Off to Antarctica: Going Solo to the White Continent

Eileen Cotter April 23, 2020

Antarctica might be one of the last frontiers of a true glimpse into the unknown. It's one of the most interesting landscapes left on Earth, with wild miles of snow, ice, and freezing ocean. Some might think it's a barren land, but those who have visited know it's a continent teeming with life — including giant colonies of waddling penguins and smiling seals.

We recently caught up with Todd Copley, who traveled solo to Antarctica onboard a sleek expedition ship on the trip of a lifetime. We had the chance to chat with Todd about his solo experience and what it's really like to visit this surreal destination.

Curious about exploring Antarctica yourself? Have a look at our 2021 A White Continent Holiday: A Seasonal Expedition to South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica expedition aboard the brand-new, 5-star Ocean Explorer!

What’s your travel background?

Todd said he spends his time between the "woods of Maryland" and south of London in the UK. For the past 30 years, Todd has traversed the globe for work and for fun, reaching dozens of countries on all seven continents. He said, "I love traveling, if I could stay in a different place every night I would".

His career began small, but in travel, as he said, "I started off as a tour guide, and have been in the industry ever since." He now oversees global ship operations for Vantage, including the builds of our upcoming expedition ships, the Ocean Explorer in 2021 and the Ocean Odyssey in 2022.

What was Antarctica like?

"I was blown away in Antarctica!" said Todd.

Todd hadn't originally had Antarctica on his bucket list of destinations, but once he arrived, he knew it would be an unforgettable experience to have as a solo traveler. He said, "[There is] amazing scenery and wildlife, and the sheer magnitude of the landscapes was breathtaking."

On the expedition boat, passengers choose their own adventure-style. You can take part in the naturalist-led expeditions by versatile Zodiac boats, navigate the waters yourself via sea kayaks, or if you are scuba certified, enjoy some diving under the ice. Todd chose to kayak almost every day so he could experience the atmosphere up close and personal.

What was a highlight from the trip?

Like everyone on the ship, Todd had some close animal encounters. During a kayak tour one day, a massive whale was in plain sight under the water. He said, "When you see a whale go under your kayak, you feel pretty insignificant."

A close second was his experience waking up one morning in Paradise Harbor as the sun was blazing on the snow and glaciers. Sunlight bouncing off snow can actually burn you, so when you go to Antarctica yourself, don't forget sunscreen!

What was your favorite thing about the ship you took there?

Todd spent nine days on the ship for the Antarctica portion of the experience with about 120 other passengers on board. The ship moves overnight to position themselves for the next day based on ice, temperature, and other factors to reach the docking destination by morning.

Of all the amenities, Todd enjoyed the observation decks, educational onboard lectures, and infinity pool on the ship the most. Time flew by whether he was on a kayaking expedition or savoring an upscale dining experience on board.

What is your favorite thing about traveling solo?

The gift of time on your own is one of the highlights about traveling solo for Todd. He said, "I like knowing the time is all mine. I don’t have to operate on another schedule." Besides traveling with his son, Todd says traveling solo is his favorite way to see the world.

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