[00:08:44.030]I've been in captivity for over a year
[00:08:47.210]and somebody left the door open.
[00:08:51.964]I'm so thrilled to be here.
[00:08:53.460]I went to like instinctively those two
[00:08:57.420]who've been taking care of me today
[00:09:00.290]and of course, they just walk right by me.
[00:09:01.940]Didn't wanna have anything to do with me.
[00:09:05.710]Thank you for having me.
[00:09:07.470]What a treat this is on so many levels
[00:09:11.258]to see living people sitting in an auditorium
[00:09:17.229]and just to be somewhere else other than my backyard,
[00:09:23.687]but mostly to be within your community
[00:09:26.300]and such a special place to be on campus.
[00:09:30.690]And I've had a very full day
[00:09:31.700]and it's been just really wonderful to be
[00:09:36.470]with students today in the classroom
[00:09:39.710]and on a panel with some of your esteem professors.
[00:09:42.810]And it's such a treat to come into this community.
[00:09:46.480]So thank you for everyone involved
[00:09:49.500]for bringing me here this evening.
[00:09:54.568]What I would like to do is
[00:09:57.540]which will be really interesting for me.
[00:10:00.710]Hopefully, you won't notice, but I'd like to share some
[00:10:03.990]of my stories in relationship to the expeditions.
[00:10:10.520]We're like no other time before I think this pandemic,
[00:10:16.270]it's sort of like the Arctic permafrost,
[00:10:18.780]it's exposing all sorts of things we can imagine,
[00:10:23.290]some good and some not so great.
[00:10:26.580]And it's certainly showed me the connectivity
[00:10:32.090]of so many issues and people
[00:10:34.403]around the world connected to those issues.
[00:10:39.271]So it's been very enlightening
[00:10:41.620]and some of these issues are pretty heavy stuff.
[00:10:45.770]Climate change, for instance,
[00:10:48.110]we've been talking about it for several decades,
[00:10:50.840]but the time clock keeps rolling.
[00:10:55.530]But I have to say that it could be
[00:10:58.980]because I'm an elementary school teacher by trade.
[00:11:02.340]It could be that the expeditions give me this sense
[00:11:07.520]of optimism and hope.
[00:11:09.670]And so this evening, what I would like to do
[00:11:12.900]if I may is share with you some of my journeys
[00:11:16.910]and some of the lessons learned,
[00:11:19.220]and some, I won't even mention,
[00:11:21.290]I'll just let them do the talking for me
[00:11:24.430]and some I'll sort of aluminate.
[00:11:26.140]But I think you'll understand what I'm talking about
[00:11:29.700]when I say that these journeys are really filled with hope.
[00:11:35.560]You can't be an explorer and not feel a sense of possibility
[00:11:40.730]that there's something beyond that horizon
[00:11:43.580]because that's what you're yearning for,
[00:11:45.200]that's what makes you step out
[00:11:47.190]of your comfort zone and have a peak.
[00:11:50.030]And sometimes you're comfortable and sometimes you're not,
[00:11:53.330]sometimes you're on track and sometimes you get very lost.
[00:11:56.380]And so I utilize my stories from my expeditions really
[00:12:03.560]as metaphors for where I spend most of my life.
[00:12:08.540]And that is in the environment you all spend your life in.
[00:12:13.090]And then every once in a while, I'm able to head out
[00:12:16.830]to the hinterland for four months or more.
[00:12:19.720]And so that's what I'd really like to do this evening is
[00:12:22.600]just sort of share some of these stories
[00:12:24.597]and aluminate some of the wonders of this planet
[00:12:28.610]that I have been so privileged to experience
[00:12:32.560]over the last three decades
[00:12:36.510]and how they have couched for me the changes
[00:12:40.760]that I have seen in that time period.
[00:12:45.120]My family teases me because I use my expeditions as
[00:12:49.040]my North Pole expedition, this is when things were like this
[00:12:52.100]and everything is sort of my reference point
[00:12:54.730]around the expeditions that I've taken,
[00:12:58.010]the long ones from very far away.
[00:13:02.840]So I'm gonna sort of take you on a global journey,
[00:13:06.790]if you will, to the top of the world,
[00:13:09.160]to the bottom of the world and maybe points in between.
[00:13:13.241]And they've all taught me so much about myself
[00:13:16.950]and they've all taught me so much about the world
[00:13:20.210]that I feel so lucky to be existing in.
[00:13:24.340]As I said, I'm a former elementary school teacher.
[00:13:27.820]I taught at a K through eight school
[00:13:30.520]in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a city school.
[00:13:34.410]And I really am up until that moment
[00:13:39.451]in 1985 had separated my passions, my passion
[00:13:44.540]for education and my passion for outdoor travel, living
[00:13:48.320]in the wilderness and traveling in the wilderness areas.
[00:13:52.110]And I got an opportunity in 1985 to interview for a place
[00:13:57.050]on a team with aspirations of going to the North Pole.
[00:14:02.300]They wanted to do this trip like the early explorers
[00:14:05.340]that had inspired all of us
[00:14:07.200]when we were young people reading these books.
[00:14:10.040]So we would not take any outside assistance, for instance,
[00:14:15.380]we wanted what we packed in our sleds had to be
[00:14:18.890]what we would have to use the entire time.
[00:14:23.120]And we were gonna go with dog teams.
[00:14:26.220]So traditional means of travel,
[00:14:27.960]no motorized, mechanized travel,
[00:14:30.690]other than getting to the jump off spot.
[00:14:33.970]We were using sort of the old world and the new world
[00:14:37.370]in terms of the technologies of clothing.
[00:14:40.880]So we had sealskin pants and maybe a Gore-Tex jacket.
[00:14:46.340]It was just like this great cultural collision
[00:14:49.960]of two worlds, it was fantastic.
[00:14:53.630]And I interviewed for a place on this team
[00:14:55.930]and lo and behold, I got chosen to be one of the members.
[00:15:02.190]We were eight people, and just to back up for a second,
[00:15:06.350]before I got my opportunity,
[00:15:08.500]it was meant to be a team of six men.
[00:15:11.820]And they started doing their homework about the Arctic
[00:15:14.400]and they realized, boy, these sleds are way too heavy
[00:15:18.020]if we can't ask for any assistance
[00:15:20.540]to come in and resupply us.
[00:15:22.600]So we think we need two more people
[00:15:24.500]to help push and pull these sleds.
[00:15:26.790]And so they opened it up to two more team members
[00:15:31.270]and make it a team of eight.
[00:15:35.075]And then one of the leaders of the trip said,
[00:15:37.477]"You know, it's the 80s, maybe we should have a woman,
[00:15:40.830]it might help with fundraising."
[00:15:43.860]So it's not a pretty way to get in the door,
[00:15:46.300]but I took it anyway.
[00:15:47.830]And so I found myself on a team with seven men
[00:15:53.500]and I never let anyone forget in Minnesota
[00:15:56.740]and 49 male dogs and me, and it would change my life.
[00:16:03.000]My principal gave me a year off as a young teacher,
[00:16:06.430]only four years under my belt,
[00:16:08.340]and off we went to the High Arctic.
[00:16:10.160]What you see in this picture is our very first day.
[00:16:14.020]We leave literally the tip of Canada,
[00:16:17.060]where the mountains spill into the Arctic Ocean.
[00:16:20.000]Of course, at this time of year is early March,
[00:16:23.160]it's absolutely frozen.
[00:16:25.150]The thermometer bottoms out at 75 below zero.
[00:16:28.870]If it was colder, we wouldn't know
[00:16:30.450]about it nor did we want to.
[00:16:32.720]And I will say though, that our hearts were filled
[00:16:36.830]with possibility to what was ahead.
[00:16:39.950]We were so excited.
[00:16:42.460]But what you see in this picture is
[00:16:44.910]actually the sun is coming up over those mountains,
[00:16:47.770]it lasts for about 20 minutes, and in early March,
[00:16:51.300]it goes back down below behind those mountains
[00:16:54.920]and then we're working in darkness.
[00:16:56.820]The other thing that you see in this picture is
[00:16:59.430]not only that quick moment of sunlight,
[00:17:02.070]but there's sort of a fog following us.
[00:17:04.510]We look like Snoopy's character Pig-Pen
[00:17:07.620]and that is the vapor from the dog's breath
[00:17:11.440]and our breath coming off from the hard work
[00:17:14.700]that we're doing of pulling and pushing these sleds
[00:17:17.980]in this frigid environment
[00:17:19.670]and that warmth of our breath just hangs over us
[00:17:24.020]'cause it has nowhere to go
[00:17:25.200]when it hits such cold temperatures.
[00:17:27.410]So we've created our own environmental fog system
[00:17:31.910]in the first couple of weeks of this trip.
[00:17:34.610]It's brutally cold things break,
[00:17:38.170]the Gore-Tex jackets sort of crinkle and crack
[00:17:41.360]and the zippers break.
[00:17:47.024]It's just an formidable environment to sort of live
[00:17:51.350]and sleep and work in, but nonetheless, we do.
[00:17:55.520]And the last thing I'll say about this picture
[00:17:57.290]before I proceed, is that,
[00:17:59.950]again, you're gonna hear me say this.
[00:18:03.382]It's the first day, so we're just so excited.
[00:18:07.570]And after eight hours of pushing behind these dog sleds,
[00:18:12.810]we only make an a mile.
[00:18:15.540]And so we put up our tents that night
[00:18:18.330]and we calculate how far we've gone
[00:18:21.130]and we can't see the mountains anymore
[00:18:22.850]'cause it's totally dark and we're working by headlamp
[00:18:25.290]and we've only gone a mile.
[00:18:27.380]And we realized very, very quickly after that first day
[00:18:31.500]that this was going to be the pace
[00:18:34.250]and that we just must simply accept it.
[00:18:37.570]Nothing was going to be easy, come quickly,
[00:18:41.850]we were just gonna have to do the work
[00:18:43.540]of putting one foot in front of the other.
[00:18:46.590]When the sun is out, though, you work pretty well
[00:18:49.810]and we're pushing away from Canada.
[00:18:52.230]You can see in the background of this picture
[00:18:54.740]still the mountains,
[00:18:55.730]so you can see we haven't gone very far.
[00:18:57.898]This is probably five days out,
[00:19:00.100]but the currents of the ocean buckle the ice up.
[00:19:04.980]So the first month of the trip is really arduous
[00:19:08.320]because there's lots of what we would call mountain ranges
[00:19:13.230]of ice, just rubble ice, just as it crashes up
[00:19:18.220]against the landmass, you get these formations
[00:19:21.570]of all of that pressure leading upwards.
[00:19:24.700]And so there are sometimes 30 feet tall,
[00:19:28.710]sometimes they're 60 80 feet tall, that's the ceiling here.
[00:19:33.020]And so we kinda make a road going through all of this rubble
[00:19:37.860]and then the sleds come through and we don't ride the sled.
[00:19:41.220]It's not like the idea to ride, our sleds are really big.
[00:19:45.080]They're made for ice and not turning very efficiently,
[00:19:49.920]but they can kind of pivot around,
[00:19:52.160]and then there's these 10 dogs, these amazing dogs.
[00:19:55.320]And so the guy in the red pants here is what he's doing is
[00:19:58.710]he's pulling back on the lines that connect the dogs
[00:20:01.290]to the sled and he gives them three commands.
