Cycling From Antarctic To Arctic

Chris and his girlfriend Phoebe are in the saddle, for what you might describe by any standards as a rather long bike ride.

Hosted ByPeter & Felice
Antarctic To Arctic

Mexico Sea

Peter: Welcome to our travel podcast. We’re specialist travel writers, and we’ve spent half a lifetime exploring every corner of the world.

Felice So we want to share with you some of our extraordinary experiences and the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

Peter This week we’re in the saddle, or rather Christian Hosking and his girlfriend Phoebe are in the saddle, for what you might describe by any standards as a rather long bike ride.

So Christian and Phoebe, you’ve done something quite remarkable. You’ve cycled, I wouldn’t say half-way around the world, but a good chunk of it. Where did it start and where did it end?

Chris So we started in November 2021, just at the tail end of the pandemic – from Ushuaia in Argentina, probably as close as you can get to the Antarctic in South America. We cycled over the course of 18 months to Deadhorse, Alaska, which is on the Arctic Circle, on the Arctic Ocean, on the north coast of Alaska.

Peter And you’ve literally just completed this and you’ve flown back to England and here we are. Is that right?

Chris Exactly, yes. I flew home two days ago. I went straight into a wedding, one of my old school friends. And here I am.

Peter Jet-lagged and thrilled that you’re not cycling?

Chris Exactly. Thrilled to have a big old sit down.

Felice And, Phoebe, did you do the whole of the trip as well, or just some of it?

Phoebe So I started in Ushuaia and then about three months in at the north end of Patagonia, I was walking down a path and I tripped over and managed to break a bone in my foot, which was a very strange accident. So then I flew back to the UK.

Peter As an A&E doctor, which you are, you were probably pretty clear straight away what you’d done?

Phoebe Yes, I said: ‘That’s broken.’ No one believed me. Everyone was like, ‘You can’t have broken it. You were just walking.’ Which is true; I was. It was a weird accident. But yes, I did have a good idea it was broken, but I had an X-ray. In Argentina they thought it needed surgery, but I didn’t really think it needed surgery and I flew back to the UK and they were pretty happy that it didn’t need surgery.

Then I spent about two and a half months in the UK while it was healing. And then I flew back to meet Christian in La Paz, Bolivia, and then we cycled together and then I flew back to the UK again from San Francisco to start working again in February. So I’ve been at home now for four months maybe after we left, and he continued on and it got darker and well, lighter actually, and colder,

Chris Colder, wetter. More mosquitoes, more bears.

Phoebe More bears. And I was very cosy at home.

Peter What made you do this in the first place? I mean, Chris, you’re a mechanical engineer by trade and did you enjoy doing that?

Chris I did enjoy it, but I definitely, after 2 or 3 years of working the 9 to 5 life, minimal holiday…I craved a big adventure and I’d spend uni holidays before going on cycling trips around Europe or around the UK, and every time I’d get back from a month-long trip around Europe with my friends, it takes you about two three weeks to get into the swing of things.

You learn to live on the bike, living in your tent, knowing where all your things are, just getting used to the simpler life. Then you get to the end and you think, ‘Well, I’ve got into the swing of things and now I’d quite like to carry on going.’ But then you have to go back and readjust to normal life. So I’d always wanted to do a longer trip for a year or something and just live that way.

Peter And what about you Phoebe? How did it come about for you? He came back from work one day and said, ‘I need to go to South America.’ How did it work?

Phoebe Well, I think you’d been planning this specific trip for quite a long time. So when we met, he’d already been planning this trip. I’ve done quite a lot of cycle touring before that as well, and I just thought, ‘Yes, I’ll just come along.’

Chris Well, Phoebe’s cycled around the world already.

Peter What?

Chris With her mum.

Peter Tell us about that. That’s more than the occasional cycling trip, isn’t it?

Phoebe Yes. So my mum, her life dream was to cycle around the world and she thought she’d go when I was 21 because I’d be an independent adult. But turns out I wasn’t particularly independent at 21, and I just thought I’d probably just go with her as well.

