I’m new to this so you will have to excuse my meandering attempts at blogging. Originally hailing from Co. Donegal I left Ireland in 2006 to see what mischief I could get myself into…. it certainly has been an interesting few years.
I have always had a keen interest in learning about new cultures and exploring off the beaten track. After completing my first trekking trip abroad to Morocco I was hooked on combining travel with authentic experiences. What better way to learn about another culture and its’ customs than by engaging with its’ people and listening to their perspective on all aspects impacting on their daily lives. You will often find that your own perspective and priorities are prioritised and refined after reflecting on these encounters.
Since my first trek abroad in Morocco I have been very fortunate to travel within Nepal, USA, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East, Tanzania and various countries in South East Asia. I try to use homestays and local guiding companies, where I can, so that my money goes directly to the local people and assists them to become more self-sufficient. I’m a firm believer in providing people the opportunities and the tools so they can sustain themselves and their families. Longer term I believe it’s better than just giving them handouts; which makes them reliant on others for their survival and prosperity.
As time has progressed I developed an interest in high altitude regions. I have trekked to Everest Base Camp and to the summit of Kilimanjaro. I also was due to attempt Mount Elbrus in Russia, but with only a few weeks to go my work commitments put an end to that.
Over the last ten years I have worked in the UK and in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi move was certainly a shock to the system – temperatures above 40c and regularly approaching 50c are not known to agree with Irish people with pale complexions and ginger hair!
Having worked in Saudi Arabia for the last few years, I decided to take a sabbatical in May 2016 and travel around Asia. After two months at fitness camp in Phuket learning Muay Thai I started to research possible winter activities. I fortuitously stumbled upon Ice Warrior and their world first expedition #Lastpole, which will be attempting the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility, otherwise known as the Arctic Pole.
Many of the core principles and aims behind the #Lastpole resonated with me:
- I am certainly a novice at polar travel / exploration…I have absolutely no polar skills! The opportunity to push my boundaries and to become competent and self-sufficient in polar travel is a relished challenge;
- Climate change and global warming are an enormous threat to the survival of both humankind and the natural world. I found that throughout my travels and the many discussions with my guides and local people a recurrent theme kept cropping up – changes in the local weather patterns / erratic seasons / unusual climate occurances. I could relate to this anecdotal evidence as the visual evidence is apparent in many places;
- The opportunity to partake in citizen science and to gather datasets / empirical data / evidence will further develop and strengthen the scientific communities’ understanding of climate change and global warming. I can only hope that my input will assist in the better understanding of how climate change will impact upon us and our future generations; and
- The opportunity to relay my experiences and findings, and to be part of something truthfully worthwhile that is for the betterment of humankind is always a positive goal to have in life!
Cue many hours of research and day dreaming of high Arctic exploration which turned up the following…
I was hooked and an email was quickly dispatched to the #Lastpole lead polar explorer, Jim McNeill. A follow-up phonecall later that week to Jim, and a flight was quickly booked so I could return from Asia to attend the Expedition Core Skills course in Dartmoor in late October / early November 2016.
My Arctic journey has commenced…….