[00:20:05.630]And in the beginning of the trip, it's like hop, hop,
[00:20:08.320]or things like that, later on in the trip,
[00:20:10.320]it's things I can't repeat in a public setting.
[00:20:14.390]But on the third command, he snaps the lines
[00:20:20.470]and all dogs go from two wheel drive, kinda put back
[00:20:23.900]on their haunches to four-wheel-drive,
[00:20:26.670]all people available will get behind that sled and push
[00:20:31.250]and we try and get up over these mountain ranges.
[00:20:33.890]And when the sled gets up on the top crest,
[00:20:37.420]we just get out of the way and the dogs run like crazy
[00:20:40.540]to get out of the way
[00:20:41.720]'cause it's careening down the other side.
[00:20:43.660]And then it gets dark and we started all over again.
[00:20:48.110]And so that's our day, eight hours in the beginning,
[00:20:51.820]then it moves into 10 and then pretty soon it goes into 14
[00:20:55.210]or 15 hours on your feet, just working
[00:21:01.048]to get a few miles under your mukluks as it were.
[00:21:06.270]The Arctic Ocean, if you haven't traveled on it,
[00:21:09.050]it's so exciting because it's
[00:21:12.070]like a dance floor that never stops.
[00:21:15.010]It's moving and shaking, it feels very alive.
[00:21:19.164]This is one of our sleds, they're 1400 pounds a piece.
[00:21:24.250]And on this day, the currents
[00:21:26.380]instead of pulling the ice apart, which they can do,
[00:21:30.180]it's lifting it up.
[00:21:31.380]So these two platelets about the size
[00:21:33.930]of Iowa corn fields are coming together
[00:21:37.240]and you don't see any people in this picture
[00:21:39.300]'cause we ran, but fortunately it stopped
[00:21:42.900]and the sled only looked like this
[00:21:45.290]and then we came back and pushed it out and kept going.
[00:21:48.530]But the surface is constantly changing.
[00:21:51.210]So any strategy you had for moving forward that day,
[00:21:54.950]typically was out the window before lunchtime
[00:21:58.720]because mother nature is calling the shots
[00:22:02.940]and you're working on a surface
[00:22:06.800]that has forces well beyond your control.
[00:22:10.840]It's just the enormity of the pressure
[00:22:13.250]and the power is extraordinary.
[00:22:15.810]It makes for selecting your campsite
[00:22:18.330]at night really important.
[00:22:21.950]So this is taken from an aircraft
[00:22:23.730]and this is the opposite of what you've been seeing.
[00:22:26.400]This is where the currents
[00:22:28.520]and the wind pull these enormous platelets of ancient ice,
[00:22:33.070]very, very thick ice apart
[00:22:35.760]and you get what is called a lead, it's open water.
[00:22:39.260]So the very dark center there is the open water,
[00:22:42.580]the gray area around that is ice that's trying to freeze,
[00:22:47.220]and then the white ice is the ice we are trying
[00:22:50.070]to travel on, a little bit more stable.
[00:22:52.600]The gray ice is like walking on a water bed.
[00:22:56.570]Because of the salinity of the ocean,
[00:22:59.530]you can actually walk on it if you keep moving.
[00:23:02.220]You want to just sort of shuffle about,
[00:23:04.220]you don't wanna take big steps, big pronounced movements,
[00:23:07.630]but you can move on it and you won't break through.
[00:23:11.110]It's very different than fresh water ice.
[00:23:13.400]If this was a river here, we'd be in the drink, no problem.
[00:23:17.760]So you start to learn about the environment,
[00:23:23.150]some of it you know before you go, but I have to be honest
[00:23:27.050]and say there's a lot of learning by doing
[00:23:29.860]in the process as well.
[00:23:32.290]And then of course you call on skills
[00:23:34.450]that you didn't know you had
[00:23:36.230]or that you thought maybe you'd never use again.
[00:23:38.600]I did do the long jump in high school
[00:23:42.070]as someone who's five, four, and kind of stubby,
[00:23:46.070]that wasn't my shining moment at high school track.
[00:23:50.750]So when the leads are something that you can jump over,
[00:23:54.890]we would do it because we want it to keep on going
[00:23:58.030]and make as many miles possible in a day
[00:24:01.130]and we don't wanna wait until this is gonna freeze over
[00:24:03.879]or be pushed back together
[00:24:06.250]'cause we have no idea when that is.
[00:24:08.775]So if you look closely, you'll see one of my team members
[00:24:11.840]for rough in the side of the picture here.
[00:24:13.900]He's ready to pull me out of the drink if I don't make it.
[00:24:17.390]I took several runs at it and aborted
[00:24:20.190]and then finally went for it.
[00:24:22.880]The beauty of this is that you do it one day
[00:24:25.500]and you feel really good and then you hit another lead
[00:24:28.120]on another day or maybe it's in the same day
[00:24:30.820]and it's just different.
[00:24:32.520]It's either too risky or you've got to find something else.
[00:24:36.660]So you're constantly innovating about
[00:24:39.100]how to get over challenges, which makes it very exciting.
[00:24:43.680]I have to say with excitement in the Arctic,
[00:24:46.230]it means your blood is moving,
[00:24:47.960]so then you're actually warmer.
[00:24:50.130]So there's some advantages.
[00:24:52.430]We found ourselves at the top of the world after 57 days.
[00:24:57.754]And a lot of days I have to say
[00:24:59.270]of not really believing we could do it.
[00:25:02.965]Me being the only woman on the trip was kind of interesting
[00:25:06.580]in training and on the trip, we're isolated.
[00:25:09.860]In 1986, when this trip happened March to May,
[00:25:15.350]there is not the technology that we're so familiar with
[00:25:18.610]and take for granted today.
[00:25:22.980]We did have a GPS system, for instance,
[00:25:26.440]to find out that we were at 90 degree North
[00:25:29.000]to hold up our flags.
[00:25:30.560]By the way, there is no pole,
[00:25:31.890]so you've gotta hold the flags.
[00:25:33.260]It's really a jet, nobody told you that
[00:25:35.678]before you left for home.
[00:25:39.660]So we have a radio that barely works
[00:25:42.930]or barely gets to anyone, we boil the diesel batteries
[00:25:46.340]in the water that's boiling for pasta for dinner.
[00:25:50.450]So we're not really communicating,
[00:25:52.980]we're in the middle of nowhere.
[00:25:54.700]So in those days it was a wonderful way
[00:25:59.060]to hark back to those early explorers
[00:26:01.430]that did it inspire us when we were young people
[00:26:05.670]because we were just out there and our families
[00:26:09.010]and friends really couldn't track us the way they do today.
[00:26:13.260]You also see that there's only six of us.
[00:26:15.860]Two of our team members did have to go out, fly out.
[00:26:20.120]So we did have some modern technologies that we employed.
[00:26:23.960]They couldn't tell us what was ahead
[00:26:25.820]or they couldn't bring us anything new,
[00:26:28.310]but they could take out dogs that were no longer needed.
[00:26:31.260]And of course, injured team members.
[00:26:33.760]So unfortunately, we rejoiced at the top of the world
[00:26:38.630]with only part of our team intact.
[00:26:41.050]The other two came back safely.
[00:26:42.760]They're great, we're still friends to this day, but
[00:26:48.230]they didn't end up at the geographical North Pole,
[00:26:52.060]sort of the goal of this trip.
[00:26:54.780]For me, it changed everything.
[00:26:57.390]My world was just absolutely rocked.
[00:26:59.840]I was totally unprepared for this moment in my life.
[00:27:04.520]I was a 30 year old elementary teacher.
[00:27:08.060]I thought I would go back, we'd get home in May
[00:27:11.090]and I would be back in the classroom mid August,
[00:27:13.390]getting ready for my students at the beginning of fall.
[00:27:17.480]And there was something that this trip captivated people
[00:27:22.870]for some reason, not just in Minnesota,
[00:27:25.760]but we've got two Canadians on this trip
[00:27:28.050]and it became a global thing, partly maybe
[00:27:31.370]because of National Geographic.
[00:27:33.260]But it just took hold.
[00:27:35.640]There was something about the human spirit persevering.
[00:27:38.650]I'm not exactly sure and then
[00:27:41.310]to have this five, four little squat woman be able
[00:27:46.360]to sort of break through and write women
[00:27:48.390]into polar history was another layer.
[00:27:52.070]And so I was just having a hard time sort of adjusting back
[00:27:58.020]into life harder than normally.
[00:28:00.890]And so I didn't go back into the classroom.
[00:28:03.840]I wasn't quite ready, but I went back to visit
[00:28:07.780]because school was still in session and I had my,
[00:28:10.600]what I call my epiphany,
[00:28:12.730]and my whole school community had taken on this trip
[00:28:16.960]by little glints of the trip in the local media
[00:28:22.080]and the creativity of educators taking an idea of sort of,
[00:28:28.764]it was the same year of the space shuttle.
[00:28:31.120]So I think there was some of that.
[00:28:33.020]An educator and a teacher and a woman on a grand adventure.
[00:28:36.920]And of course, their trip went so wrong,
[00:28:39.880]but we were intrigued by this
[00:28:42.550]and bringing these outward experiences
[00:28:45.110]into school communities was becoming a new thing.
[00:28:50.350]And so we were riding this a bit.
[00:28:53.010]And so I was able to walk through the walls of the halls
[00:28:57.090]of my school and see art and hear music and poetry.
[00:29:02.530]The kids demonstrated how they were writing about this
[00:29:07.420]in journalistic ways to report
[00:29:09.500]to their local neighborhood newspapers
[00:29:11.810]or writing in you at kids up in the Arctic as pen pals.
[00:29:16.910]Our math became our mileage or our lack of mileage.
[00:29:21.920]They started to understand the currents of the ocean
[00:29:24.860]that would push us 10 miles North as we would work,
[00:29:28.930]pushing and pulling our sleds,
[00:29:30.460]but as we slept sometimes would take us 10 miles South
[00:29:35.500]and make the day a zero gain day.
[00:29:39.581]And so they followed this
[00:29:41.860]and the teachers incorporated this.
[00:29:43.800]And I realized I could be a teacher outside
[00:29:47.140]of the four walls of the classroom and I could be a part
[00:29:51.490]of other subject matters that weren't my specialty.
[00:29:55.812]And so I promised myself at the end of this day
[00:30:00.030]and incidentally I'm hauling around this retired Husky
[00:30:02.730]who stunk like crazy,
[00:30:03.990]but everybody thought he was beautiful.
[00:30:06.260]He had a one half an ear, a blue eye, a Brown eye
[00:30:09.380]and his scars all over the place
[00:30:10.970]and he had been on the trip.
[00:30:12.350]So he's retiring and I'm just getting going.
[00:30:15.210]And we were palling around, but I promised myself that
[00:30:18.790]if I did any other large expeditions, public expeditions,
[00:30:23.160]that I would somehow need to find a platform
[00:30:27.130]to make them bigger than my own personal ambition.
[00:30:31.010]But don't get me wrong, personal ambition is important
[00:30:33.610]because it's what motivates you to wanna go.
[00:30:35.950]I love what I do, whether it's hard or whether it's not.