It’s a bit of a theme here actually. So I took a year out of University of medical school and we, me and my mum spent a year cycling around the world.

Peter I think you could say you were fairly well trained for this.

Phoebe Yes, I was. I would say that.

Peter So where did you go on that trip?

Phoebe We started at our house in Surrey and went south through France and Spain. Got the ferry to Morocco, went south down Africa to Senegal, flew to Rio, cycled across South America to Santiago, then went to New Zealand and then Australia and then Singapore, from Singapore up to the Chinese border. Tried to get Chinese visas – failed, flew again, then to Baku on the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, and then cycled all the way back from Baku through Eastern Europe, back to Surrey.

Chris Back home.

Phoebe Back home, yes.

Felice Did you do any training before all of this?

Phoebe We both actually just cycle quite a lot in our daily life. I think you get very used to the sort of physical aspect of it. You just cycle quite slowly every day and the first few weeks is always really hard, but then you just get used to it. It’s just what you do really.

Felice How much can you carry on a bike?

Phoebe I couldn’t give you a number actually any. We had four bags each and other bags attached. Well, Chris had a surfboard.

Chris So from Peru to Washington, Northern Washington actually, I had a trailer, like a single wheeled trailer that attached to my seat post on my bike and I’d strapped a surfboard to the trailer on top. So it was a pretty heavy load, I think. 50-plus kilos.

Antarctic to Arctic

Camping on Cassiar Highway, Canada

Phoebe Yes.

Peter That is a huge weight. It’s a huge weight when you get to a hill.

Chris It was, yes, it was very big and it felt a bit stupid really, because I was having a great time in Peru, Ecuador, where I was by the coast and I was surfing a lot. But as soon as we crossed the border to Colombia, there’s no real coast. There’s a coast in Colombia, but the road doesn’t go through the coast. The main road goes through the Andes, the mountains and the jungle. So I felt like a bit of a lemon, really. He’s up and down with the surfboard and people didn’t really know what it was.

Peter I’m not surprised.

Chris And even in Peru, we took it up to 4000m.

Peter You took your surfboard up to 4000m?

Christ And then all the way back down? And a detour, Phoebe persuaded me to take a detour.

Felice I’m surprised you didn’t take skis as well.

Chris I was tempted. I kind of thought that as I got to northern Washington, I was quite tempted to.

Peter Where there’s some great skiing of course.

Chris Exactly. There’s some really good skiing. So I was tempted to ditch the surfboard and then swap it out for some skis. But yes, that would realistically, I don’t think it.

Peter It sounds like a mad, crazy adventure. How long did it take?

Chris In total think it’s 20 months. 19 months?

Phoebe 580 days. 580 days. Yes.

Peter That’s a long time.

Felice Did you camp every day?

Chris It was definitely a mix. In South America, we camped a lot, mainly because it’s very freeing. There’s huge opportunities to camp at any town we’d rock up in. We could just camp in the plaza or wherever, really, or just in someone’s garden.

Phoebe We really like camping.

Chris Yes, we definitely like staying in cheap hotels in South America as well. They’re very affordable. I mean, sometimes we pay $5 for both of us just to get a shower, wash your clothes in the sink. But then as we came to America, we used their campsites quite a lot, but we really used Warm Showers, the cycle-touring, couch-surfing platform that’s very, very popular, especially in America, just because everything’s so unaffordable and you get to meet amazing people.

Felice What’s it called again?

Chris It’s Warm Showers.

Felice Oh, really?

Chris It’s a really, really nice community of people. It’s a huge mix, really. There could be young people, retired people, and they’re often cyclists who’ve been on trips themselves and have received so much kindness and hospitality that they then wanted to pay that back to others.

And you just message a complete stranger. You say, ‘I’m coming to Seattle next week, do you have a place?’ And they’re like, ‘Yes, sure.’ They’ll often be a spare room. They’ll cook you dinner, share some beers, share some stories. I probably stayed at maybe 10 or 20 of those over the course of America and Canada.

Phoebe And the non-camping options…even the campsites in America were really expensive for not very much, but the hotels in America were really unaffordable for us. So you just wipe the budget. So we camped or stayed in these Warm Showers.

