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.
If you followed us back then already, you will know that our social media accounts and website fell silent, except for occasional short bursts of activity or some vaguely outdoor-related posts. Although we had included our hiking and other exercise activities in our activity streams before, it was always meant to be about exciting Polar trips. And with that element missing, it all felt a bit pointless. 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?
The good news is: we are still here. While you’re reading this, thank you for sticking with us all this time. We haven’t given up on Polar adventures and are still keen to get out into the cold. We managed to semi-regularly visit each other again starting from late summer of last year and while the Omicron variant in December was for sure an ‘ah, shit, here we go again’-moment, it luckily did not impact international travel as much as we initially feared. So we felt pretty confident to make plans again.
Of course, we won’t be able to just pick off where we left it two years ago. Both Lauren and myself don’t feel as confident about our skills and physical ability as we did back then. We didn’t have a single day out in the snow in the last two years, so we will likely have to relearn the ropes before considering any big adventures. As a start to that, we will go to Norway at the beginning of April 2022 for some skiing and winter camping. We will spend a good week on the Hardanger Plateau, starting from Finse and depending on how confident we feel, we will either go further south onto the plateau or just stick around the Finse/Geilo area, relatively close to civilization. There are no expectations other than having a good time out there and seeing if our kit and routines still work.
Depending on our experience in April, we will decide on the next sensible steps to take. However, besides the aspect of skills and physical training, both of our lives have changed considerably compared to two years ago. Without going into personal details, it is simply possible that we will have a hard time fitting such an extensive endeavour as a self-organised Greenland crossing into our lives again soon. Organising the Nansen2020 expedition was a stressful experience for both of us, straining our free time, our finances and also our relationships. We will have to consider these learnings should we ever find ourselves discussing the choice of reviving the project. We might instead opt to simply join a guided tour or just remain content with smaller scale expeditions, where the resource commitments are more in line with what we want to bring to this hobby.
For the moment, we will remain on our path as Team Fram and will continue to share our journey with you, hopefully with some more regular content starting again from now. Thank you for following us and sticking with us through these changes.
Keen hiker and ÖAV trekking and hiking guide, in love with Nansen. Owner of the most walk-averse rescue dog ever. Ice cream lover, kit junkie, runner and mad software genius.