About Travel Polar
Adventures of an Irish Explorer
Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, they say. I’m not quite sure who ‘they’ are, but they give good advice. What I love to do is write and, while I’ve been doing that for a decade now, it definitely feels like work a lot of the time. I guess that’s down to the things I’m writing about on a daily basis.
But I also love to travel and, because journalism is not just a nine to five, Monday to Friday job, but a 24/7 vocation, packing up and travelling the world is just not an option. So I travel in quick spurts, with specific plans and, while I’ve been all over the world, there are certain places that call to me, namely the poles and mostly the Arctic with one truly amazing expedition to the Antarctic in the pipeline.
I’ve always wanted to start a travel blog but I never really had a specific niche until December 2019 when I sat in a snowsuit in Northern Sweden, soaking up the cold in the depths of the polar night.
I had fallen in love with the Arctic. Hot temperatures were never for me and I tend to hide away from the sun. But put me in sub-zero temperatures and bulk me up with layers of warm clothing and I’m in my element. Throw in a unique experience like dog sledding or ice climbing or cuddling a wolf and I’m in Heaven.
I had often attempted to write a travel blog in the past. Top tips for this. How to do that. Why you should go here, there and everywhere. But I found it all so boring and it involved so much research to ensure I had all the right information, with very little personal touch. That kind of boredom resulted in a lack of motivation, which left Travel Polar completely on the shelf.
But it struck me, almost a year after John (more on him further down the page) and I discussed this brand new venture, that what I really wanted to write about was our own story: the time we got locked into a zoo in northern Norway during heavy snowfall; the night we spent running around Stockholm because I’d lost my phone; how we came to visit Svalbard and what made me dream up the idea to go there in the first place.
Together we have visited so many places, learned about different cultures and had the most incredible experiences, all of which are treasured memories in digital photo albums or physical photo books. A photo speaks a thousand words and we’ve got plenty of those. But I find, as a writer, sometimes the thousand words alongside the photograph is what makes all the difference.
What I really want to do is immortalise the stories of our travels – to write them down so that, in years to come, we can read back over our adventures and smile at all the amazing things we did in our youth. I also want to encourage others to follow in our footsteps – to travel to some of the coldest, often remote, and always beautiful places in the world, where they will make memories of their own.
It’s probably important to note at this point that, while I say ‘polar’ travel, I haven’t travelled directly to the poles. So don’t take that literally. Take it as ‘polar regions’ because, while I like to get as close as I can to the poles, it’s important to note that the North pole itself is not on land – it’s on ice at the very top of the Arctic Ocean. The South Pole, while on land, is possible to visit but Antarctic expeditions are extremely expensive.
It’s not exclusively the poles I write about, though. In fact, as I write this, I’m slightly below the Arctic Circle, sipping coffee outdoors in the tiny Icelandic village of Seydisfjordur, with a view of the iconic rainbow road leading up to the little blue church. So you can expect some deviation from polar travel from time to time, as I drift into a story from another place.
I have to warn you, if it’s beautiful selfies, fashion, makeup and other typical blogger stuff you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s simply not me and that’s not what Travel Polar is all about. But if you’re looking for tips, photographs and stories of the North (and South), then settle in and start reading, because I’ve got a lot to say…
John is my best friend, my partner in crime and my travel companion for life. Without him, none of what I’m doing with Travel Polar would be possible. He’s the one who inspires me and motivates me and always supports me to do the things I want to do. All of this is made infinitely better with him by my side.
We met September 2012 in Galway, Ireland, recognised a kindred sense of adventure in each other and quickly fell in love. In the beginning, he was sceptical of my travel plans to freezing cold regions, but after one or two trips north, he realised that his heart lay in the Arctic too. Though he does love the occasional sun holiday, he’s never opposed to packing the thermals and the puffy coats and heading to the places that make me feel happy.
We balance each other out in a lot of ways. They do say the best couples are made up of one ‘boring’ person and one ‘crazy’ person. I’m quite introverted, so maybe I’m the boring one. John is more extroverted and willing to try new things, so I guess that makes him the crazy one. That means whenever I plan an amazing trip, complete with daily activities, tours and adventures, he’ll always find ways to make it even more fun, so that ‘this is going to be our best adventure so far’ is something that we say before every trip.
We’ve been crazy about each other since the day we met and, in October 2018, while on a trip to our favourite island (Inis Mór), John proposed and I said yes. The wedding was all set for December 2020, followed by a mini-moon in an Arctic location and the honeymoon in Antarctica in March 2021 but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, everything was pushed out a year, so were instead married in December 2021 with what we planned to be our best adventure yet (Antarctica) to take place in January 2022. Unfortunately, the Antarctic honeymoon was also cancelled for 2022, but Antarctica 2023, we are coming for you!
Here’s looking forward to a lifetime of adventures together with the most amazing husband, friend and travel buddy I could ever hope to find.
FOLLOW THE JOURNEY
Travel Polar will use a chapter by chapter, trip by trip structure. So you can start from the beginning or dive into the most recent posts. Either way, I can’t wait to share this adventure with you and hope you’ll enjoy reading everything I have to offer on Travel Polar. Perhaps one day you’ll follow my lead and experience some of the most amazing places in the world.