By now you all should know that I’m a sun worshipper. I’d be perfectly happy to chase summer for the rest of my life.
But lately I’ve been lusting after Lapland and the arctic region. They seem so exotic – so extreme. The way I see it: if you’re going to do winter, you might as well go big or go home. In this case, “big” = remote, rugged, wildly scenic, and really freaking cold… i.e. all the qualities that really define this region.
I don’t share a Wanderlust Wednesday post every week, or even necessarily every month, because you can’t really plan your wanderlust. I love for the inspiration to come organically, ideally learning about an enticing new destination through a casual conversation with someone who’s been there.
On that note, I recently caught wind of a fascinating place called Svalbard: a Norwegian archipelago situated about halfway between Norway and the North Pole. You really need to look at a map to understand just how far north this land is. There’s not much else beyond it before you hit the North Pole! I can hardly wrap my mind around that – or the fact that Oslo, capital of Norway, is closer to Africa than its own archipelago. Or that there are more polar bears than humans on Svalbard.
… But you know, that does make sense. Svalbard’s icy landscape provides an ideal setting for all sorts of arctic creatures to thrive, one that most people likely couldn’t endure year-round.
Unfortunately, Svalbard is not a budget destination. Because of its remoteness, getting there is a bit of an expensive mission. Then once you’ve arrived, getting around and taking advantage of all the wintry outdoor adventures will cost you an arm and a few legs and likely a good amount of frustration, which is why most travelers opt to travel with a group rather than independently.
Still – it might be a travel splurge worth making someday. Where else can you stalk polar bears, cruise the fjords, and feast on reindeer in a Sami tent with the locals?