The realm of childhood dreams is vast and mighty. While some want to become a princess or an astronaut (or both), others yearn to drive to the end of the world… on a tractor. Dutch theatre maker Manon Ossevoort (38) is still one of the latter, but that will soon change. Only a couple of days ago, the ‘Tractor Girl’ has started an incredible journey to two destinations: the South Pole, and childhood dream fulfilment.
In 2005, Ossevoort already started a long first episode of her tractor travel chronicle. After four years, her loyal mechanical quadruped halted in Cape Town, where the pair sadly missed the boat to Antarctica and the opportunity to complete the odyssey’s highly-anticipated epilogue. Disappointed and frustrated, the Tractor Girl went back to the Netherlands to focus on her career and her family. Yet somewhere deep inside, she ardently kept wishing to conclude the interrupted pilgrimage one day.
Last Friday, that day finally came. Overlooking the Antarctic scenery were Ossevoort and a Massey Ferguson MF 5610, both specially equipped to defy the biting fangs of frost. Together, they embarked on a 4500km tractor trip from the Russian research station Novo Base to the South Pole and back again. As the motorised warhorse needs to be in constant motion, the Tractor Girl and her mechanic Nicolas Bachelet will alternately drive twelve hours, hoping to cover 100 to 200km a day. A camera crew will tape every snow-crunching step of the expedition. Considering the allotted time of four to six weeks, Ossevoort will more likely spend Christmas with her tractor than with her partner and her 10-month old baby girl.
Among the many valuable luggage items are thousands of digitalised letters and e-mails, filled with wishes of other passionate dreamers. Ossevoort aims to conceal the messages inside a snowman on the South Pole. In eighty years’ time, the people of the future will dissect the soft white fellow and subsequently be able to read about the dreams of today. Hopefully, these will all end in festive accomplishment as well – we have a hunch, however, that most of them will take place in less glacial settings.
To follow the tractor tracks without freezing from hair-line to toenails, visit the antarcticatwo website.