Where does one begin to describe a trip that was so wonderful that words won’t do it justice, nor pictures, because nothing can really convey the experience of being there. To use words by Barry Lopez from his book Arctic Dreams: “What one thinks of any region, while travelling through, is the result of at least three things: what one knows, what one imagines, and how one is disposed.”
I had read up a lot about the Arctic, but as always there was so much more to know. I had imagined what this trip would be like for more than a year, yet my imagination could still not match the experience itself. And I was disposed towards soaking up the adventure, leading to periods of massive FOMO when there were too many choices or my body was craving sleep.
The trip had it all: wild animals, magnificent landscapes, more kayaking than I could have hoped for, wild storms and rough crossings on the ship, and most importantly, a great group of people to travel with. Since disembarking in the harbour of Reykjavik this morning I have gradually been getting used to being in civilisation again and walking out my sea legs. The last two weeks I have lived in a microcosmos, with a small group of people you get to know better and better, and without access to telephone or internet, so even a small city like Reykjavik was a bit overwhelming at first.
Being disconnected from phone and email was absolutely wonderful and I highly recommend disconnecting when you have a chance like this. It was probably a week into the trip that I realised that I had not had one thought regarding work or anything else; I was simply in the moment and I stayed in it for the entire time.
The small part I have seen of the Arctic feels like a timeless place; or at least one where our conventional perception of time is irrelevant. In the next few days, in between sightseeing and flights back home, I will attempt to write up the experience in separate blog posts, bearing in mind these wise words of Barry Lopez that “because you have seen something doesn’t mean you can explain it”.