Two young dreamers from Kāpiti are taking their dreams into their own hands, booking themselves onto an expedition to Antarctica at the end of the year.
Caleb Jack, 21, and Aurelie Bray, 18, are self-proclaimed adventurers and environmentalists who believe in education through experience.
After organising the Pickle Pot Be-In, a new music festival in Paekākāriki at the start of the year, helping organise events and taking part in environmental projects such as the School Strike for Climate campaign, the couple have learned all this experience is more valuable than what they've learned on a classroom or on paper.
"If there was a degree for being a change maker and world shaker, we'd sure be on our way to getting one," Caleb said.
"We have determination, self-drive and optimism and that mindset is all we know we need."
Seeing an advertisement by travel writer and blogger Liz Carlson who is running a trip to Antarctica, the couple applied for the trip and were accepted.
"We jokingly said if it's less than $10,000 we would do it, and when we got all the information and transferred it to New Zealand dollars it turned out to be $9600," Aurelie said.
"The only thing I feared was this great amount of money," Caleb said.
"Antarctica is a word on everyone's bucket list, but no one's calendar.
"We've found that despite being one of the most daring places to go, travel to the south end of the world is simply reserved for the 'economically fortunate' or 'academically gifted'.
"We want to change the narrative of Antarctica and show that it is possible for like-minded young people to venture to the places they might deem themselves 'unqualified' to go."
The couple will travel on the ice strengthened expedition vessel The Ocean Endeavor, leaving New Zealand on October 30.
Starting in the Chilean town of Punta Arenas and finishing in the Argentine seaport of Ushuaia, the trip is two weeks long with four days spent on the Antarctic Peninsula.
They will visit the white continent of unspoiled wilderness uninhabited by man, where the penguins, seals, whales and seabirds are the true rulers.
There will visit the Sub-Antarctic South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula while taking in icebergs, glaciated mountains and volcanoes and partake in daily zodiac excursions and onshore landings.
Onboard activities including educational lectures on history, geology and ecology by the onboard expedition team with additional activities during the voyage such as sea kayaking and snowshoeing also available.
"This trip will see us engage in lectures, experiences, and conversations with scientists we could only find on a crazy trip to Antarctica, to bring home to our communities," Aurelie said.
"I've heard from someone who went to Antarctica that it is not like the pictures you see, it really changes your mind on how you view the world and how you view our impact on the environment.
"I'm most excited about the lectures and seminars we will receive while on board around the environment and its inhabitants.
"I'm looking forward to learning about the current state of the environment in Antarctica and seeing if it is like what we read about and see on all those nice brochures for Kathmandu and Macpac."
The trip will take most of the year to fundraise for.
"We are going to be modelling our entire year around fundraising and working for this amount of money," Caleb said.
"It's a lot of money and the journey to Antarctica is a story in itself, it's almost a two-week boat ride.
"When you tell people you are going to Antarctica they treat it like another planet.
"It's so untouched and so unknown.
"To discover what it's like to be there, nothing else in the world can prepare you for that."
With a hard year ahead of working and fundraising money, the couple are hoping to show others that if you want something, even if it seems unreasonable it can be manageable.
To support Aurelie and Caleb on their expedition contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.