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Would You Answer THIS Ad? February 9, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Nature, People, Travel & Leisure.

Wikipedia ~ Ernest Shackleton (in Public Domain)

The year is 1914.

Sir Ernest Shackleton needs a crew for an expedition to Antarctica.

To entice able-bodied men to join him, he places the following ad in the London Times:

Men Wanted: For hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.

Due to his stellar reputation, Shackleton received 5,000 applications from would be explorers.  From that number, he chose a crew of 28.

As expected, the journey hit a few rough patches.  The Endurance became trapped in ice which crushed its hull.  The crew had to abandon ship, taking as many supplies as possible.  For the next five months, the crew camped on an ice floe next to the sinking ship . . . until the ice started to break apart.

Wikipedia ~ Ernest Shackleton (in Public Domain)

Evicted from their frigid campsite, the crew spent five grueling days in three lifeboats to cross icy seas to Elephant Island, a barren and frozen rock.

From there, Shackleton, with a crew of five, navigated another 800 miles of stormy seas in a single lifeboat to seek rescue from a whaling outpost on South Georgia Island.

After landing on the far side of the island, 3 of the 6 hiked 32 miles and 36 hours in sub-zero temperatures over frigid mountainous terrain to reach the outpost.

Finally, on August 30, 1916, after almost two years in Antarctica, Shackleton arrived at Elephant Island to rescue his crew.

All twenty eight crew members survived.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Now that you know they all survived, want to change your answer?


1. ryoko861 - February 9, 2013

No, I hate the cold.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I’m with you, Irene. I dislike cold dark days (even at a latitude suited to human habitation). Antarctica is not on my radar.

2. sweetdaysundertheoaks - February 9, 2013

No. I hate the cold too.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I’m not expecting too many takers for his ad . . . especially with the blizzard that just jumped on the northeast cancelling planes, trains, and automobiles.

3. aawwa - February 9, 2013

I hate to be pedantic but he was looking for the male species 🙂 I would have to count myself out at that early stage!

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Even in 2014, I expect that more men than women would answer his ad. 😀

4. Mands - February 9, 2013

Honesty in advertising? *Grin*
What a pleasure…. well written Nancy thank-you. I so enjoyed reading your article. 🙂
I hope you don’t mind I emailed it to my husband… it so reminded me of how he enthusiastically left his very comfortable, and higher standard of living in the UK to come on an adventure to South Africa… to meet me. *LOL* Whilst we have never matched his lifestyle in the UK and probably never will…. In May 2013 we will celebrate our 25th anniversary… and I can honestly say we love each other more now than we did when we first got married, even though that doesn’t seem possible. And that despite the challenges and tears, and some heartache that comes with life, marriage and especially children… there has been much more love and laughter with lots of blessings and miracles…. Adventure and wonderful memories. Have an awesome wonderful week-end, filled with love and thank-you, Mands

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Thanks, Mands. Glad that you enjoyed the post and that it brought happy comparisons to mind. Even if we don’t sign up for two year odysseys, journeys, and expeditions, we all adventure through life, experimenting with what works and what doesn’t.

Congratulations on 25 years! We celebrated our 25th in 2009 by buying a villa in Florida. Yay!

5. Tom (Aquatom1968) - February 9, 2013

Nancy, I like a story with a happy ending!

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Same here! I found Shackleton’s journey on the Endurance amazing in so many ways.

So many times for him and his crew to collapse into a heap and say, “I give up. It’s too hard.” And they didn’t. They kept trying the next thing and the next thing and the next thing . . . until they made it.

Some of the crew (who never got paid for the trip) signed up with Shackleton again! How’s that for an endorsement?

6. Tammy - February 9, 2013

I love a challenge and self discovery and the outdoors but that one just doesn’t hold an appeal for me Nancy.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I’m with you 110%! Not gonna do it . . . wouldn’t be prudent. I like mini adventures and minor discoveries. Today we went to the Crawley Nature Center for a heritage festival . . . just enough adventure and excitement for us.

7. Grannymar - February 9, 2013

NO WAY! The goose pimples on my goose pimples are shivering at the very thought of it. Brrrr!

