Over the last few years I have been given books by my kids for Christmas or my birthday about Arctic and Antarctic explorers. From the Franklin expedition, the search for Franklin, to Shackleton’s dramatic escape from the frozen southern continent.

I just finished reading Alone on the Ice that features the 1913 solo 40 day crawl by Douglas Mawson back to the base after his two teammates had died. There is little inspiration about reading where extreme freezing and near starvation forces you to eat all your dogs and eventually your frozen finger tips.

I was reading this last part while lying in bed with a warm comforter on me after a hearty dinner earlier in the evening but still shivered. Hard to imagine the eternal blizzards and desperation in search of … well nothing.

I am not sure why this particular genre has struck the fancy of my children as suitable for me. I suspect they are reacting to my often quoted stories about how harsh it was when I was young and how hardy we had to be and they want to demonstrate that there was a time when my upbringing would have been considered luxury.

But it also raises the question about why would men do this. Risk horrible death for little reward aside from some fleeting fame. No one ever got rich from it. But then I think of all the idiots that climb Everest or K2 with a strong possibility of freezing and dying, I guess it is just the nature of some people. Why for example go to the moon? Not much there.

However as I sit in my nice warm house, contemplating our meal for the evening I realize I am no longer one of those that risk it all for adventure. Bad enough that I have to risk my life going into Costco with only a mask to protect me.