We also met a few people who on the road who then invited us to stay at their houses a bit later on in the trip, which was also amazing.

Chris That did happen.

Phoebe We met a couple of people from California in Mexico, and they said, ‘When you get when you get to California, come and stay in our house.’ So we stayed with them, which was really nice.

Chris I always remember there was a town in Mexico that we rocked up in and it’s we’d just seen actually loads of military vehicles. I don’t know if you remember this as well?

Phoebe There were men with guns on the top. It was a bit scary.

Chris We thought something bad’s happened up ahead of us, as we were getting overtaken by people. And they were on the guns, really, fingers on the trigger. So we were following them. We were going towards where they were heading. So we stopped in this town and because we were in that state of mind, we felt that it wasn’t that hospitable and everyone was a bit standoffish and staring at us, being like, ‘What are these guys doing here?’ Kind of felt in the wrong place.

Then we asked someone, ‘Can we just sleep in the church?’ Which is often where we would sleep, just as a public space that no one’s using. And then they’re like, ‘Oh, you want to sleep in our village? Oh, come, come camp in our backyard, come have dinner with us.’ And we spent the evening with them and their young children. Suddenly the village changed from this kind of harsh…

Phoebe …inaccessible place…

Chris …to suddenly just being so welcoming and warm.

Felice Did you meet because of cycling, originally?

Chris I think we met through a friend, but we definitely bonded over cycling and I was obviously very amazed at how Phoebe had cycled around the world. So we definitely bonded over that and had ridiculous stories. I mean, she was very chaotic. So the idea, the idea of her and her mum – and her mum’s chaotic as well….sorry, Harriet…and the idea of them in Western Sahara and Mauritania I just found it fascinating, really.

Phoebe And we went cycling together quite soon after we met.

Chris Yes, I think our first date was a cycle tour to Pembrokeshire from Cardiff.

Peter Tame compared to the other places, you mean?

Chris Well, it was fun.

Peter It’s probably quite dangerous there, isn’t it?

Phoebe In Pembrokeshire…you never know!

Peter You never know what might be around the corner!

Felice What kind of bike do you need for a journey like that?

Chris I’m of the opinion that especially for touring in less developed countries, I think having a simple bike that you yourself know how to fix is important. So I’ve just got a simple steel touring bike with a simple groupset, simple brakes I can just replace and fix and you can go to a market in South America and you can get all the parts that you need to get you moving again.

Peter I expect you had the odd puncture on the way?

Phoebe I had a lot of punctures, yes. You didn’t have very many, did you? I think I had probably over 20, but I think you had what, three or 4 or 5?

Chris Probably overall I probably had ten.

Antarctic to Arctic

Camping in Baja, California

Peter Other cyclists like you tell us that Baja, California is the worst place for punctures. We should explain that Baja, California is a thin peninsula that comes down, reaches down into Mexico, is Mexico on the Pacific coast and it’s flat. Is it flat?

Phoebe It’s not that flat. No, no, it’s really not. There were big thousand-meter hills.

Chris Yes, it’s separated by a mountain range in the middle that goes up to 2000m, 3000m.

Phoebe It’s high.

Chris There was snow at the top.

Peter But it’s got some pretty nasty cactus thorns.

Chris It does. They are the worst. And they have those goat heads, you know, the tiny little balls with spikes on them. You will turn off the road to just go for a wee or something, and within seconds you’re only a foot away from the road and you’ve got about 20 in your front wheel.

Peter It’s a miniature version of the kind of thing that the police throw down to stop a car.

Chris Exactly.

Peter And they certainly stop a bike straight away.

Phoebe Yes. So it’s own road block.

Peter We had one guy, we had on a previous podcast, we did an episode of a guy who cycled from New York City to Rio, and he said the worst bit was going through the Baja California. I think he had 25 punctures in a day or something. He said he was despairing.

Phoebe We only had one.

Chris Luckily our tires, they have a thick layer of gel in them that so the goats heads don’t pierce that layer unless the tires are worn out. Lots of people ride tubeless down there, without inner tubes and the resealing.

