My Arctic Honesty
"My Arctic Honesty – Excited or Not; Slop & Poo!"
When we were first told about our trip to Sweden and the Arctic I had thoughts of being really excited and also being very apprehensive.
Being told that we would be doing dog sledding, ice fishing, snowmobiling etc didn’t faze me in the slightest. Being a very outdoors type person I enjoy things like scuba diving, sky diving, general adrenaline type activities; and also loving travel & different cultures, this was the part I thought I’d cope well with and was actually excited about.
However, what I was generally apprehensive about was spending time in literally the middle of nowhere, with people I wouldn’t choose to go away with. Now that may sound like I don’t like the people I work with, but that certainly isn't the case.
People that know me know that I am a person who likes to analyse things before acting on them, and then be in control of situations. I knew straight away that this wasn’t going to be possible and that is why I realised instantly that this wasn’t going to be a ‘holiday’!
So as comfortable as I thought I would be on the back of a sled being pulled by husky dogs, I had no idea what to expect and what I would do when other people were struggling, falling off, going slow, not pulling their weight and even worse; not trying and letting others do it for them.
When we settled in on our first night at Mushers Lodge David gave us a little run down of what we could expect, including chores we would be expected to do. So we proceeded in only the fairest way; picking chores for each day out of a hat!
Now I’m a dog lover but I was secretly praying inside that I didn’t get dog feeding and dog poo, as one, it’s disgusting and two, I just knew with over 40 dogs this wasn’t going to be something you could do in 10 minutes! I pulled my first piece of paper out the hat; dog feeding and care....great! I pulled my second piece of paper out; dog poo!! I couldn’t believe it!
It takes a lot for me to ‘lose it’ as my natural behaviour is quite calm and to think things through. So I don’t normally get to breaking point...but with this who knows what will happen!
David later on in the night once again got us all together and made a speech on the reasons for the trip and one thing stuck in my head that he said; ‘what happens in Kiruna, stays in Kiruna’! Which I was really glad to hear because this basically meant I could be myself and things wouldn’t be held against us!
Was I right?
Yes, the dog care took forever whilst everyone else was getting drunk in the sauna. Did I care? No, as you actually get such a satisfaction from chopping up frozen dog food with an axe, adding reindeer meat and hot water to basically make a slop!
No I’m not being sarcastic; when you have been pulled for hours by your dogs in those conditions you very quickly realise how special they are and you come attached to not only your own dogs but everyones.
So the dog care was extremely rewarding and I got to bond and have a laugh while doing this with two of my colleagues; Amanda & Julie as they also pulled this chore out of the hat. You’ll have to ask them if they enjoyed it though! Yes everyone else was in the sauna but they had also worked hard doing their own tasks.
My other chore, dog poo! Again what was I worried about. I did this with Adam and laughed all the way through it; with the odd occasion of us heaving from the smell!! It’s basically like playing pitch and putt on a snowy frozen golf course!!
Was I right to be apprehensive?
No! I’ve worked at Access Point for 12 years now and I thought I knew my colleagues, I do, but I personally now feel I’ve bonded with them on a different level and that I did not expect. I got more from this experience than I ever thought and in areas that I wasn’t expecting.
Everyone was amazing, did people fall off the sleds, yes but got straight back up and were determined not to let it beat them.
Did anyone give in, no! Did we go slow, yes but it didn’t matter as we did it together.
If one person fell off, we all did, if one person was struggling, will all did, if one person laughed; we all did! Oh and we did get to go fast as well, especially on the snowmobiles!
There is so much more to tell you but I’ll let the rest of the team tell their stories and my blog doesn’t even touch base on how well my team performed running the office while we were away. I’m sure there will be some fantastic blogs to come from them.
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