Everywhere else just feels too crowded. But there are other reasons I’m dreaming of travelling to the Arctic!
By Chere Di Boscio
The truth is, the world is overpopulated and overcrowded. I grew up in a small town in Canada that’s now a thriving city. I moved to the Andes, and within just a few years, my neighbours went from zero to twenty five. Sadly, for those of us who love peace and quiet, there are few places left to go. And that’s why travelling to the Arctic is next on my wish list.
As you probably know, the Arctic is located at the northernmost part, characterised by extremely cold winters. In fact, the average winter temperatures go from −22 to −31 °F, and the lowest temperature ever recorded was −90 °F.
But that doesn’t stop adventurous travellers from going there in the summer and exploring the vast, uninhabited plains. And if you think that the Arctic is only ice and sea and with nothing to do but take pictures, you’re simply wrong. There are plenty of entertaining activities which may surprise you.
In fact, here below I’ve compiled some of the things I want to do most if I ever get to visit the magnificent Arctic.
Why Travelling To The Arctic Is Next On My Wish List
1. To witness the rare phenomenon of Northern lights
One of the most common reasons why people go to Arctic cruises to witness the rare and spectacular sight of the Aurora Borealis. The dancing iridescent lights are a natural phenomenon that can be seen above the Earth’s magnetic poles.
The scientific explanation is that the charged solar particles enter Earth’s atmosphere, colliding to create a stunning visual effect. The perfect timing for watching the aurora is between late September and late March. Although the phenomenon is present throughout the whole year, the Arctic sky is darkest, allowing you to see the rare beauty of the aurora.
Whether you are interested in capturing great photos or just seeing the natural spectacle, keep in mind that they are only visible in the area between 65° and 72°.
2. To spot polar bears
Despite what you may have heard about polar bear populations declining, they are in fact still thriving in the Arctic, and there’s no better time to see them than in the summer. In fact, the Arctic has an abundance of fauna, so spotting wildlife is another excellent activity for your Arctic adventure. You will likely see the magnificent polar bears ruling the icy white landscapes and hunting for food. Some of the main areas known for polar bear sights are the coast of Greenland and the Spitsbergen area.
3. Enjoying the mesmerising icebergs
Glaciers naturally grow and release large chunks in the Arctic Ocean. That’s what icebergs are. They’re much more irregular in shape here compared to those found in the Antarctic. Enormous Arctic icebergs create a stunning white and blue horizon, so don’t miss your chance to witness the mesmerising sight. Newfoundland in Canada is one of the best places to see the giant floating ice sculptures. Alternatively, visit Ilulissat in Greenland.
4. Watching birds
As I already mentioned, the Arctic is rich in wildlife, and if you’re into bird watching, travelling to the Arctic is the perfect holiday for you. Of course, the summer is when the birds are most active, so you can witness their beauty and observe their behaviours then. Surprisingly there are even some astonishing exotic birds such as the Atlantic Puffin! Jan Mayen and Fair Isle are some of the locations suitable for bird watching. Don’t miss seeing the light grey glaucous gull, the second-largest gull in the world.
5. Observing indigenous cultures closer
The Arctic is a pretty hostile environment, making it almost impossible to live there. However, various indigenous cultures have inhabited the Arctic for thousands of years. There are about 40 different ethnic groups, spreading across Canada, Northern Europe, and Russia. Around 4 million people still live in the Arctic areas, divided between eight other countries. You will be amazed by their skills to adapt to a harsh environment and survive the polar temperatures. And since they’re still quite isolated, these ethnicities haven’t been subject to globalisation, and they’re far from Westernised. In other words, their cultures are not based on consumption. A refreshing change from how most of us are living on this planet, I’d say!
So what do you think? Is travelling to the Arctic now on your bucket list, too?