I am not a winter person. The only good I can say about each passing chilly day is that it brings me that much closer to the end of the season. And if, like me, you find that winter is just too over-romanticised in north India, it may be a good idea to visit the northernmost and southernmost ends of the earth to get some perspective on what it is like to bide time in truly cold zones. Sara Wheeler, a British travel writer now in her fifties, is a veteran of these journeys, and has documented them vividly in her books, Terra Incognita (1997) and Magnetic North (2010). Sure, Antarctica and the territories in the Arctic Circle are freezing cold and mostly snowy white, but it is interesting to be told how, other than that, they are poles apart.
Wheeler had spent seven months in Antarctica with the US National Science Foundation in the mid-1990s, yielding Terra Incognita. (I recently lost my much-read copy of that book and so revisited that journey in essays collected in Access All Areas.) The desire to visit the southern continent struck her during a visit to Chile, when she noticed that a triangular chunk of territory was shown along with the coastal South American strip on every map — while international protocols entertain no national claims on Antarctica, it seems
Be the first to comment.