[00:30:40.133]I choose to do these trips and they're born out of things
[00:30:46.010]from way back when I was just a ten-year-old in some cases.
[00:30:50.210]But I needed something, I don't know if it was the educator
[00:30:53.710]in me or not, to something that was bigger than me.
[00:30:57.040]And it was perhaps a little bit about suddenly realizing
[00:31:01.030]I'm standing on a platform as the first and only woman
[00:31:04.600]to the top of the world
[00:31:06.610]that I had sort of a larger megaphone
[00:31:10.330]than I did with 30 kids.
[00:31:12.340]And what was I going to do with it?
[00:31:14.350]What could I do with it?
[00:31:17.100]And so I thought, well, if ever I do another trip,
[00:31:19.950]I'm gonna take kids with me through curriculum
[00:31:23.090]'cause I can't load them up on my sled,
[00:31:25.160]and that's what you see in this picture.
[00:31:26.900]The kids in the picture and my team is in the picture,
[00:31:29.850]by the way, but we just blend right in.
[00:31:31.207]And these are fifth graders
[00:31:33.230]and they're called the Tuxedo Penguins.
[00:31:35.910]And they knew probably more about Antarctica,
[00:31:38.440]which was my next expedition, than I think we did
[00:31:42.444]because they researched it
[00:31:44.060]and then they would give these presentations
[00:31:46.210]to their peers around the city.
[00:31:49.300]And they were working on presentation skills is
[00:31:52.090]what the teacher had in mind,
[00:31:53.730]but they used us as a subject matter.
[00:31:58.170]So this is the night before.
[00:31:59.960]I am about to lead three other women
[00:32:02.033]to the bottom of the world
[00:32:04.210]and they're sending us off in grand style.
[00:32:08.180]And I love this picture partly because we blend right in
[00:32:12.890]as short women, but they signify the 350,000 kids
[00:32:18.020]that would travel with us in the United States.
[00:32:21.330]And again, this is all before the internet.
[00:32:24.450]So we're doing this by passing our curriculum
[00:32:28.220]from one teacher to another, one parent to another.
[00:32:31.220]So 350,000 seemed like I had hit the moon in that regard
[00:32:37.320]and I would find out later as technology changed
[00:32:40.310]that the classroom was only going
[00:32:43.070]to grow further and further.
[00:32:45.420]Our goal was to go across Antarctica.
[00:32:47.680]This was a dream I've had since I was a 10 year old girl.
[00:32:50.800]I opened up a book
[00:32:52.510]on my parents' shelf called "The Endurance",
[00:32:54.940]Ernest Shackleton's "Ill-Fated Expedition".
[00:32:57.730]He wanted to send his team across Antarctica,
[00:33:01.460]the ship froze in the ice, if you don't know the story,
[00:33:03.860]it's a great read whether you care
[00:33:05.420]about polar history or not.
[00:33:07.446]The ship was frozen in the ice, it's sunk,
[00:33:10.140]and their expedition was not about Antarctica was
[00:33:14.170]about survival and getting home
[00:33:17.130]and it captivated me as a young girl
[00:33:20.150]and I it's been followed me ever since
[00:33:23.610]and it's the reason I went down to Antarctica.
[00:33:28.000]But because of the North Pole trip
[00:33:30.187]and this only woman thing, I wanted to push women further
[00:33:33.747]into the history books in the outdoor arena,
[00:33:38.430]which was still very, very male dominated.
[00:33:42.056]I hadn't really thought about it before,
[00:33:44.060]but I'd always traveled with predominantly men in my teams
[00:33:48.820]and that was just fine.
[00:33:50.730]But now I had a new mission and I wanted to make sure
[00:33:55.350]that the young boys and girls
[00:33:57.500]that I was interfacing with grew up believing that women can
[00:34:03.030]and should do anything that their heart desires.
[00:34:06.050]And it's not about physical size, the North Pole would show
[00:34:10.980]that for sure, it was all about working together.
[00:34:14.730]These outdoor trips are all about teamwork.
[00:34:18.275]There's just no way around it, including the dogs
[00:34:21.660]by the way, if the dog sit down, nothing happens.
[00:34:25.630]Those sleds don't go anywhere.
[00:34:27.790]On this trip, we would be pulling our own sleds
[00:34:30.590]because dogs are no longer allowed on Antarctica
[00:34:33.760]and we go from sea level up to almost 14,000 feet
[00:34:38.140]where the pole sits and the hope was then to come back down
[00:34:41.560]on the other side of Antarctica and finish
[00:34:45.670]on the other ocean on the other side,
[00:34:47.420]on the New Zealand side.
[00:34:49.400]And that was my architecture, my dream, and so we set off.
[00:34:55.360]Four women and we were pulling these sleds uphill
[00:34:59.310]and you can see in this picture,
[00:35:01.800]it's one of the few pictures where you actually feel
[00:35:05.070]like Antarctica has some undulating topography
[00:35:09.140]because in that white world
[00:35:11.370]and it's so enormous you lose a sense of perspective.
[00:35:16.940]And even for us there as we would ski,
[00:35:20.430]it was very hard to know if we were going uphill, downhill,
[00:35:23.370]or whatever until it got really, really steep,
[00:35:25.730]which it did on occasion.
[00:35:27.500]But if you look behind these three women,
[00:35:29.790]you see the different horizons, that's the undulation.
[00:35:34.520]Antarctica as the size of the United States
[00:35:36.700]and Mexico combined, and so it's a big piece of real estate
[00:35:40.780]and there's nothing except ice and wind.
[00:35:44.860]The penguins are all on the coast by the way.
[00:35:46.790]So just a little travel tip, stay by the oceans.
[00:35:52.260]We have lots of ups and downs.
[00:35:53.840]It's a hard, hard trip.
[00:35:55.260]We've got a team member who gets sick.
[00:35:57.290]I won't go into the whole, it's a whole nother lecture,
[00:36:00.680]but we persevere, we keep ongoing, we hang together.
[00:36:08.190]We have our disagreements and then we come back
[00:36:12.090]and we go through Thanksgiving and Christmas
[00:36:14.600]because the Southern hemisphere, you start this trip
[00:36:17.940]in a totally different season.
[00:36:19.540]It's November through February is the summer on Antarctica.
[00:36:23.740]So you're in 24 hours of sunlight, it's glorious,
[00:36:26.610]and it's only 40 below.
[00:36:28.540]So it's like the best winter camping around
[00:36:33.000]and nobody knows it.
[00:36:34.660]And you're on this two mile base of old age ice
[00:36:39.410]and it's gorgeous.
[00:36:42.890]So we have this epic trip.
[00:36:45.020]We find ourselves at the South Pole.
[00:36:47.501]It's a huge achievement.
[00:36:50.580]But what I realized at that moment very quickly is that
[00:36:57.250]if I wanna keep going and go to the other half
[00:37:00.210]of Antarctica, I've got some big things to consider
[00:37:03.810]and that is primarily that mother nature has a
[00:37:07.590]very finite season on Antarctica.
[00:37:10.470]It's kinda black and white in literal terms.
[00:37:15.130]They don't have spring and fall
[00:37:18.360]quite the way we're accustomed to it.
[00:37:20.560]So it kind of is you're either there
[00:37:23.200]or you're staying there if you're still there.
[00:37:25.520]So we've got to get to the other side by early February
[00:37:31.220]or there's no way off, all the traffic stops the aircraft,
[00:37:35.360]the ships, it kind of goes into the deep freeze.
[00:37:39.390]And I realized as we're standing here or January 14th
[00:37:44.940]of now, 1993,
[00:37:48.580]we started in 92
[00:37:50.470]'cause you go through that, you cross that Meridian.
[00:37:56.140]The math is not coming out
[00:37:57.630]that we've really got enough time knowing what our pace is.
[00:38:01.290]And at that moment I was thinking
[00:38:03.360]if I could send two team members
[00:38:05.540]that were sort of struggling back
[00:38:07.020]and go on with two, could I do it?
[00:38:09.540]And of course, when you've worked for years to get there
[00:38:13.420]and it's prohibitively expensive,
[00:38:16.440]you think, "I'll never get another shot at it."
[00:38:19.990]Your ambition starts
[00:38:21.460]to override your sense of sense and reason.
[00:38:27.660]So I took a little walk about three minutes out,
[00:38:30.440]had a good cry, and came back and I decided
[00:38:33.357]to turn my team around and we would go out together,
[00:38:36.430]that we would stay triumphant as the first women
[00:38:40.968]to ski to the South Pole, not fly there
[00:38:45.277]and sort of finish on a high note and not jeopardize it
[00:38:49.880]by taking a stab for my own ego
[00:38:53.640]and going on with one other team member
[00:38:55.660]and maybe or maybe not making it.
[00:38:58.350]There would be nothing worse in the media
[00:39:00.470]than us getting close to the end and then a plane coming in
[00:39:04.740]'cause they would call it a rescue.
[00:39:06.810]And it would sort of erode everything that we had done
[00:39:11.270]on behalf of women, I think.
[00:39:13.280]So we decided to come on out and come together, I think.
[00:39:16.840]And so we came home and probably, I think to this day,
[00:39:22.190]one of the hardest decisions of my life.
[00:39:24.630]Because in the out of doors, if you've got enough fuel
[00:39:30.330]and enough food, and good weather, you keep moving.
[00:39:35.090]But to turn around for something sort of bigger
[00:39:38.030]and more esoteric, sort of something that's hard
[00:39:41.630]to get a handle on, I had never done before.
[00:39:46.070]Something that made me think about the 350,000 students
[00:39:50.650]that were coming with us and I thought to myself
[00:39:54.990]in my little three-minute walk,
[00:39:57.394]what am I really teaching them
[00:40:01.150]if I'm to go on for my own personal benefit?
[00:40:04.920]And so I at that moment began to realize that my students,
[00:40:11.570]whomever they are, whether I've met them or not,
[00:40:14.260]who follow these trips are part of the team.
[00:40:17.330]They help make these, what I would call moral decisions.
[00:40:22.200]And so we came home after we snapped this picture,
[00:40:26.020]a bit painfully and fortunately,
[00:40:29.900]our communities embraced the decision.
[00:40:34.709]And so it ended up being a far better decision
[00:40:37.560]than I could ever have dreamed,
[00:40:38.960]but it nonetheless remained very painful.
[00:40:44.260]I scribbled a plan in the back of my journal that day
[00:40:48.110]about if I ever had another chance to come back
[00:40:51.730]and try for the traverse, which is, was the ultimate goal
[00:40:55.710]to go all the way across the continent,
[00:40:58.010]what would it look like?
[00:40:59.060]And I scribbled a plan for just two people to go fast
[00:41:03.100]and furious and the other thing.
[00:41:06.500]And after seven years of digging myself out
[00:41:09.340]of financial debt from this trip, I wrote a letter
[00:41:13.660]to the woman in this red hat who lives in Norway
[00:41:17.390]and I invited her to join me as I geared up
[00:41:21.120]to try and do the traverse once again.
[00:41:24.030]And we had met virtually before the virtual Zoom world,
[00:41:28.970]we had met through the media, Liv is her name,
[00:41:33.110]and she went to the South Pole the year after us
[00:41:36.680]and she went all by herself.
[00:41:38.190]And so we heard about each other.
