The Polar Tica
I am Melania Guerra, the Polar Tica (that is what we call someone from Costa Rica) and I would like to take you with me on a journey to explore the unique environments that exist at the edge of the planet... without you having to freeze!
How did I go from Costa Rica to the poles? Thanks to Science!
When I was five years old, my grandfather gifted me a book about the archeologist who discovered the ancient city of Troy, by chasing and digging after clues. It was the first time that I recognized that some adult jobs were full of adventures, discoveries, inventions and travels.
Right there, I decided that "when I grew up", I would also have a profession with all of those elements. I went from wanting to study dinosaurs, all the way to dreaming of becoming an astronaut. I did not know it then, but it was scientific curiosity that lied at the root of all my cravings to be an explorer.
With effort and dedication, I pointed those aspirations towards an exciting career as an oceanographer. Today, thanks to my job as a scientist, I have been able to embark on incredible expeditions to far-flung locations, even underneath the ocean. But my heart was especially captured by the most unfamiliar and opposite place to the tropics where I grew up: the Arctic!
After a decade of exploring the North Pole, this year I will have the exceptional opportunity to take part of a journey to the other extreme of the planet, the Seventh Continent, Antarctica, joining the exclusive ranks of only a handful of Costa Ricans who have done science at both poles.
Through this page, I want to bring my extraordinary personal experiences and scientific knowledge to people who are curious about the extreme environments that lie above the high latitudes of the planet.
Reaching them involves complicated logistics and intense training, requires taking personal risks, disrupting social stereotypes and constantly challenging oneself to leave the comfort zone behind. I think these are qualities that we can all apply in our day-to-day lives.
It is also urgent that we learn more about these polar ecosystems, because there the troubling effects from climate change are amplified and consequences are triggered that affect us globally, touching us on a personal level, wherever we may live.
Follow me to discover the wonders at the edge of the planet, the science that explains their connection to us and the adventures that come from living in a frozen world.