“Just do normal, then you’re crazy enough…
Just do normal, then you’re crazy…
Just do normal…
(quote from Manon Ossevoort’s website)
A journey that has taken 9-years to make is finally about to reach it’s final destination. You may not have heard about it until now, but it’s certainly been quite the 45,000 km odyssey as the lively Dutch actress Manon Ossevoort is just days away from completing the arduous journey she embarked from Holland to the South Pole… oh, and we forgot the part about it being made… wait for it… in a tractor!
So we are clearly in awe of the eccentric trekkers of our time, as we have previously covered similarly unique and challenging expeditions worldwide. But this one is certainly one of our favourites… Manon is such an eccentric character and it is in particularly the underlying message of inspiration that has been at the core of her motivations that got us!
The final and most challenging leg of the adventure involves a 4,500 km round trip from the Russian Novo Airbase to the Pole and back, crossing the largest mass of ice on the planet and battling temperatures as low as -56 degrees Celsius. The above video is a great glimpse from the last leg of the journey.
The voyage started back in 2005 when Manon Ossevoort set off from her home in a quiet town in the Netherlands with the goal of reaching the southern tip of Africa.
Four years later, the former theatre actress made it to Cape Town, but had already formulated plans to push on further and make the South Pole, following the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary’s famous 1958 expedition.
However, her hopes of a quick trip to the South Pole were dashed when she missed the boat from Cape Town to Antarctica, leading to a four year hiatus from her adventure. But after securing new sponsorship deals (because after all, trekking to the Pole ain’t cheap!!!) she was back and more determined than ever.
“The tractor really symbolises this down-to-earth farmers’ fact and wisdom that if you really want to do something, maybe you’re not so fast but if you keep going you’ll get there and keep your sense of humour alive. So, for me, the tractor is strong, stubborn and it just keeps going,” she said.
The logistical challenges of doing such a trek in a tractor are plentiful… far from the cold and the fact that there is no set smooth route in place. We’d ask people to think about the early morning starting of your car engines even in mildly cold temperatures in comparison.
“The mechanical challenge in Antarctica was of course the cold temperature, the road because we have so much frozen snow waves on the ground, and in cold temperatures the steel can break easier. And after we’ll probably never stop the engine of the tractor because in the cold temperatures maybe it will be too difficult to restart it,” said the team’s Lead Mechanic Nicolas Bachelet.
With most mechanical issues now solved during the last leg of the trek, Manon and her team are confident that they can now take advantage of Antarctica’s 24 hour sunshine to make a non-stop bid for the South Pole.
The actress-turned-explorer hopes that her journey will serve as an inspiration to everyone.
“In my childlike fantasy I thought the end of the world would be something like the South Pole, because it sounded like wanting to go to the Moon by tractor but maybe it was possible. And it’s always been my hope that people could follow this adventure of a girl on a tractor through Europe, Africa, and then all the way to the South Pole, and maybe at some point be inspired by it to hopefully believe that their dream is not so impossible as it seems,” she said.
On her journey, Ossevoort collected thousands of slips of paper containing dreams, wishes and messages from the people she met in Europe and Africa. She plans to place them all inside a snowman once she reaches the southernmost point on the planet.
AND HERE IS THE FOOTAGE FOR WHEN MANON SUCCESSFULLY REACHED HER DESTINATION… a big congratulations from us!
And check out Manon’s website for more from her epic, albeit unorthodox journey to inspire the world:
TWEET US your thoughts… would you make such a unique trek, and if so, how would you make it more unique?