[00:41:40.130]One, there was just a handful of women
[00:41:41.820]that were doing this kind of thing,
[00:41:43.677]and two, she was going by herself.
[00:41:45.850]So she got my notice, and I thought
[00:41:48.538]if I'm gonna bring my team down to just two,
[00:41:53.030]there's a lot more risk involved,
[00:41:56.410]that's who I wanna travel with, without meeting her.
[00:41:59.790]And so I invited her over to Minnesota
[00:42:01.990]and she wasn't that enthusiastic about,
[00:42:06.210]I must say, about traveling with me.
[00:42:08.490]She said, "I'm not sure about you chatty Americans,"
[00:42:12.957]but I think what really grabbed her, well, I know,
[00:42:17.000]what really grabbed her was the education.
[00:42:19.320]At this point, we've now got computers and GPSs,
[00:42:24.180]we've got the technology,
[00:42:27.013]and so we know we're gonna have 3 million children follow us
[00:42:31.240]through our new curriculum
[00:42:33.360]and that was what really sealed the deal.
[00:42:37.350]She wasn't thinking about going back to Antarctica.
[00:42:39.750]She had such a wonderful trip and I re we started to talk
[00:42:45.170]and we realized we had so much in common.
[00:42:47.610]She's a high school teacher and having gone
[00:42:51.940]to the South Pole all by herself, the first woman to do so,
[00:42:56.070]she was feeling that same platform that I felt in 86.
[00:43:00.680]And that sense of responsibility of wanting to do something
[00:43:04.573]with that new platform and this fit the bill for her
[00:43:09.483]that we were gonna be having this curriculum
[00:43:11.800]and take so many kids around the world with us.
[00:43:14.960]This is Liv Norway.
[00:43:16.540]We again, had so many things in common.
[00:43:18.840]She's dreaming about far away places as a little girl,
[00:43:21.890]were oceans away from each other, two years apart,
[00:43:25.370]but we're reading the same books.
[00:43:27.340]The same books are on our parents' bookshelves.
[00:43:31.410]We're both kind of introverted weird kids
[00:43:34.960]that just have no problem being alone for a long time.
[00:43:38.940]And she comes from a snowy country
[00:43:41.560]and I come from a snowy state.
[00:43:43.430]So we just had so much.
[00:43:47.019]We were like sisters and she call us sister souls.
[00:43:50.610]And we were fast friends and we realized
[00:43:54.310]that we were also philosophically sort of grounded together.
[00:43:59.390]And when you think about that, it's nice
[00:44:02.640]to like the other person that you're gonna travel with
[00:44:04.880]for four months or more,
[00:44:06.780]but what's really gonna make a successful trip
[00:44:09.500]and get you through the thick and thin is if you're really
[00:44:12.640]on the same plane about what it is you're trying to do.
[00:44:16.720]And many of my expeditions with education involved in it,
[00:44:22.070]my other team members weren't necessarily other educators.
[00:44:24.970]So they liked the kids, but that wasn't their mission
[00:44:28.760]and many of them just wanted to go.
[00:44:30.780]And when I met Liv it was this absolute alignment
[00:44:35.580]that I knew we would never falter from our mission.
[00:44:42.020]Getting ready for Antarctica is a little bit different
[00:44:44.490]because you're going to the Southern hemisphere.
[00:44:46.340]So the last few months of training at home have no snow
[00:44:51.150]in our places of residence, so we get creative.
[00:44:57.610]We're dragging tires around for four hours
[00:45:00.340]up and down hillsides and on gravel roads.
[00:45:03.380]This is my farm in Minnesota and one of my Huskies.
[00:45:08.050]We're really slow, so it mimics the sled
[00:45:10.880]that is so heavy and it's mentally a great exercise
[00:45:15.090]'cause it's also very boring.
[00:45:16.560]So you have to go into your head and keep motivated and
[00:45:20.610]when the rubber hits the road, so to speak, it's very loud.
[00:45:24.090]So it's very nice work.
[00:45:26.790]It's just really weird.
[00:45:28.180]And the dogs are like, "Hurry it up, girls, get it going."
[00:45:32.390]But it's great training, it works everything,
[00:45:34.490]including your cheek muscles.
[00:45:35.890]I mean, these cheeks, by the way, the facial cheeks
[00:45:39.270]because you're just straining against the friction.
[00:45:42.960]It's not the weight of the tires.
[00:45:44.680]Although you can see, I gave Liv the tractor tire
[00:45:47.220]and I do the three little, like a Prius or something,
[00:45:52.540]a little car tires 'cause she's so much stronger,
[00:45:56.920]but it's the friction of the rubber against either,
[00:46:01.530]the grass actually is the worst
[00:46:04.580]that makes it so hard to pull.
[00:46:06.750]It's not the weight so much, but so it's great training.
[00:46:10.910]Antarctica, I didn't put in a map,
[00:46:13.670]but Antarctica is this huge continent.
[00:46:15.700]And the next time you look at it, you'll see South America,
[00:46:20.580]you'll see Africa, and you'll see New Zealand and Australia.
[00:46:24.040]So it's so large that it's got these other countries
[00:46:28.780]and continents associated with it.
[00:46:31.796]In 92, 93, we went from the tip of Chile
[00:46:35.790]Punta Arenas, Chile, and jumped to the continent.
[00:46:39.060]On this trip, we got a little grandiose.
[00:46:41.050]We thought, well, let's not just cross the continent,
[00:46:44.310]let's do it the long way.
[00:46:45.610]So we went to Africa
[00:46:48.040]and we were gonna go from the tip of Africa over
[00:46:52.630]to Antarctica and then we would head, all things relative,
[00:46:57.000]of course, 'cause everything is North, but we would head
[00:46:59.840]towards the South Pole and then keep on going
[00:47:03.117]and end the New Zealand Australian side, if that helps you.
[00:47:08.440]We get to South Africa, we're in Cape Town,
[00:47:12.200]mother nature in Antarctica is not being very nice
[00:47:16.790]and inviting and so we can't fly to the edge of Antarctica.
[00:47:21.070]The storms are raging, winter still in process,
[00:47:24.830]and so we wait in Cape Town and we go to the townships,
[00:47:27.810]we go to schools, here we're showing the kids
[00:47:31.290]some of our training trips.
[00:47:32.500]So they're looking at snow and pulling the sled
[00:47:34.900]and they think we're out of our minds.
[00:47:37.090]But if you look on a map or on a globe,
[00:47:39.360]you'll see how close Cape Town is actually
[00:47:43.630]to the continent of Antarctica.
[00:47:45.640]It's just a skip, hop, and a jump.
[00:47:48.260]And they even have penguins in Cape Town.
[00:47:50.330]I think where I first saw them.
[00:47:51.900]They're sand penguins, but nonetheless,
[00:47:53.560]they still waddle and they're adorable.
[00:47:55.690]So we stay here for three weeks
[00:47:57.710]before we get our opportunity to go and we are edgy
[00:48:01.550]and I'm particularly uptight
[00:48:04.360]because I'm starting to feel like 1993
[00:48:09.070]and I'm watching the time squeeze on that opportunity.
[00:48:14.670]You have a hundred days to get across Antarctica
[00:48:17.870]and then it shuts down again and people leave,
[00:48:21.800]airplanes don't come back, and boats don't sail,
[00:48:25.230]and it gets dark, and you've got to build an ice cave
[00:48:27.820]and hang out for six months
[00:48:29.780]until somebody comes and find you.
[00:48:32.090]So not a high motivation to get across.
[00:48:37.300]We're enjoying Africa,
[00:48:38.410]but we're very nervous about moving along.
[00:48:41.780]And we finally get our opportunity.
[00:48:48.690]We hop on this enormous plane and it's just us,
[00:48:53.950]our two sleds with all of our gear,
[00:48:57.400]and then the rest of the belly of the plane is filled
[00:48:59.960]with 55 gallon drums of fuel so that it can gas itself
[00:49:04.930]up one drum at a time and then return to Africa
[00:49:10.108]because these guys don't want to stay here.
[00:49:13.460]They were in a big hurry.
[00:49:15.520]When I take my credit card out of my pocket
[00:49:18.180]and scraped the frost off the window and see this mountain,
[00:49:21.970]it is at that moment I believe
[00:49:24.800]that my dream can finally come true
[00:49:27.340]that I'm returning to Antarctica to try
[00:49:31.110]and fulfill this ten-year-old girl's dream
[00:49:34.140]of crossing the continent.
[00:49:35.850]I don't know what the end result will be,
[00:49:37.510]but I'm at least here and after so many years
[00:49:41.500]and certainly four years of planning
[00:49:43.060]and preparing for this specific trip,
[00:49:47.730]anything could go wrong.
[00:49:49.930]So we land this giant plane lands.
[00:49:53.594]There's no pavement here, there's no airport,
[00:49:55.930]it just lands on what they call blue one.
[00:49:58.840]It's just a strip of ice
[00:50:00.430]that the wind has kept a surface snow off of.
[00:50:04.530]And it's a bumpy, scary landing.
[00:50:07.020]The plane never turns its engines off.
[00:50:09.180]They refuel while the plane is, I don't know,
[00:50:12.950]if you've ever heard a plane idle, but it's pretty loud.
[00:50:15.660]And we pack up our sleds.
[00:50:18.263]They're 167 pounds each.
[00:50:21.980]And there's that mountain that you saw,
[00:50:24.610]it's called the Wolf's Tooth.
[00:50:27.190]It looks like we're going to get there for dinner,
[00:50:29.040]but it's gonna take days
[00:50:30.550]because this place is so enormous,
[00:50:32.330]it eats up the sense of distance in such a grand way.
[00:50:37.910]But these guys that we had 15 Russian guys on this plane
[00:50:41.190]and by the way, they were all smoking
[00:50:44.060]like crazy around this fuel.
[00:50:45.810]I thought, if this is where we go, we go here.
[00:50:50.210]And all of a sudden the back door goes up
[00:50:53.820]and we look up and the engines are kicking up
[00:50:56.477]and the snow is starting to fly.
[00:50:58.688]Normally Russians are like kiss, kiss on either cheek,
[00:51:02.260]bye bye, and give you a little vodka, not here.
[00:51:05.570]These guys, hydraulics
[00:51:08.040]and things do not work well in these environments.
[00:51:11.280]And once something goes sour, you have to bring
[00:51:15.210]in another plane with a million parts and it takes weeks.
[00:51:18.500]And weather is such a factor,
[00:51:20.050]it took us three weeks just waiting in Cape Town.
[00:51:22.470]So they are gone and there is no formality.
[00:51:26.280]And we are suddenly two women
[00:51:30.540]supposedly happy to be starting our dream,
[00:51:33.270]but we're there's a little churning
[00:51:35.060]in the pit of your stomach.
[00:51:36.420]And off we go and we're heading towards that Wolf's Tooth.
[00:51:41.120]We're going to go up through the glacier that runs
[00:51:43.940]through those mountains and then into the interior
[00:51:46.390]of Antarctica, much like that first trip
[00:51:50.830]where nothing exists and then back down, that's the plan.
[00:51:55.070]You've got the game plan now.
[00:51:57.650]The wind is blowing just as it should.
[00:51:59.680]Antarctica is the windiest continent on the globe.