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I agree! That LAST place I would want to spend 2 years is in a FRIGID environment. I’m happily barefoot today . . . and loving it! 😎

8. Don - February 9, 2013

The fact that there were 5000 applications tells us something about the human spirit- something profoundly attractive in hardship and challenge. Would I have applied? – No! but I sure as hell admire those who did. I had the honour of seeing the Shackleton display in the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. It was stirring and deeply inspiring. Probably one of the most gifted leaders ever.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

That’s what I thought as I was reading up on this adventure. I would NOT have wanted to accompany him . . . but I would have enjoyed having him over for dinner to regale us with tales of what he experienced.

9. seeker - February 9, 2013

Expedition, i’m a sucker for it.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Brave gal! We went on a Windjammer Cruise off the coast of Maine a few years ago. In June. That was a C~H~I~L~L~Y enough adventure for us. We wore layers upon layers the first day out. Then the sun came out and the layers disappeared. Delightful for the next two days.

I’m guessing that Shackleton and his crew didn’t shed layers for most of the 2 years they were gone. Brrrrrr . . .

10. shreejacob - February 9, 2013

Noooo…my answer would remain the same! BUT then again, I am a female in this life time…maybe if I were born a lad in those times I would have answered differently! Great story though! 😀

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Thanks, Shree. When I stumbled into this story, it really spoke to me . . . probably because of the classified ad (which may or may not have appeared in the London Times, as alleged). It made me consider who would respond to that ad . . .

Adrenaline Junkies.
Bungee jumpers.
Cave divers.
Crocodile hunters.

11. katecrimmins - February 9, 2013

Not me mon!

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Ya, mon. I hear ya, mon. 😎

12. Allan Smorra - February 9, 2013

Shackleton is THE definition of a leader. Thanks for sharing this story.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

As I read up on him, I thought Endurance was an aptly named vessel for THIS particular journey.

A previous ship of his . . . the Nimrod. :mrgreen:

13. Booksphotographsandartwork - February 9, 2013

Why not just get shit faced and slit my wrists in a blizzard at home?

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Well . . . all 28 survived THEIR adventure. Slitting your wrists seems a bit extreme. 😉

How about a Polar Bear Plunge in the middle of a Blizzard on New Year’s Day? Followed by a warm up in front of a roaring fire with a Hot Toddy?

14. sufilight - February 9, 2013

No way Jose, muchas gracias! Moving from the city to a semi-rural town is adventure enough for me. 😀

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

My adventures have included a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Palm Springs, a helicopter ride over the Badlands, a windjammer cruise (on a HARD bunk) off the coast of Maine . . . plus lots of lovely hikes to hidden waterfalls (accompanied by picnic lunches).

Aah . . . that’s better! 😀

sufilight - February 9, 2013

Wow! I had the opportunity to ride a Hot Air Balloon here in Oregon but was too scared! My nephew and his wife renewed their vows in a Hot Air Balloon over the Thailand skies … 🙂

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Wow! Thailand. That’s an adventure in itself. We enjoyed the ride . . . even when the basket tipped over after a very bumpy landing.

15. Sandra Bell Kirchman - February 9, 2013

I used to be very adventurous and probably would have signed up…in my 30s. But not now. However, the tale was quite inspiring and a real showcase of the courage of the human spirit.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I can’t think of any point in my life when I would have signed up for THIS adventure . . . too cold, too dark. But I might have signed up for a trip down the Nile, or a cruise up the Amazon, or a visit to Bali Hai. 😎

16. ericjbaker - February 9, 2013

I don’t even like pictures of snow.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Now that I live in Florida, the photos of the Blizzard in Boston don’t send shivers up me timbers. But when we had to deal with the white fluffy stuff every winter . . . Brrrr! 😯

ericjbaker - February 9, 2013

Thankfully, we only got about 4 or 5 inches here. I was even able to get Chinese take-out for much.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Interesting . . . now I’m craving Chinese take-out, but the snow still leaves me cold. 😉

17. Andra Watkins - February 9, 2013

I didn’t do the poll, because I’ve read a lot about that particular bit of history, and I knew the outcome. I have long been an admirer of those souls who set off into the unknown, probably because I couldn’t imagine doing it myself.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

I think that’s it . . . we admire them for marching into the unknown (while we stand on the sidelines cheering them on).

