Just 97 miles away




The magnetic pole drew Shackleton, called Ernest by friends and family. He had a vision of standing in the frozen south, looking north toward England. He faced the cold and vowed that he would reach “the end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns.”





On the first day of the year 1908, mid-summer in his upside world, Shackleton and the crew of the Nimrod sailed toward the bottom of the world. After 29 days, they could sail no more. The ice embraced the ship, and the cold plotted through the fall and winter to kill them, but they survived, waiting in the long darkness for the sun to rise again. When October turned spring, Shackleton and three others set out for zero longitude.





Like most of us, he almost reached his dream, just 97 miles short. That’s 156 kilometers for those who dream in other places.




Our dreams draw us, and in spite of hunger, frost-bitten feet, and the blinding white of despair, we slog on, so often turned back just miles from the place where we had hoped to plant our flags.




28 thoughts on “Just 97 miles away

  1. As someone who has always been fascinated by polar exploration, I love this post. The Amundsen-Scott race to the pole is also an amazing drama. Scott reached his dream, but a few days too late, and then his dream killed him. A very sad and heroic tale.

  2. winsomebella

    Better to have slogged and failed than to have never slogged at all. Or something like that. Wonderful post.

  3. The pleasure must be in the journey, not the final destination. It’s like writing–the process so satisfying that when it finally ends, we must look for another trip to satisfy that hunger that always returns. Loved your post.

  4. Great pics…greater message. Thanks. The sentiment is exactly the fuel I needed for my day today. GET OUT OF MY HEAD (kidding…). Thanks. I needed that. Dan

      • I’ve heard somewhat frequently that the destination isn’t the point, it’s the journey. If that’s the case I’ve had a very pointed life, as my journey has had many twists and turns. From your writing in here, it looks to me that your journey has also been a full one, and very meaningful.

  5. a very fine post. and moving too. so often in history, there were many attempts before the dream was reached… and some we’re still reaching for.

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