[00:52:02.130]And so when the wind blows,
[00:52:04.630]I'm actually smiling behind that face mask,
[00:52:07.080]and I had been in training for the pandemic
[00:52:11.180]for a very long time, but you've got to pay attention
[00:52:15.410]to the wind because it can do a lot of damage too.
[00:52:19.210]This is Liv, it's taken off for mitten
[00:52:22.800]and worked on something piece of equipment,
[00:52:25.120]and of course, when she put her mitten back on,
[00:52:27.760]she realized very quickly something
[00:52:30.920]that we've all probably felt when we were kids,
[00:52:33.380]especially skating or something like that.
[00:52:35.260]You know that when the blood warms up
[00:52:37.200]and goes back into those extremities,
[00:52:39.370]it can bring a tear to your eye, but then it's okay.
[00:52:42.010]It's not frostbite or anything.
[00:52:43.420]But Norwegians don't like this look publicly.
[00:52:47.720]But you have to pay attention
[00:52:49.110]because things can happen very subtly.
[00:52:52.860]So you're in all of this wind,
[00:52:55.360]all you hear is the fabric of your Gore-Tex shell
[00:53:00.760]and you're in a face mask, you're in behind goggles
[00:53:03.820]and all of this attire, and you've got your head down
[00:53:06.447]and you're just trying to push and pull the sleds
[00:53:09.820]that don't seem to be moving very well.
[00:53:12.600]And is if that wind is picking up, you wanna be aware
[00:53:16.880]because it can get to a point when there's just two of you
[00:53:20.480]that there may be a sort of a point of no return.
[00:53:24.300]So to get the tent up this night
[00:53:26.430]we had to crawl on our hands and knees together
[00:53:30.410]from corner to corner, not just one on a corner
[00:53:33.320]and another person on another corner.
[00:53:35.710]We only have one tent ad if in our tired, cold fingered way,
[00:53:41.670]we lose track of it, it's gone
[00:53:45.390]and we've got to move into plan B.
[00:53:47.780]So we weren't paying attention.
[00:53:50.060]And so what you see here is Liv nailing our sleds
[00:53:55.187]and our tent to the ice.
[00:53:57.710]Our tent steaks are about as tall as this podium
[00:54:00.720]and we drive them in so that whenever this storm abates,
[00:54:05.380]we can find things again and it's not
[00:54:08.620]in Africa or someplace or in Chile blown away.
[00:54:12.490]There's nothing to really stop things
[00:54:14.660]and it all happens very quickly.
[00:54:17.620]Once you're inside, it's fantastic.
[00:54:20.150]You're all smiles, you get into your little hot dog bun
[00:54:23.430]as I call it and you feel warm and cozy.
[00:54:27.410]It's just like a day out, sliding in the snow as kids.
[00:54:31.940]But it's amazing to me that the nylon tent is kind of
[00:54:35.620]like the same tent that we would use here is our home
[00:54:39.740]for the next 100 days.
[00:54:41.447]And it does pretty well for the most part.
[00:54:45.040]But we only have one, so we got to take care of it.
[00:54:48.910]Our plan this time, unlike before, was
[00:54:54.360]when we could,
[00:54:55.630]to harness up that great natural resource, the wind.
[00:54:59.520]And so this is what sailing looks like
[00:55:02.840]on skis with a sled bouncing behind you.
[00:55:06.120]Now, of course, the winds don't come in predictable way.
[00:55:09.190]So we have to monitor the way in which we do it
[00:55:12.450]and the speed can tell you 30 miles an hour is too fast,
[00:55:18.250]just to let you know.
[00:55:19.840]Again, learn by doing
[00:55:23.340]and never do again.
[00:55:25.820]So we don't need a lot of wind to go pretty quickly,
[00:55:29.490]but what it can do is increase our mileage.
[00:55:32.160]We're not going to get across the continent
[00:55:34.400]just by pulling a sled going about a mile per hour.
[00:55:37.910]We're gonna need help from mother nature.
[00:55:40.440]So we worked with sail makers for four years to come up
[00:55:44.450]with a variety of sales that might be able
[00:55:48.540]to pull not only us, but our load behind us.
[00:55:52.340]And we did a lot of experimentation,
[00:55:54.970]but there's nothing like the real theater
[00:55:57.770]of Antarctica to give it its true test.
[00:56:00.660]I'll give you an idea of why you kind of like sailing
[00:56:04.750]and I had a love/hate relationship with it,
[00:56:07.390]but this is what pulling looks like,
[00:56:09.307]so it was not so pretty.
[00:56:10.520]The sled is over double your body weight.
[00:56:13.370]So it's kind of the ruler
[00:56:15.210]even on a relatively flat day like today.
[00:56:19.090]This will give you a little idea.
[00:56:24.500]This is me,
[00:56:26.530]I'm wishing I had a second bowl of oatmeal
[00:56:30.490]with butter in it laced in fat
[00:56:34.660]'cause I'm having a hard time getting over the speed bumps.
[00:56:41.940]If you can hear that Amundsen, who was the first person
[00:56:45.810]to the South Pole said, "The Antarctica ice like glue."
[00:56:52.610]Antarctica is a desert, it's drier than the Sahara.
[00:56:57.296]So it's very hard to get any kind of,
[00:57:02.230]when you're skiing or sledding, you have these molecules
[00:57:05.850]of moisture between the sled runners
[00:57:07.770]and the ice and snow from the friction.
[00:57:11.130]You don't get that on Antarctica,
[00:57:12.900]and so it feels like a dirty trick.
[00:57:15.090]I, oftentimes, would turn around thinking Liv is
[00:57:17.800]just holding my sled pulling a prank on me.
[00:57:21.810]And then I remembered the quote of what Amundsen said
[00:57:24.530]in his diary about the frustration
[00:57:27.230]of the dryness of this ancient ice.
[00:57:30.160]And so it was just compounding our slowness
[00:57:35.230]and consequently our eagerness to then be able
[00:57:38.390]to get the sails up when appropriate.
[00:57:41.529]But there were many days when we just would have to pull.
[00:57:45.840]This is what Liv looks like going to work.
[00:57:48.070]If you've been in isolation a long time,
[00:57:50.030]you know this kind of our look for the office.
[00:57:55.160]On bigger expeditions on that North Pole expedition,
[00:57:57.840]we all had our names on our jackets
[00:58:00.700]in case you wanted to know who you were talking to
[00:58:03.370]through all of the garb with one other person.
[00:58:07.060]I know exactly who that is 'cause I'm the good-looking one.
[00:58:11.950]But this is how we look on a day to day basis.
[00:58:14.990]No, there's no showers, none of this.
[00:58:17.190]So we wear the same clothes each and every day.
[00:58:22.230]This trip was a wonderful example of
[00:58:28.150]what I was talking about in the beginning about
[00:58:30.810]how expeditions can teach you about optimism
[00:58:34.030]and perseverance and just plain simply hope
[00:58:38.480]when things are so big.
[00:58:40.210]What you don't wanna do on long expeditions,
[00:58:42.840]on any long project for that matter, is think about the end
[00:58:47.330]and think about the big party at the end
[00:58:49.970]and you're going to get there and things like that.
[00:58:52.640]This is a long journey, so it's best to chunk it down
[00:58:56.600]and celebrate the small successes as well as the large ones.
[00:59:01.410]Getting to the South Pole would be a large one.
[00:59:05.290]Christmas is another moment
[00:59:07.390]or just getting over a longitudinal line
[00:59:09.750]after so much hardship and finally making some sort
[00:59:14.280]of notable progress on a so-called map.
[00:59:19.621]What we found as we were going along is
[00:59:23.100]that the math works out some days and then it doesn't.
[00:59:27.032]And the people that follow us,
[00:59:28.919]they're just like, "They're not gonna get there.
[00:59:31.210]They're not gonna get there."
[00:59:32.740]And they can't figure out how it's gonna work
[00:59:35.120]and we're falling behind because we are having days
[00:59:38.580]like this, where there's absolutely no wind.
[00:59:42.530]And just like on an ocean, if you were a sailor,
[00:59:45.419]it's called the same thing, it's the doldrums.
[00:59:48.760]And it's the sun is out, it's a beautiful day to travel,
[00:59:52.730]but there's not a puff of a breeze.
[00:59:55.240]And this was us experiencing the climate change.
[01:00:00.370]We were in contact through our satellite phone
[01:00:03.560]with scientists and meteorologists talking about
[01:00:06.820]where is the wind and they could bring up satellite maps
[01:00:10.820]that showed how there was wind all around us,
[01:00:14.140]but not within our little bubble.
[01:00:18.060]And they said, just keep going, you're gonna get into it.
[01:00:22.160]But from our perspective, if you're going a mile per hour,
[01:00:25.370]that could be days or weeks.
[01:00:28.194]And so we found ourselves falling back at this moment
[01:00:32.630]in the trip in real despair, I have to say.
[01:00:36.730]It sounds kind of dramatic now.
[01:00:38.200]But we were watching the traverse literally slip away
[01:00:44.740]and we couldn't do anything about it
[01:00:46.430]because it's mother nature, you can't change the weather.
[01:00:50.840]And so we were thinking, in the tent at night,
[01:00:53.850]we would sit there and think, what can we do?
[01:00:56.990]And meanwhile, we're just getting further and further
[01:00:59.770]into a really bad attitude and kind of a depressed state.
[01:01:06.240]And we had to report to kids every night for three minutes
[01:01:10.820]on the sat phone, we had to make a report for our website
[01:01:14.630]and we didn't feel like doing it.
[01:01:16.190]It sounded like such a simple thing,
[01:01:17.940]but three minutes was agony.
[01:01:20.920]And so we got in the tent and we were realizing
[01:01:24.110]that we couldn't travel every day,
[01:01:26.610]that we were gonna burn out waiting for the wind to return.
[01:01:30.210]And so we did something that outdoor people never do.
[01:01:33.200]On a beautiful day, we stayed in our tent and we slept
[01:01:37.810]because on Antarctica, if the wind came up
[01:01:40.030]at 2:00 in the morning, the sun is out and we could travel.
[01:01:45.120]But if we were so burnt out from trying
[01:01:47.290]to desperately pull for 15 hours every day,
[01:01:51.480]we wouldn't be able to respond to that opportunity.
[01:01:55.240]So what I'm gonna show you is a quick video.
[01:01:58.210]It's kind of embarrassing, so bear with me.
[01:02:01.800]It's embarrassing for me anyway,
[01:02:04.440]but it shows what I'm talking about.
[01:02:07.950]When we shoot this video, we're shooting it
[01:02:10.130]for our team back in Minnesota, who are supporting us
[01:02:14.000]in terms of education and communication and all of that.
[01:02:17.210]And it was a spontaneous sort of thing,
[01:02:22.820]but it changed everything
[01:02:24.080]and I'll tell you why after the video.
[01:02:26.220]But knowing that you're going into this video
[01:02:28.700]and we're absolutely at our lowest moment
[01:02:32.460]on this entire trip.
[01:02:38.720]What I have been living with for 51 days
[01:02:42.200]and probably 50 more.
[01:02:47.466]You have the 40 from the pole.
[01:02:51.726]Play the wind song.
[01:03:13.490]This is serious, aren't we just making fun?
[01:03:16.530]No, I've been in the wind.
[01:03:20.460]The tent is moving.