18. Connor @ MyNameisConnor.com - February 9, 2013

Oh wow, yes! To walk in places men had only dreamed of? Couldn’t keep me away.

nrhatch - February 9, 2013

Go, you! I can see you now . . . parked on the ice in a parka, feeding the penguins, grinning from ear to ear!

Connor Rickett - February 10, 2013

Feeding the penguins, eating the penguins. Whatever the situation called for. 😉

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

I’ve heard they taste like chicken . . . if cooked. And like sushi . . . if raw. 😉

19. diannegray - February 9, 2013

I find it hard enough traveling interstate! LOL – too cold for me and I love my creature comforts too much 😀

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

At this point, a pre-requisite to travel for me is a COMFY BED at night. I’m guessing that the Endeavor and camping on ice floes wouldn’t fill the bill.

20. Nancy Curteman - February 10, 2013

Too cold and difficult for me. My idea of roughing it is turning the electric blanket on low.

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

Yes! In fact, I’m a bit like Goldilocks . . . I want things “just right.” 😀

21. bluebee - February 10, 2013

Bitter cold? Nuh.
Theirs is an incredible story, Nancy, but they can keep it, haha.

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

Exactly my thought. They can have the honor and applause . . . I’d rather be warm. 😎

22. kateshrewsday - February 10, 2013

Such determination in the face of adversity! Like Apollo 13 this was a successful failure.
Love the poll!

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

Good comparison. Of the two missions, I’d have chosen Apollo 13 ~ the resolution after disaster struck was so much quicker . . . with a better view in the interim. 😀

23. Carl D'Agostino - February 10, 2013

If it was the Enterprise with Picard, I be gone is a flash.

nrhatch - February 10, 2013

Aah . . . the Starship Enterprise “going where no man has gone before.”

24. jannatwrites - February 10, 2013

This has the same attractiveness of a “mom” add (I signed up for that one though :)) I still wouldn’t have answered that ad, even knowing they were successful.

nrhatch - February 11, 2013

While Shackleton’s honesty is admirable, the only way he would have got me on the boat is in shackles. Even then, I would have been kicking and screaming and making a fuss. :mrgreen:

25. Three Well Beings - February 11, 2013

I don’t think I’d survive…I really don’t. 🙂

nrhatch - February 11, 2013

When the temps dropped to the teens, the wind howled off the bay, and the sun faded from view, it was all I could do to muster up the courage to walk down the driveway and pick up the mail.

I is a WIMP! :mrgreen:

26. William D'Andrea - February 11, 2013

It’s an adventure that I would thoroughly enjoy; but only while seated among the members of the audience.

nrhatch - February 11, 2013

I feel much the same . . . make it into an IMAX 3-D Adventure Ride and I’m on it! 😀

27. viviankirkfield - February 13, 2013

Great post, Nancy! Yup…I’m no fan of bitter cold…so my answer would be a definite”NO”! But I do take my hat off (unless it is bitter cold) to those adventuresome souls who, over time, have braved hardship conditions to discover something, invent something or stand up and speak out for something.

nrhatch - February 13, 2013

Same here, Vivian. They are brave courageous souls, indeed.

28. Perfecting Motherhood - February 14, 2013

I can’t stand the cold so you couldn’t pay me enough to take that trip!
Now, you need to be honest here. Yes, they all survived, but how many toes and fingers did they come back with??? I’ve heard of plenty of North Pole and South Pole expeditions in the early days where explorers came back a little lighter…

nrhatch - February 14, 2013

Shackleton suffered frostbite for sure . . . not sure about the rest. But they may have left a few digits behind with the freezing sub-zero temps.

Perfecting Motherhood - February 14, 2013

That’s what happen with you deal with low digit temperatures. You lose a few digits on the way…

nrhatch - February 14, 2013

And let’s not even talk about what happens if you try to lick the flag pole. 😯

29. Haiku Monday ~ Survival | Spirit Lights The Way - December 20, 2013

[…] posts:  Would You Answer THIS Ad? * Wikipedia – […]

30. Danger! Danger! | Spirit Lights The Way - July 27, 2015

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