Phoebe It was amazing. I think it was a highlight for me, Baja California.

Chris It was a real highlight for me.

Phoebe Yes, I loved it.

Chris The camp spots were absolutely incredible.

Peter Dangerous things that happened?

Chris To be honest, the most dangerous was some of the driving in America, I’d say. The closest I think I felt to dying was in a tunnel in Oregon, which got me really upset, actually. I was pretty far over on the road and through a tunnel, and this car at 50 miles an hour, just zoomed past and just hadn’t seen me. It must have been millimetres. I really felt like I got lucky and I had to dodge the car and I was really close to the curb.

It was very terrifying and especially terrifying because I was going north from Ushuaia to Alaska but most people go from north to south. So in Baja, where we crossed at the end of December, we met all of the people who were going from Alaska down to Patagonia. So we must have met maybe 50 people in the course of a week, so we’d see them on the other side.

Peter It’s quite a brotherhood?

Chris Absolutely.

Phoebe They’ve got lots of gossip. They’re all like getting with each other and stuff.

Chris I think there’s like a big group of them.

Phoebe It’s like a school year isn’t it?

Antarctic to Arctic

Mt Fitzroy Patagonia, between Chile and Argentina

Chris Yes, they’re kind of what I like to call it a cohort, you know, it’s like they’re the year of 21/22 from Alaska to Patagonia. One of their members died in Oregon. She was hit by a pickup truck from behind by someone who just hadn’t seen her. They just drove straight through her and she lost her life.

And that was very upsetting for that group because they’d all known her and she’d had a really tough time in Canada. She had a really close encounter with a grizzly bear at night. I think she’d had food in her tent. She was completely new to the situation.

Peter You don’t have food in your tent with a grizzly bear?

Chris Exactly. Yes, it’s your number one rule. But I guess she was inexperienced. It’s not her fault, but she was an inexperienced cycle tourist who’d come down to Canada. And the grizzly bear had been sniffing in her tent, and she’d laid awake all night with her bear spray, just kind of hoping. So she was already upset. And then that happened. Really horrible.

Peter But apart from that, no real terrible experiences along the way?

Chris We were always amazed at how good our experiences were. And we always talk about how every single country, they all say that it’s going to be dangerous – enough to make us scared ourselves. So we were in Ecuador, which felt very safe, and then people near the border would say that Colombia is dangerous and then we’d cross the border and of course, it was very safe. And you’d often ask these people, ‘Have you ever been to Colombia?’ And they’d say, ‘Oh, God, no, no.’

Phoebe And sometimes even town by town that would happen. They’d say, ‘Where are you going today?’ And we’d say, ‘Oh, we’re going to this town 100km up the road.’ And they’d say, ‘Don’t go there. It’s very dangerous.’

Chris And they hadn’t even been to the next town.

Phoebe But I think we felt very safe. Apart from cars, I felt very safe – and lightning, which I’m a bit scared of – some bad lightning storms. But apart from that, I felt extremely safe all of the time, I’d say.

Peter And I suppose lightning on a bike. You need to get off the bike.

Chris Well, we were surfing actually. We went for a surf in Mexico and then a lightning storm came in and we had to run across the beach. And then lightning struck a tree next to us. So I think it was a rational fear at that time, although you are already scared of thunder and lightning.

Phoebe There was that other time we were cycling in Peru at the top of the Andes and we could see the lightning hitting pretty near us and we had to get to that petrol station.

Chris Yes, we saw it hitting a church.

Peter So what kind of altitude do you go up to?

Chris Well, we went actually to the highest road in South America, which is at 5000m in Argentina. It’s actually, it’s quite funny really, it’s on the main…

Peter Can I just check here? Did you have your surfboard with you there?

Chris No, not at that point. No. But it’s the route of Ruta-40, which is a famous road in Patagonia that goes all the way to the north of the country. It actually goes over the Andes up to 5000m. But it goes from the tarmac in the south. I mean, the road’s completely washed out really. It’s inaccessible by cars but you can go up in a motorbike or on a push bike. That was really special. That was a kind of expedition in itself, getting up to 5000m and then coming back down.