[01:03:21.682]Thank, God, it does.
[01:03:23.231]It's the music that makes it.
[01:03:25.070]Thank God for this harps.
[01:03:28.610]You at expedition.com, we miss you,
[01:03:31.190]and I bet you, you don't miss us.
[01:03:39.378]See it's embarrassing.
[01:03:40.211]But like any good expedition, you get kinda punchy, right?
[01:03:42.990]Any outdoor trip, it's like the family trip in the car.
[01:03:47.929]What happened after that spontaneous video to our crew,
[01:03:52.400]and of course, they didn't see it for months later,
[01:03:54.040]but was that our attitudes switched?
[01:03:57.120]We realized that the only thing we did have control of was
[01:04:02.240]our attitudes and our ability to be present in the moment.
[01:04:08.550]And that laughter, that silliness opened up that window
[01:04:13.910]and gave us some new oxygen and allowed for us to approach
[01:04:19.180]whatever was ahead for us differently.
[01:04:22.390]And lo and behold, of course, when you do that
[01:04:26.630]in anything that we do that's hard
[01:04:29.330]and then we sort of readjust, boom, something good comes.
[01:04:34.200]I mean, we've just lived a year through all sorts of things
[01:04:37.040]like that, where people are talking about silver linings
[01:04:40.620]and opportunities through the challenges,
[01:04:44.650]the same was true for us.
[01:04:46.558]A few days later, this is our largest sale.
[01:04:50.360]It's about the width of this stage.
[01:04:52.600]It's just enormous and it's for the biggest,
[01:04:54.800]the lightest of winds, way up.
[01:04:57.320]You can hardly get it up, it's so big.
[01:04:59.430]And we felt the wind and so we tried getting this up,
[01:05:05.170]we get it up, but we still have to shuffle on our skis
[01:05:08.880]and pull the sled, but the sail is up.
[01:05:11.770]And so it became this symbol for us of hope.
[01:05:16.500]And when the was down, we had to really work
[01:05:19.480]on our attitude because we started
[01:05:22.070]to get diminished again and feel hopeless.
[01:05:26.610]But on this day with this sale up even with shuffling,
[01:05:31.110]after 14 hours, we made 77 miles,
[01:05:34.730]our longest mileage day ever on this trip.
[01:05:37.740]And had we burned ourselves out,
[01:05:40.930]we never would have met this day.
[01:05:43.700]We wouldn't have been able to do that.
[01:05:46.134]We wouldn't even stop to drop our trout to pee
[01:05:50.130]because we were scared we were gonna lose the loft
[01:05:53.030]of that sail and never get it up again.
[01:05:55.310]And it was amazing
[01:05:58.130]and it taught us so much.
[01:06:00.730]And we came sailing in literally to the South Pole.
[01:06:06.120]Now, it's an exciting place to be a second time,
[01:06:09.800]I have to tell you.
[01:06:12.900]That excitement does not diminish a second time,
[01:06:15.310]but we're in a big hurry
[01:06:16.420]and I'm incredibly superstitious at this time.
[01:06:19.530]I don't even wanna celebrate other than to take this picture
[01:06:23.460]until after we go over that threshold
[01:06:26.790]and start on the second half of the journey.
[01:06:29.470]So that we take our picture and we keep on moving
[01:06:32.750]and then we celebrate the next night.
[01:06:35.920]I mean, I'm all about celebrating.
[01:06:37.500]I'm Irish for gosh sake, but this is what celebration is.
[01:06:41.560]We empty a film canister, which we were still shooting film
[01:06:45.290]and we put for Liv a little Akvavit 'cause she's Norwegian
[01:06:49.740]and for me a little Scotch, neither which freezes
[01:06:52.860]at cold temperatures, and we do a little toast
[01:06:57.520]and we celebrate this big threshold,
[01:07:01.115]this big moment in our very long expedition.
[01:07:04.610]If you look behind her bad hair day, you'll see notations
[01:07:08.260]on the ceiling of the tent because we live
[01:07:10.910]in this white world and exist in this white world,
[01:07:13.680]it's the only way we really trust
[01:07:15.540]that we're going somewhere.
[01:07:17.100]There's no markers, there's no trees
[01:07:19.220]or mountains anymore to sort of signify
[01:07:21.840]that we're making any kind of progress.
[01:07:24.200]So our GPS position reports on the ceiling every night
[01:07:29.440]in a Sharpie as you're laying in your tent ready
[01:07:32.730]to fall asleep, show you you're actually going somewhere.
[01:07:38.810]This is a day I'm rushing now through the other half
[01:07:42.230]of the trip, it's much the same as the first,
[01:07:44.560]lot of ups and downs.
[01:07:45.982]But on this day when I click this picture of Liv,
[01:07:50.210]we saw dots on the horizon
[01:07:52.720]and we knew they weren't sensory deprivation
[01:07:56.200]from not seeing anything mirages or whatnot,
[01:07:59.460]we knew exactly what they were.
[01:08:01.180]Over 300 miles away is the Transantarctic Mountains
[01:08:04.370]and on the other side of that is our little ship
[01:08:07.300]that's gonna pick us up.
[01:08:08.860]We're within arms length and we're starting
[01:08:11.360]to entertain with the arms up the idea that we might get
[01:08:16.270]across this huge continent and make this thing happen.
[01:08:20.020]We're allowing ourselves that little window
[01:08:23.923]of entertaining this thought.
[01:08:27.948]And I have to say, even in the hardest of days,
[01:08:32.340]always one of these came out.
[01:08:35.280]We typically could cry in one moment out of exhaustion,
[01:08:39.940]oftentimes, or frustration, and then smile and laugh
[01:08:44.220]and revel in the beauty of this world
[01:08:47.480]that we're existing in.
[01:08:49.830]And I just love this picture, I think, more than any,
[01:08:54.680]because it signifies the way Liv and I operate.
[01:09:00.090]We've got a lot at stake to do this trip.
[01:09:02.180]We've got sponsors and we've got millions
[01:09:05.140]of kids following us.
[01:09:06.210]We feel the pressure and we have our own internal pressures
[01:09:09.880]of wanting to get across Antarctica.
[01:09:12.920]But when Liv straddled his sled and turned around
[01:09:16.280]and she's doing in this, when I click this picture,
[01:09:18.580]and she's asking me to give her a good push
[01:09:20.930]to go down this huge slope,
[01:09:23.120]which is very hard to see in this picture.
[01:09:25.590]But it's like,
[01:09:28.850]we're back being our ten-year-old girl selves again,
[01:09:31.780]eyes wide open, where the world is before us
[01:09:35.190]and all the possibility is before us
[01:09:38.070]and we're just astonished by everything
[01:09:40.300]and that's the way I try and lead my life even at 65.
[01:09:44.680]And so I looked at Liv though, when she's telling me,
[01:09:47.557]"Do you want to give me a push so I can go fast?"
[01:09:49.750]And I'm like, "You're not supposed
[01:09:51.210]to sled down these things.
[01:09:52.330]It's filled with crevasses.
[01:09:54.480]This is a big glacier
[01:09:55.770]and these crevasses, which are cracks in the ice
[01:09:58.570]and some are a mile deep.
[01:10:00.150]If you go in there attached to a sled
[01:10:02.880]that's over 200 pounds, you're not coming out."
[01:10:06.390]And she's like, "I can't resist, I got to go,
[01:10:09.420]and if you do your job right, and push me hard,
[01:10:12.040]I'll be okay at the bottom."
[01:10:14.240]And I thought about it, and this is like day 85,
[01:10:16.910]and I'm like, "Yeah, can push her."
[01:10:20.320]So I went back and I gave her the push over her life, man,
[01:10:23.710]and she went screaming down this hill,
[01:10:25.910]it was about a half a mile.
[01:10:27.780]And I turned around and walked
[01:10:29.960]very carefully down the way you're supposed to
[01:10:33.900]as a rule follower and stepped over the cracks
[01:10:37.700]and met her at the bottom of the hill
[01:10:39.820]and I regretted not giving it a go,
[01:10:42.050]but I wasn't going back up with a sled load.
[01:10:44.080]So we were in a hurry, time was running out,
[01:10:48.030]that pressure never gave up.
[01:10:49.870]It's always there on most expeditions,
[01:10:52.220]but it was a big weight.
[01:10:55.958]We're trying to meet up with this little ship.
[01:10:59.300]The ship was once used, it's not made for Antarctic waters
[01:11:03.170]by the way, but the price was right.
[01:11:06.500]Henry Kissinger used to be on the ship
[01:11:09.970]for secret meetings in the Mediterranean.
[01:11:12.890]And somehow it was over the years had gotten sold to this,
[01:11:15.900]that, and the other thing, and it found itself in Tasmania.
[01:11:18.630]And we had a volunteer crew because they just wanted
[01:11:22.570]to see Antarctica, it didn't mean
[01:11:24.070]that they should be sailing in these waters,
[01:11:26.990]but it was a ride home.
[01:11:28.680]And so they're waiting for us
[01:11:30.390]and they're motoring around all these ice flows.
[01:11:33.410]And they're starting to think about Shackleton,
[01:11:36.100]whose ship got frozen in the ice flows.
[01:11:38.610]And so they're being very nice on the sat phone,
[01:11:41.330]but they're telling us to hurry it up
[01:11:43.220]and get to the edge flow and let's get out of there.
[01:11:47.380]The original plan was to follow an icebreaker,
[01:11:49.510]but they had long gone.
[01:11:50.760]So we were on our own and it would take us two weeks
[01:11:56.113]on this little Tasmanian ship to get up
[01:11:59.100]to Tasmania to warmer waters.
[01:12:01.350]And it was a whole nother journey, which I won't go into.
[01:12:05.500]We sat here before we boarded the ship
[01:12:07.630]and just had a brief reflection
[01:12:12.911]of what just transpired in the last 97 days.
[01:12:17.590]It's 100 days you got mother nature gives you,
[01:12:20.020]we just scooted right under the ribbon.
[01:12:23.140]And so we're sending here
[01:12:25.560]doing our little picture and thinking,
[01:12:28.197]"Wow, we hit all of the points,
[01:12:31.000]all of the objectives we wanted
[01:12:33.550]and we had about five of them.
[01:12:35.330]It's like longest ski trek ever, biggest educational thing,
[01:12:39.670]all of those things, ski safely across Antarctica.
[01:12:43.040]But the last thing that we had published on our sheet
[01:12:47.660]and said out loud, which most expeditions never do is
[01:12:51.500]to be friends on the other side.
[01:12:53.910]And I think this picture shows
[01:12:56.150]that we're doing a pretty good job of that.
[01:12:58.420]Even through, not to say that it was all hunky-dory
[01:13:01.840]all the time, we had our differences,
[01:13:04.180]but we had an enormous amount of trust.
[01:13:06.710]And again, that mission, we were grounded in
[01:13:10.430]why we were going beyond our own ambition
[01:13:13.970]and that meant the world,
[01:13:16.070]to have something to shoot for,
[01:13:17.810]to stay centered was really important.
[01:13:21.170]So there would be many more expeditions, Liv.
[01:13:23.890]That was 2000 when we did this trip 2000 and 2001
[01:13:29.640]and we've been working to this day.
