7 Positive Traits Strengthened by Polar Expedition Travel

October 24, 2016 Amanda Wells

Why do people travel to the ends of the Earth when, like any sensible hobbit, they could just hunker down and relax at home? Travel fulfills in us a need to explore, learn and experience new things, but the benefits of getting away from it all can actually be long lasting and have a huge impact on your life. In fact, taking a polar expedition can help build and expand your positive traits in ways that may surprise you.

Passengers hike the rugged Antarctic Peninsula on a shore landing.

Leaving your comfort zone challenges you physically and mentally: it heightens your senses, builds your confidence and gives you a true sense of your place in the world. You may find yourself interacting with those around you – and the entire world at large – on an entirely different level. You can build on the following 7 positive traits, in particular, on a polar expedition.

1. Openness

Exploring the Polar Regions, as completely foreign as they may seem, opens you up to new possibilities. Walking in the footsteps of legendary explorers, cruising in a Zodiac amongst majestic icebergs, visiting a penguin colony, exploring abandoned whaling stations and scientific outposts, camping on Antarctica, looking for polar bears on arctic pack ice – these are just some of the adventures you’re open to experiencing when you decide to take a polar vacation.

Spend more time exploring Antarctica by Zodiac and on guided hikes as part of a small ship expedition.

2. Curiosity

Curiosity may be one of the most important traits any traveler can possess, and on top of the amazing immersive learning experience the Polar Regions offer, our on-board experts feed your need for interesting information. While at sea, you can participate in interesting and informative lectures about what you’re going to see. During Zodiac cruises or shore visits, these experts set the context for your experience, and at the end of each day, there’s an opportunity to discuss all that you’ve seen and learned.

3. Patience

As exciting as polar travel can be, there are times when extreme patience is required, such as when you’re trying to get that perfect wildlife shot. There are many animals in both Polar Regions, but some are rather shy, so you may find yourself waiting.Some passengers spend hours on the open decks in the polar regions, spotting whales and seabirds, and capturing incredible photos.

Canadian emergency room doctor Don Gutoski won the 2015 International Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest for A Tale of Two Foxes, a photo that took him 3 long hours of lying in wait in the Arctic to capture. Even if you’re not that devoted, with the right camera equipment and some patience, you too might capture an award-winning shot.

4. Self-Confidence

Stepping outside of your normal routine to travel to the Polar Regions can be a huge self-confidence booster. You may not be Sir Ernest Shackleton or Roald Amundsen, but you are a polar explorer, and that’s quite an achievement! By the time you return home, you may have traversed the Northwest Passage or crossed the Drake Passage, both legendary bodies of water traveled by few. Or maybe you kayaked with whales, crossed pack ice with armed guides looking for the iconic polar bear, or hiked to the top of a promontory to survey an ice-choked fjord! These are not small achievements, and with each one of them, your confidence will soar.

F-Stop-adventure-photos-theplanetd-7-XL.jpg

5. Agreeableness

Agreeableness reflects your ability to get along with others. Taking a polar vacation is excellent for developing this trait because the voyage is a group experience. Good communication skills are at the top of the list of things you need to be agreeable with your travel companions, followed only by the ability to compromise. A rigid attitude may cause you to miss out on amazing opportunities, so stay flexible. Having an open mind and a positive outlook will improve your vacation, but agreeableness is also a translatable skill – you’ll discover that your personal life is much improved through the development of this particular trait.

6. Humility

This may be one of the most important personal traits you’ll develop while on expedition.Saunders Island penguin colony as captured by an Antarctic small ship expedition passenger. Photo: Jim Wilson

As you and your fellow passengers begin your journey, the trappings of society, social position and status will be in evidence. But as you’re faced with an iceberg the size of an apartment building or a colony with penguins numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you’ll find that in the face of the natural world, human conventions mean nothing.You will begin to develop an appreciation for the world, and just how small each of us is relative to it.

7. Conscientiousness

Polar travelers often return home with a more conscientious attitude. It’s hard not to, when every polar trip brings you in touch with the impact humans are having on our fragile ecosystems. Some are so moved by their experience that they become involved in groups or organizations devoted to climate change or environmental protection, and many make the Polar Regions a regular and preferred travel destination.

Keep your camera handy and spend as much time as you can on deck, taking in the spectacular Antarctic landscape.

So why do people travel to the extreme ends of the Earth, to these often challenging regions? Not only is it a great opportunity to learn about the world around us, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and build on the best parts of us. That’s an effect that lasts long after your expedition is over and you’re back to the grind of everyday life.

To find the polar expedition that will best accentuate the positive in you, download our new brochure today.

About the Author

Amanda Wells

Amanda is Director of Marketing at Quark Expeditions, a recent MBA grad, and a practitioner of positive psychology. In addition to her passion for travel, Amanda brings to Quark her belief that travel helps people push their growth boundaries, both literally and figuratively, and is always looking to connect with like-minded individuals.

Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn here.

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