Felice What are your next plans?

Chris Well, for the moment, I’m excited to come back to Cornwall, see all my friends, see Phoebe, and we’re going to go visit family, friends and kind of just get used to normal life slowly.

Phoebe And Chris has got a new a new nephew since we’ve been away who he hasn’t met.

Chris Exactly. So I’m going to go catch up with my with my brother and my sister-in-law and Rohri. And then I’ll slowly get used to normal life.

Peter We have to ask, how did you finance all this? Because it’s been a long time on the road. How do you finance that?

Chris Well, I guess I’d been saving up money for a long time, but I actually lost my mum a few years ago, so I was lucky enough to have an injection of cash, which I thought I’d just spend on my dream, really. So I used that sad event to fund my dream. And amazing that I got a year and a half of probably the most amazing experience of my life.

Felice If you had wanted to do this on your own, Phoebe, could you have done it or is it better to do it as a couple?

Phoebe Yes, well, I mean, with my mum, we went to a lot of places as two women and the experience is very different. But I think almost in a way, people want to kind of protect you as a woman. And I think that no one would like pick a fight with you, most people just felt so sorry for us. So when I cycled with my mum, I got approached a lot by men wanting to marry me, which was exhausting. But it didn’t feel unsafe. It was just kind of annoying.

Peter We had an episode about a guy who cycled from London to Australia to watch the Ashes because he felt that was the way he’d get to Australia. He said that the best hospitality as a man he had always was going through Arab countries because hospitality is a part of the culture. Did you find that as a woman?

Phoebe Yeas well, it’s difficult because in Islamic countries the men aren’t really meant to talk to women. So that’s a bit of a problem. We’d go into a shop and they wouldn’t be able to sell us anything because they couldn’t talk to us. But yes, extremely hospitable but then sometimes that would border on kind of becoming more and more….I don’t want to say creepy…but more and more pushy. I think lots of people in those countries would like a British visa, nationality. The easiest way to do it is kind of by getting married. So that was always felt like a bit of an undertone. But yes, incredibly.

Peter You were never short of suitors…

Phoebe Never, No. I had maybe over 50 marriage proposals, so I even started wearing a ring and invented a husband. But it didn’t work.

Chris What about your mum? Did she get any?

Phoebe No, my mum thought that everyone was going to want to marry her, so she started wearing the ring. Then quite quickly it was clear that it was me. But sometimes, I would reject them. And then they would then go to my mum as a sort of second choice. I remember this one man and I’d sort of been very clear, and then he gave Mum some roses and I got very jealous, actually. So it’s a very different experience. But I think it would be very possible. And we met lots of solo female cycle tourists actually, and they were all having a great time. Or two women.

Antarctic to Arctic

Bear crossing Cassiar Highway in Canada

Chris Often very inexperienced as well.

Peter You said, I think, that the northern sector of your journey for you, the final sector, was in fact the most dangerous.

Chris People will fly into the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway, which is the most remote road in America. So I was just amazed that people will fly from Europe. They’ve maybe done a small cycle tour in Europe and then they think, ‘Ok, we’re going to do Alaska, Patagonia.’ Then they start on this remote road and they have to carry eight days of food. And it’s all gravel roads with lots of climbing, so it’s a trial by fire at the start, for sure.

Phoebe Most people we met, I’d say, wouldn’t have done any cycling before, like any actual cycle touring. They might cycle around, but most people it was their first time.

Peter It seems crazy not to train properly for these things.

Phoebe Well, except to have that kind of length of time to commit to something.

Chris You can only learn how to do it by doing it, in a way, especially in South America. It was completely different to cycle touring in Europe where we’d stop for a pastry break and then we’d stop in a supermarket for our lunch and instead we’d be shopping in markets for a few days of food. It’s just a different experience.

Felice Any advice for people wanting to do what you’ve done?

