Lauren and I set out to become Polar explorers in late 2017 and we made steady progress towards our defined goal of crossing Greenland in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen. Almost exactly two years ago, we were violently thrown off track by the onset of the Covid pandemic. A lot of the things we had taken for granted and relied on for our endeavours suddenly disappeared. An endless array of cancelled courses and training trips. No reliable travel plans, no in-person meetings for scheming and planning. Thanks to Brexit, not even a convenient postal exchange between Lauren and me – which we used frequently before to exchange kit. To say all that was a hit for our motivation is putting it mildly. Fast forward through countless cancelled attempts to meet up in-person and postponed training trips or courses to today, early 2022. Where are we now as Team Fram?
When I first learned about Fridtjof Nansen, it was because of his groundbreaking achievements in Polar exploration. He was the first to achieve an overland traverse of Greenland and set a record for farthest North during his Fram expedition. His unique approach to expeditions and inventive talents would serve as an example for other great explorers, such as Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, and Peary. Apart from his Polar achievements, Nansen was also a dedicated Scientist and became a respected diplomat and humanitarian later in his life. His achievements in both these fields are just as remarkable as his Polar exploits and well deserving of a blog post on their own.
In honour of International Women’s Day, and International Book Day, I thought I’d pull together a short list of the “adventure” books which have moved and inspired me the most over the last couple of years.
Many of my favourite experiences have started the same way. I see something – an event, a race, a course, which is 10 months away and think “that sounds like fun”. So I sign up, excited at doing something new and feeling pretty badass. Then the day arrives and I find myself standing on a jetty, or the start line, or climbing into a minibus and I think “what the f**k have I let myself in for?” My heart pounds and my palms sweat as I realise just how inexperienced and out of my depth I really am. Who am I to have thought that I could do this crazy thing?
Every story has a beginning, and of course, so does my own Arctic adventure. Talking about how I got into this seems like a fitting first post on our blog. Of course, everyone getting into any kind of adventuring has different motivations and backgrounds. Lauren’s story is already entirely different from mine, and your own story will be different too. So reading about my motives will probably be one of the least helpful posts to appear here. What’s important for this blog is that eight months ago I was just an average guy, nowhere near thoughts of Arctic expeditions or greater adventuring in general. So what I want to cover on this website is my journey from zero to seasoned Arctic explorer. Hopefully, this will prove helpful and inspirational to you if you find yourself in the position of planning an adventure yourself, but doubting you can do it or not knowing where to start.