[01:13:32.360]We've been on a big pause this last year, but we'd been
[01:13:35.770]to the Arctic witnessing the changes
[01:13:39.940]that we've seen over time and traveling
[01:13:42.580]in that region with the sea ice.
[01:13:45.101]Our gear has changed, the sleds, no longer any dog sleds.
[01:13:51.980]Nobody takes big expeditions as we did in the 80s.
[01:13:56.900]The sleds are now more like canoes, they're waterproof.
[01:13:59.730]So they can go into the open water because there's
[01:14:02.530]so much more open water than I ever saw in 86
[01:14:07.490]and I thought we saw a lot.
[01:14:10.190]These fellows, they've always been there,
[01:14:14.470]it's their environment and we just want to be visitors
[01:14:17.160]and respectful of them, but we saw them every day.
[01:14:20.600]And some were not as curious as they typically are
[01:14:27.530]and usually leave you alone.
[01:14:29.400]They were more interested in you,
[01:14:31.620]especially the young ones and the more hungry ones.
[01:14:35.528]And so we would always tell them,
[01:14:37.820]we're too bitter old women,
[01:14:39.380]it's not really as good as an old seal.
[01:14:43.070]But that was a change that was really evident
[01:14:47.050]from moment one on our trips in 05 and 07.
[01:14:52.330]And we worked with a company to develop a suit
[01:14:55.940]because we knew that the expanses
[01:14:58.420]of open water were gonna be more numerous
[01:15:02.090]and we knew that the ice that we were traveling on
[01:15:04.890]at times was gonna be much more unstable.
[01:15:08.360]And so we would deliberately now enter into the ice
[01:15:13.890]and swim across and then pull our sleds across after us.
[01:15:19.040]So they're attached to our foot here,
[01:15:22.160]which is not very comforting in a wide lead
[01:15:25.620]because if the sled tips over and fills up
[01:15:29.380]or something goes wrong, you're attached to that sled.
[01:15:32.750]So it's very much like a crevasse,
[01:15:34.470]but nonetheless, the gear works pretty well,
[01:15:37.760]but it's evidence that we're in a brand new environment
[01:15:41.940]and much of what we learned in those early years was not
[01:15:46.940]necessarily things that we could bring forward
[01:15:49.060]into the new age of our exploration.
[01:15:53.900]But the work is always the same,
[01:15:55.480]putting one foot in front of the other.
[01:15:57.580]And then the most recent project that we've been working on
[01:16:00.890]in the last bunch of years, and it's a multi-year project,
[01:16:05.210]is we assembled a group of international women,
[01:16:07.790]a woman from every continent, but Antarctica,
[01:16:11.120]and our goal was to travel on liquid water.
[01:16:15.440]So the polar ice caps, of course, is ice, it's frozen water.
[01:16:18.980]So we're no stranger to water, it's just a new form,
[01:16:24.020]and we decided that we would travel rivers of the world
[01:16:28.620]and talk about some of the issues around water.
[01:16:31.550]And we liked that the topic of water
[01:16:33.620]because it transcends just
[01:16:36.200]about every topic you want to talk about.
[01:16:40.410]It hits on STEM, it hits on global warming,
[01:16:43.570]it hits on women's issues,
[01:16:47.000]the injustices of the world are laid to bare.
[01:16:51.030]And we thought if we had an international team of women
[01:16:55.050]as we visited these different parts of the globe,
[01:16:58.320]we would have an ambassador to that region of the world
[01:17:01.730]and we wanted particularly new voices in the mix
[01:17:07.820]of talking about solutions to these challenges.
[01:17:11.560]And oftentimes, women's voices are muffled,
[01:17:16.430]especially in other parts of the world.
[01:17:18.470]And so in traveling and sharing these expeditions,
[01:17:22.500]we are able to garner sort of a new audience
[01:17:28.650]or a new set of attentions that allow for new voices
[01:17:35.060]to rise up and be inspired to talk about what they're seeing
[01:17:40.830]and what they're experiencing and what might be some
[01:17:43.570]of the things that they envisioned for solutions.
[01:17:47.990]So our first river was the Ganges.
[01:17:49.970]We went from the Himalayas to the sea,
[01:17:53.510]took us a couple months.
[01:17:54.690]It was extraordinary.
[01:17:56.810]All the while, we have new curriculums
[01:18:00.330]and we would visit schools and cities,
[01:18:03.420]we would camp all the way, sometimes under bridges
[01:18:06.780]in highly dense populated places,
[01:18:09.810]and then sometimes be in villages like this.
[01:18:12.440]This is our Indian team member
[01:18:14.180]and it showed me firsthand the power
[01:18:17.880]of having a representative from that region of the world
[01:18:22.730]in your team and not be just a visitor
[01:18:26.540]because wherever we went, they saw themselves
[01:18:29.690]in Krishna and they flocked to her.
[01:18:33.068]We're around too,
[01:18:34.320]but they're not holding our hands the same way.
[01:18:37.940]And they were amazed that other women would come so far
[01:18:43.190]to talk about some of the challenges that they're facing
[01:18:47.010]around this very sacred waterway
[01:18:49.900]that runs through so many communities.
[01:18:52.160]Much of our conversations back and forth were
[01:18:55.020]around the well in the village.
[01:18:58.370]What an expedition can do is sort of magnify the way
[01:19:04.550]in which we have to live on an expedition
[01:19:07.300]to the way things are in the world.
[01:19:10.600]So we drink water.
[01:19:11.980]So we become very aware of how much water our team
[01:19:15.561]of eight consumes each and every day
[01:19:18.360]because we have to find that well,
[01:19:21.470]pump that water, and bring it back to our camp.
[01:19:24.890]And so with doing that exercise,
[01:19:28.210]we become more aware of our consumption and the way
[01:19:31.990]in which we're living and existing on the planet.
[01:19:34.960]But we also make connections as we're carrying that water
[01:19:39.090]with others and oftentimes other women carrying the water
[01:19:42.520]to their village as well to their families and whatnot.
[01:19:46.070]And so once COVID clears a little bit,
[01:19:48.840]we're gonna continue our journeys around the globe.
[01:19:52.210]We've just really begun, they take
[01:19:54.130]about two years each continent and then we hope
[01:19:58.100]if I'm still alive and still able to move,
[01:20:01.140]I'm in a hurried state by the way,
[01:20:04.370]we'll end and we'll ski to the pole on the last continent.
[01:20:10.040]And so we're teaching some of our team members how to ski
[01:20:14.590]because some of them don't come
[01:20:15.740]from countries where skis are a big deal.
[01:20:18.161]So we're still rolling out, we're still doing our work.
[01:20:22.410]It's in sort of the same guise,
[01:20:26.070]it's just different backdrops where we choose to go.
[01:20:29.220]They don't all have to be cold weather,
[01:20:31.550]but we find that we're able
[01:20:35.690]with expeditions to be much more accessible
[01:20:38.730]and able to draw an audience in a way
[01:20:43.420]that perhaps we wouldn't have been able to
[01:20:45.767]if we were doing something sort of run of the mill.
[01:20:48.750]And it's been a wonderful way to continue identifying
[01:20:52.530]as an educator and try and empower people of all ages really
[01:20:58.490]'cause our audience is not just kids
[01:21:00.970]to engage in the world around them
[01:21:04.700]and be mindful of the environment that they exist in.
[01:21:09.481]I've been talking a lot lately
[01:21:12.814]and some folks here have heard me say it today is,
[01:21:17.053]lately, I've been thinking about these big things,
[01:21:20.103]they're so global, they're so big,
[01:21:22.100]it almost disempowers us to act in some cases.
[01:21:26.510]Certainly I'm speaking for myself.
[01:21:28.830]And I think what does it matter?
[01:21:33.280]And then I do reflect back on the trips
[01:21:35.440]and then I realize I see the impact then
[01:21:38.000]and I remember the stories and I remember my conversations.
[01:21:41.930]But lately, I've been thinking in this locked down state
[01:21:45.640]that I've been in and thinking about
[01:21:49.190]when I'm able to emerge again is
[01:21:54.040]what can I do in my sphere of influence?
[01:21:57.410]My sphere might be just within my home
[01:22:01.484]in my backyard, but what can I do to matter
[01:22:06.800]and to matter with these topics that we talk so much about?
[01:22:11.623]And this forum has been focusing on particularly
[01:22:16.040]around climate change that affects all of us
[01:22:18.560]in so many different ways.
[01:22:20.790]Where is that influence of sphere that you hold
[01:22:25.800]and how can you be empowered each day almost as a practice
[01:22:30.600]to feel like you can make an impact?
[01:22:33.910]I mean, I can tell you over and over and over again
[01:22:36.320]that you make an impact that collectively, it's like going
[01:22:39.860]across Antarctica, we're putting one step
[01:22:41.940]in front of the other and it matters, we get somewhere.
[01:22:45.640]It's the same thing with anything.
[01:22:47.210]If we all are doing concerted efforts, it matters,
[01:22:51.290]but we don't always get to see it.
[01:22:53.660]So if we can bring it down more on a macro level
[01:22:56.490]and say, where is my power as we step outside?
[01:23:02.278]I often think about this because
[01:23:06.810]wherever I travel in the world, I find this,
[01:23:10.790]and it's oftentimes in a ditch on the side of a road,
[01:23:14.760]but we all rely on it, this water bottle.
[01:23:17.660]And we say, we recycle it, but what does that mean?
[01:23:21.200]So where is my influence of my sphere of influence?
[01:23:25.430]It might be just right here in this water bottle
[01:23:28.280]and how do I treat it and how do I use less of it?
[01:23:33.070]And we are doing that.
[01:23:34.290]I mean, our practices, of course, are changing.
[01:23:36.570]But that's the way I think of it
[01:23:39.980]as a fairly liberal environmentalist and activist
[01:23:43.310]and somebody who's been incredibly privileged
[01:23:46.001]in her life to travel to these remarkable places
[01:23:49.825]around the globe and see so much,
[01:23:52.577]how can I make a difference each and every day?
[01:23:56.800]And I asked myself this after India, I said,
[01:24:01.120]how can I do better?
[01:24:03.440]Because that was the simple lesson that I came away with
[01:24:06.580]after two months, it sounds so ridiculous.
[01:24:09.450]But that's what I said to myself.
[01:24:10.820]What did I learn
[01:24:12.460]that I can always find something to do more of?
[01:24:16.551]And the small things do matter a great deal.
[01:24:20.910]They matter a great deal on every expedition.
[01:24:23.590]They're what makes it happen
[01:24:25.470]and they matter in everyday life.
[01:24:27.720]What happens on an expedition,
[01:24:30.210]you'll have to trust me on this,
[01:24:31.630]if you're not into long expeditions, what happens
[01:24:35.190]on an expedition happens, in life in everyday life.
[01:24:42.902]it's how I learn these life lessons that I apply
[01:24:47.990]in the world that I mostly live in,
[01:24:50.530]which is the same kind of world
[01:24:52.070]that you live in on a daily basis.
[01:24:54.850]And I'm just tickled to be
[01:24:57.200]with all of you and all of you out.
[01:24:59.130]And either, if you're out there,
[01:25:01.720]it's a joy to be in another community,
[01:25:06.630]it's a joy to see a live audience,
[01:25:08.720]it's a joy as always to share my journeys
[01:25:13.780]from one end of the globe to the other with all of you.