Chris I’d say that it’s possible for anyone to do it. You just have to you just have to work out how to do it, do your research. But anyone can do it. So when people say, ‘Oh, I can never do that, I can. I get tired cycling down the road,’ you know, anyone can do it. We’ve met so many people who have never cycled more than 20km before they head off on their trip and they just learn how to live that way on the way. And I’m sure there’ll be lots of mistakes made that you’ll learn from, and lots of stories.

Peter How often did you actually walk up hills?

Chris Oh, I’m quite strict. I try not to walk up hills, to be honest.

Phoebe I walked up lots of hills. Not lots of hills, but a few hills. Well, I guess maybe I didn’t. Walking is actually quite difficult. Pushing a bike is actually quite difficult. I like to have a break.

Chris Walking up hills is actually more tiring I think, than cycling up the hills.

Phoebe I agree.

Chris Especially if it’s on dirt roads or something. Your feet are slipping.

Phoebe Or at altitude.

Peter Did you suffer from altitude sickness at all?

Chris Not official altitude sickness, but when we did our climb up to 5000m in Argentina, I struggled with my breathing. Up the last 1000m was very difficult. And that was the one time I did walk up some hills.

Peter Felice and I heli-skied at 5500m and you feel like there’s no air at all.

Chris Yes, exactly.

Chris You get a headache and you feel like you’re just an unfit person, really. You lose a lot of your fitness. And even at 4000m in Bolivia, you do just feel like a less fit person, and you come down to sea level and it’s amazing and the air feels thick and you feel so energetic.

Peter Thick is the word.

Chris: Yes. It’s so funny that the air literally feels thick, right?

Felice What about clothing? If you got soaking wet, what did you do then?

Chris That is a real problem. It’s a real problem. In Central America it’s very wet, but it’s warm. So it’s quite nice really. You wear minimal clothing and we actually wore sandals for the whole trip with cleats on them. But that was really nice because they’re just plastic sandals that dry really easily, so you could get wet and then they dry really easily.

But up in North America, I had a bit of a bad winter in North America, in Oregon and Washington, and I was very wet. And that’s how you get cold and that’s how you get hypothermia – around freezing wet weather can be the coldest weather and I’d have to turn up at a Warm Showers and I’d wash and dry everything. I relied on Warm Showers really, to have every few days, a big dry out of my clothes.

Phoebe Quite often we’d have something hanging drying off the back of our bikes and it would just stay there for days and days and make no progress with the drying.

Chris And then it would rain and get wet again.

Peter A friend of ours who’s a cyclist was doing Land’s End to John O’Groats, and somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I don’t know where it was, she going up a steep hill – and she dropped her pants, which were drying off the back and the only other pair of pants she had. So she had to cycle all the way down again to find the pants. She found them on a hedge at the bottom.

Chris They’d blown away? Covered in mud?

Phoebe You lost your swimming trunks off the back.

Chris I lost my favourite swimming trunks off the back of my bike, I think that probably wasn’t the only thing that we’d lost off the back. Phoebe ruined a very nice swimsuit where it fell off the back of your bike and ended up in the wheel mechanism and in all the cogs and everything.

Phoebe Ripped it to sheds. I’d really liked it…

Antarctic to Arctic

Palms in Central America…and that trailer

Peter Tell us more about the surfboard, because one of the more extraordinary aspects of your journey is the surfboard. Where did you start towing it from?

Chris So, I guess that did make the trip very unique. I’m not sure I know of anyone who’s ever cycled that far with a surfboard, so it was definitely unique and it was really difficult, I have to say. But a guy in Peru, he made me this trailer. He welded this trailer for me that he had designed to be used for his dog, actually. So it had a nice little basket underneath where I put my bag. And then on top, I’d strap the surfboards and I carried that all the way from Lima in Peru all the way to Washington in America.

I actually got I managed to surf quite a lot. Like at the end of the day, we’d camp on the beach, especially in South America, where you can just sleep on the beach. It was the perfect life, really, we finished cycling and then you’d get in the warm water, go surfing. We’d sometimes spend a week in places surfing. And it was a really nice balance to the cycling.

