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🗞 South Pole dreamer

When Stephanie Gicquel was a little girl she dreamed of seeing the world. When she grew up she travelled far. One day she saw the coast of Antarctica, the frozen continent at the bottom of the world. She saw the icebergs and the penguins.

But Stephanie wanted to know more – she wondered what it was like in the middle of the mystery world at the South Pole.

To find out, she did something no woman has ever done before. Her dream was so strong that she was able to train herself and put up with things that most people find terrifying.

Think of this: How tired were you after the longest walk you’ve ever done? Imagine if you had to walk all day. Every day. For two and half months. A whole school term.

Then imagine it’s snowing. You’re in the fog and all on your own the whole time. Oh, and you have to drag a sled that weighs more than you do. It’s really cold, too. Much colder than the ice box at home. So cold, it will freeze your nose off.

Sounds impossible, right? But wrong. Stephanie did it.

She must be some kind of superwoman, you might think. But she looks pretty ordinary. What makes the difference is not her body but what you can’t see. It’s her dream that made the difference. You have your dreams. We all do. We probably don’t share Stephanie’s dream to walk across Antarctica. That’s why we probably couldn’t do it. But if you dream hard enough, she showed that you can do it, no matter how impossible it seems.

Reaching the South Pole for Christmas was, she said, the nicest gift she ever had. Is that how you’d like to spend Christmas? In a tent in a howling gale? No presents…

See what I mean? We wouldn’t do it. But Stephanie walked for weeks to get there, nearly blind in the snow, starving hungry, hardly sleeping, falling down and almost dying. And when she got to the end, she says, she had “never felt so alive as during the trip”.

She had trained very hard – she dragged tractor tyres along beaches for hours and went running all day inside huge fridges at Paris’ meat market. She took big risks with her life. But her message, she says, is this: “The biggest risk you can take in life is never to take a risk – take no risks now and you risk feeling sorry later that you didn’t do enough with your life.”

All our dreams are different. But whatever your dream is, if you dream hard enough you can make it come true.

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