“Durante 25 años he estado en la búsqueda del viento, reconocible a través del tacto, del oído y en la sensación que provoca al secar mis ojos.”

Ignacio Oficialdegui (Pamplona, 1967) is a chosen one among the 50 most influential explorers in the world by the Explorers Club of New York in 2022. Both his work life – as a pioneer in wind energy – and his free time – he has journeyed through the interior of Antarctica without a motor – are subject to “something invisible that drags me, something that transmits life to me. Something that can be perceived through touch, in hearing, something that is felt in the eyes and dries them out… I have spent 25 years searching for the wind,” summarizes this explorer by training and by birth in this piece of Luces Largas, the Renault project that showcases the journey and projection of Spanish talent, while he puts on his boots to start walking through a snow-covered Navarre Pyrenees.

Even as a child, when he held a map in his hands, he would go out in the mountains to try to locate hermitages. “I would escape to see if I could reach them. I have had that feeling of exploration since I was very young,” he says, wrapped in the glow of a fire made with beech wood from the Roncal Valley, in his house in Uztárroz, where he goes on weekends as soon as he sees the weather forecast announcing snow. There are few things he likes more than being surrounded by ice and stepping on places that no one has stepped on and that can be in Navarre or the North Pole. This eagerness led him to southern Greenland in 2000, to an unmapped territory. He saw an advertisement in a specialized magazine looking for candidates to undertake that job and he went there. This island, mostly covered in ice and under Danish control, has begun to attract tourism. But when Oficialdegui stepped on it, it was an adventure fit for an explorer, not a visitor.

The vicissitudes of life, he recounts, led him to the world of wind energy in the 1990s. He traveled to countries in search of suitable locations to install wind turbines. He still dedicates himself to it, now as an executive in a large energy company in Pamplona. Oficialdegui or “Ofi” as his wife Celina affectionately calls him, while he busies around the house – preparing a broth for the guests – he spends his vacations traveling with her and their three children to countries where they have previously lived, such as Rwanda, and exploring with friends always snowy and cold places that ignite him, such as the North Pole or Antarctica.

“The interior of Antarctica is the only undisturbed place on Earth. It is the control, as scientists would say, of what the planet is like,” he describes while driving with amusement on a snow-covered road. “When you are surrounded only by infinite ice and you realize that life is not possible there, but you are there, it’s like saying, well, this is a luxury, you see that you are nothing, that at any moment you can go ‘boom’ and be extinguished,” he describes. “On the other hand, you feel part of it, and this is something that gives immense energy and pleasure,” he concludes. The next expedition, while a larger one is confirmed, will be an early morning outing with Celina through the Navarre Pyrenees, near his home.

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