Visiting the Antarctic is one of those once-in-a-lifetime journeys that leaves you changed forever. The vast empty expanses, leviathan icebergs, the searing cold and the diversity of wildlife that somehow thrives in this unforgiving environment – there’s no better place on earth for a person to gain a true sense of perspective.

Visiting the Antarctic isn’t as simple as buying a ticket and hopping on a plane. Visitation to this continent at the bottom of the world is tightly regulated, with relatively few tour providers offering service to the Antarctic. And before you even reach the frozen continent, you need to pass a medical exam, and travel to Buenos Aires, then the remote of Ushuaia, and then spend two days crossing the infamous Drake’s Passage.

But once you arrive – it’s a truly magical experience. You’ll get up close and personal with penguin colonies. Watch seals sunning themselves on ice floes. Almost be able to touch humpback whales and they surface next to your boat. There’s kayaking and hiking and lots of other adventures. If you’re photographer, Antarctica’s otherworldly environment and abundant wildlife offers all kinds of great moments to capture. And yes, while it can be very cold, you’ll find yourself adjusting quickly to it, and you’ll be a hardy adventurer in no time.