Surfing is so refreshing. Being in the sea is just amazing and it makes me happy. So it was really nice to be able to do that at the same time. And I always thought, I really want to do this long cycle up through South America and America, but I couldn’t manage to cycle along those coastlines and just watch good waves roll in without me being able to surf them. So I had to do it, really.

Felice Apart from your broken foot, did either of you get ill?

Chris It’s probably what everyone asks, What was the worst experience on your trip? It was definitely for me when we got ill in in Peru. We’d filtered some water from a river, which normally is fine, but it was downstream from a town. So in those cases, I guess we’ve learned you’d use chlorinated tablets or you’d boil the water. But we were drinking, just filtered on one of these soya filters.

Peter And it wasn’t enough?

Chris It wasn’t enough. No, the I think we’d got a horrible virus.

Phoebe Well, I still think it might have been altitude sickness.

Chris Really? Oh, that’s interesting. We don’t know quite what had happened.

Peter You can be very, very sick from altitude sickness. And you can get big stomach cramps as well.

Phoebe It’s just funny that it was at the same time, which is the only reason I think it wasn’t altitude sickness because it was really weird synchronised timing, but we’d drunk water at the same time, but it would be quite weird for us to respond to altitude with quite such synchronous timing. So I think it probably was a virus from the river water.

Chris But we did this 1000, 2000 meter climb all day. We ended up in this, in the middle of nowhere Peruvian village, and we went and stayed in this hostel and it’s around freezing again, wasn’t it? And no heating of course, just lots of blankets. We went in and we were cooking our dinner.

Phoebe They’d advertised hot water on the outside of this hostel and we went in and there was no shower and I was asking about the hot water and he said that we could wash our hands in the hot water, which obviously is nice, but not really.

Chris But a cold shower at zero degrees is always any shower.

Phoebe There was no shower and the room was. Do you remember? The room was really expensive. So we negotiated and he let us stay in their store room, which had some bunk beds in, but we thought we were only going to stay there for a night. But it wasn’t very nice. And then…

Chris Around 6pm it just suddenly hit us and we were just vomiting for all night, really together, sharing.

Peter Synchronised vomiting.

Chris Yes, we did. We had this portable sink made of plastic that we’d do our washing up in that we turned inside out, so it turned into our sick bucket, and we had to take it in turns. We’d fill up the bucket and then we’d have to go outside into the freezing cold to empty it and we’d take it in turns. I think Phoebe might have done a solid, actually, and emptied it more than me.

Antarctic to Arctic

Deadhorse, Alaska – on the Arctic

Peter In terms of building a relationship that’s really character forming.

Chris Pretty character forming. But we ended up having to spend the whole of the next day in this tiny village at altitude.

Phoebe The owner was extremely confused why we were staying.

Chris Really ill. Then we had to get out of there. So we then we weren’t well, but we were well enough to cycle. But we had no food inside us, no energy.

Phoebe We were at 4500m and we really just had to get down.

Peter Incredibly high.

Phoebe That was about as high, apart from the big climb that was, we had a few days where we were on this like 4500 metre plateau, which is probably about the highest.

Chris And it wasn’t flat to get out of it either. We had to go up and down to get off it.

Felice What was the best part of the trip?

Chris I think I was really, really impressed with the glacier, the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, which is one of the only glaciers that’s still growing. And there are just huge ice chunks falling off and it was so spectacular. On the turquoise blue lake, we went on a boat trip to go see it and it was just absolutely wonderful.

Also I’d say also the Acatenango volcano in Guatemala, we hiked up, camped right next to this volcano and we we’d rolled up our tent door and we just were lying down all night watching this volcano erupt. It was so close and you can hear it. That was really special.

Peter  Thank you both very much indeed. What a fascinating story. We wish you every luck with the next adventure.

Chris and Phoebe Thank you so much.

Felice That’s all for now. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share this episode with at least one other person! Do also subscribe on Spotify, i-Tunes or any of the many podcast providers – where you can give us a rating. You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or any of the many podcast platforms. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to sign up for our regular emails to [email protected]. Until next week, stay safe.

© Action Packed Travel


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