What inspires you? That’s a big question and one that you might want to ponder for a while. Inspiration comes in many forms and today I’d like to share with you a video of one guy whom I find truly inspiring. His name is Ben Saunders, and he’s an Arctic explorer.

Anyone who enjoys listening to someone tell a good story will enjoy listening to Ben Saunders. The 30 year old British adventurer is the youngest person ever to ski solo to the North Pole, a challenge described by revered mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, as “ten times as dangerous as Everest”.

In this extraordinary 18 minute video recorded back in 2005, Ben modestly describes himself as being someone who “specialises in dragging heavy things around cold places.” However his achievement of skiing solo to the North Pole is quickly put into context when you learn that over 2000 people have climbed Everest, 12 people have stood on the moon, and yet only 4 people have skied solo to the North Pole.

“Unsupported polar expeditions are right at the edge of what’s humanly possible, both physically and psychologically.” Say Saunders when asked why he would choose to undertake a challenge like skiing to the north pole. He hopes that the journey inspires people to think about what they want to do with “the tiny amount of time we each have on this planet.”

Like all great explorers though, success in his last challenge has driven him to seek an even bigger one. In less than two months Saunders will set out on his next expedition, SOUTH, the first return journey to the South Pole on foot. This 1,800-mile expedition will be the longest unsupported polar journey in history. The current record stands at 1,350 miles, and most experts agree that going another 500 without assistance is practically impossible.

On an old school report that Saunders has since framed, his English teacher wrote of the then 13 year old, “Ben lacks sufficient impetus to achieve anything worthwhile.” Years later the boy who would never achieve anything worthwhile dedicated a day of his North Pole expedition to that teacher.

You can follow the build-up and progress of Ben Saunders SOUTH expedition on his blog.

Additional note : SOUTH was put on the backburner for a while. For more information about Ben’s upcoming adventures, and there will be more, see his blog.

Ben Saunders
SOUTH : The next expedition
North pole webcams
[Movie] Exploring the place that time forgot