[01:25:16.090]And I hope that you feel a sense of hope and possibility
[01:25:23.210]in the work and the lives that you lead
[01:25:26.570]because there's so much greatness that we're about.
[01:25:30.730]So thank you so much for having me.
[01:25:33.655]It's been great.
[01:25:45.914]Thank you so much, Ann.
[01:25:47.100]I have to do this
[01:25:48.117]'cause I want you to see the smile behind my mask.
[01:25:51.370]And I know there are a lot of smiles out there.
[01:25:54.311]This did my soul a lot of good.
[01:25:56.040]Thank you, and I'm so glad
[01:25:57.050]you could be here.
[01:25:58.600]So we only have time for a couple of questions
[01:26:01.960]and you can submit your questions via text
[01:26:05.060]by sending a message to the number 22333
[01:26:10.660]and then in the subject line, put ENT918,
[01:26:15.000]and this will allow you to send us a message.
[01:26:17.460]And I already received a couple of questions,
[01:26:19.534]but I'm gonna ask the first question.
[01:26:23.210]So you talked initially about the door that was opened
[01:26:26.280]for you to start your first exploration, but you didn't talk
[01:26:30.830]about the door that you've created for so many other girls
[01:26:34.980]and providing opportunities for them.
[01:26:37.020]Could you talk a little bit about your foundation?
[01:26:41.380]I have a small foundation, sort of an extension
[01:26:45.020]from the first Antarctic trip,
[01:26:49.060]and I sort of mirrored it off
[01:26:52.372]my childhood and my experience.
[01:26:55.820]And I was a shy kid, didn't do very well at school,
[01:27:01.060]had a teacher that saw something special in me.
[01:27:04.300]I had very supportive parents,
[01:27:07.280]but sort of was floundering, I think, as a kid
[01:27:10.240]and just trying to enter the world and feel confident
[01:27:17.220]and that teacher made all the difference in the world.
[01:27:19.580]And my dream was to go to college
[01:27:22.799]and get a degree and teach
[01:27:24.770]and it wouldn't have been possible without the support
[01:27:28.420]of some adults, either mentoring me or just supporting me
[01:27:32.350]and helping me continue to believe in myself.
[01:27:34.900]So we started a foundation that gives small monetary grants
[01:27:39.070]to girls in Minnesota.
[01:27:41.380]Right now it's just in Minnesota
[01:27:42.980]and it's for them to have an experience.
[01:27:47.040]Experiences for me made all the difference
[01:27:49.900]in my sense of self-esteem and my sense of confidence.
[01:27:53.290]And also most importantly, my sense
[01:27:56.050]that there's a big world out there
[01:27:57.380]and I wanted a part of it.
[01:27:59.900]And so that's what we try and do is help girls
[01:28:02.960]with the help of mentors enter in for
[01:28:07.370]whatever reason might be slowing them down or stopping them,
[01:28:11.220]adolescence is a big one for girls to navigate,
[01:28:14.120]but to start to make friends, advocate for themselves,
[01:28:18.960]raise their voice, feel strong,
[01:28:21.370]and be the strong women that they can be
[01:28:24.100]to contribute to the world at large in their community.
[01:28:28.050]Thank you, that's great.
[01:28:30.096]As you know, this year's theme is hope
[01:28:33.860]and leadership for our changing planet.
[01:28:36.900]And what are you most hopeful about
[01:28:39.090]and what are you most concerned about?
[01:28:43.530]Well, I'm most hopeful for the young people
[01:28:46.270]that are right here,
[01:28:51.220]they're already working.
[01:28:56.220]I feel like we're going to be okay.
[01:28:58.393]They're on top of it, they're smart,
[01:29:02.870]and they're urgent thinkers, they're not waiting around.
[01:29:06.540]I remember when we first started talking
[01:29:09.300]about global warming, we used to say,
[01:29:11.467]"Well, we need to do this, we need to address this
[01:29:14.120]for our children and for our grandchildren."
[01:29:16.660]Well, they're here, the grandchildren are here
[01:29:19.300]and they're yelling at us and they're striking
[01:29:23.960]and they're organizing, and that gives me great hope.
[01:29:27.670]I just wanna sort of work for them now in my twilight years
[01:29:32.460]and sort of I want to keep going, but I think
[01:29:35.270]that they're leading now and it's really exciting.
[01:29:40.370]I don't focus too much on sort of the darker side,
[01:29:45.470]but it's every day in the headlines
[01:29:47.610]and so it's important for me to, in order to keep going is
[01:29:52.040]to always buffer all the headlines.
[01:29:55.470]And certainly the pandemic has exposed so much
[01:30:00.680]that is pretty difficult on so many scores
[01:30:03.750]from the economy, to the environment, the injustices
[01:30:09.080]of our healthcare system, et cetera, et cetera,
[01:30:11.060]I mean, we could go on and on,
[01:30:14.210]is to go back to where the action is,
[01:30:17.780]and that is young people in college
[01:30:21.120]and some younger and beyond and keep moving
[01:30:26.350]because that's where the hope and possibility remains.
[01:30:29.230]Being stagnant for me, that's when I start to get
[01:30:33.800]in the tent and get punchy and start to sing.
[01:30:39.440]How do you find common ground with those
[01:30:42.010]who don't yet believe in climate change?
[01:30:46.880]I don't actually spend a lot of time,
[01:30:51.580]it sounds very uneducated of me, but I don't spend a lot
[01:30:56.040]of time with people who wanna dialogue about not believing,
[01:31:00.430]I'm in too much of a hurry.
[01:31:03.840]I can see the end of the tunnel at 65, so I'm in a big rush.
[01:31:08.950]And I think what I know is trusting the science
[01:31:14.330]and we all should be in a big hurry.
[01:31:16.970]So it's more and where my concern is trying
[01:31:21.150]to keep people engaged to the conversation, to feel hopeful,
[01:31:24.264]thus, my last little bit of lecture there before I ended,
[01:31:29.630]to feel like you have power, and a place, and a voice.
[01:31:34.600]And the solutions are there, I believe in the human spirit.
[01:31:38.740]You can't be an explorer
[01:31:40.020]and not believe in the human spirit.
[01:31:41.550]And we can solve this, we can get a handle on this
[01:31:45.440]if we have the political will.
[01:31:47.560]And I think it's within us as average citizens
[01:31:53.930]to take the reins.
[01:31:55.010]It's not about the politicians,
[01:31:57.230]they don't have the political will
[01:31:58.880]and they'll fail us again and again,
[01:32:02.630]but we have the power to put them in those places
[01:32:05.920]and I think we can use that.
[01:32:07.450]And so I focus on where we can go,
[01:32:10.920]not on debating whether or not it's real.
[01:32:14.100]For me, that debate was back in the early 2000s
[01:32:17.390]and it got tired very quickly.
[01:32:22.120]This past year has been difficult for all of us.
[01:32:25.550]What were you exploring this past year
[01:32:28.060]when you were at home probably most of the time?
[01:32:31.410]What were you doing?
[01:32:33.820]Well, the first part of the pandemic,
[01:32:36.250]I think, like so many, it was everything quit,
[01:32:39.190]work quit, projects quit,
[01:32:43.450]the rest of our normal life of socializing
[01:32:46.320]and navigating how to deal with family
[01:32:49.730]and keep people safe and healthy.
[01:32:53.400]I've been watching myself to be honest
[01:32:57.843]sort of looking back and watching myself.
[01:33:01.180]I'm an introvert, so the beginning of the pandemic,
[01:33:03.960]I was just like, this is awesome.
[01:33:06.990]I was so tired anyway from work.
[01:33:09.120]So it was like a respite,
[01:33:12.510]but then I started to watch myself,
[01:33:15.950]even as an introvert who can hang out by themselves
[01:33:19.090]for 100 days and not really talk too much,
[01:33:21.980]and I will be exhausted after tonight.
[01:33:24.550]This is the biggest social thing I've done in a year,
[01:33:28.020]but I've struggled even as an introvert with motivation
[01:33:36.310]because it's a lot like the Antarctic.
[01:33:38.240]I go back to my journeys
[01:33:39.820]because it's a lot like crossing the Antarctic.
[01:33:42.550]You don't know where their ending point is,
[01:33:45.410]you don't know if you're going to get there.
[01:33:47.510]So the uncertainty and living with that
[01:33:50.410]on a day-to-day basis is really a difficult thing
[01:33:53.400]to navigate and I don't know how you all felt about it,
[01:33:56.060]but that started to erode some of
[01:33:59.080]my creativity, my motivation,
[01:34:04.130]and so it's been really interesting.
[01:34:06.100]And now, it's ascending again.
[01:34:08.770]And we're talking about the next project
[01:34:11.150]and the graphics of our website
[01:34:14.910]and just things that we didn't even entertain before and
[01:34:21.340]it's been an interesting ride.
[01:34:22.800]It's been a bit of a roller coaster.
[01:34:24.470]It's kinda --
[01:34:25.303]A new adventure.
[01:34:26.136]A new adventure, I'll never forget it.
[01:34:28.420]Do you mind one more question?
[01:34:29.620]Not at all, I love them.
[01:34:30.540]So what is the next adventure for you?
[01:34:33.150]I thought you were going to say,
[01:34:33.983]how'd you go to the bathroom?
[01:34:38.076]That's a good question.
[01:34:39.680]I know they want to know,
[01:34:41.070]but they don't get them to ask me.
[01:34:43.760]Don't give it away for free.
[01:34:46.320]I want you to know a student's ask that right away,
[01:34:49.510]but adults all want to know it.
[01:34:52.050]So what was your question?
[01:34:53.990]After a year of being forced to stay at home,
[01:34:57.740]what's the next adventure, where are you going?
[01:35:00.090]Well, before the pandemic hit, we were about to go
[01:35:03.100]to New Zealand with our New Zealand team member,
[01:35:05.660]who's Mallory, and do two rivers, the rivers
[01:35:09.130]in New Zealand are very short 'cause it's an Island.
[01:35:11.230]So we were gonna do two rivers and we were connecting
[01:35:15.410]that with some of the indigenous issues
[01:35:19.060]and the sacredness about these rivers.
[01:35:22.620]These two rivers were given human rights
[01:35:24.960]as a way to protect them.
[01:35:27.420]I think it was the first time that that had happened.
[01:35:30.227]You're starting to see that in other parts of the world,
[01:35:33.620]because legally that does give them protections
[01:35:37.680]environmentally that are really pretty extraordinary.
[01:35:41.850]So they've given these two rivers human rights
[01:35:44.860]as a way to protect them.
[01:35:46.580]And so I think what we're gonna do is pick up
[01:35:49.400]that journey again, we're gonna pick up
[01:35:51.253]what we call access water and start traveling again.
[01:35:56.320]Well, as soon as that's,
[01:35:57.980]we're not sure when that's gonna happen though.
[01:35:59.617]It sounds like a trip I'd like.
[01:36:01.340]40 degrees below zero, no,
[01:36:03.010]but this sounds like a lot of fun.
[01:36:04.600]Yeah, no, they're all fun.
[01:36:09.430]Will you again, join me in thanking Ann Bancroft.
[01:36:12.860]Thank you so much.
[01:36:14.530]Thank you so much for having me.
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