What makes people want to take on a journey like this one? I can’t speak for everyone but for me, it was that sweet combination of curiosity and the desire to connect with the earth in a way that seems impossible in today’s world. To be in a place without phone reception where connection means stopping to chat with your fellow hikers or pausing to observe a grazing reindeer for an hour. To carry everything I needed to survive on my back and to give in to nature as it provided me with water and good walking conditions for my 9-day sojourn. Lastly, to feel vulnerable and be humble while standing in the face of something that left me in utter awe of its greatness.
Reading this from your desk, in the heart of the chaotic world we live in, may make completing the Arctic Circle Trail seem like a pipe dream but it’s not. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that letting go and giving in to what the experience would offer me, instead of what I had romanticized in my mind, was the hardest part of hiking the trail. Learning to exist in silence and to allow myself the freedom to follow my thoughts, wherever they took me, was a lesson to be learned and one that I will forever be thankful that Greenland gave to me. The trail gave me everything I had wanted and more, once I let it.
At the start of the first day, the sound of our steps on the ground brought about boredom. In an overstimulated world, it was admittedly hard to walk in silence, but this changed. What started as boredom became normal, became peaceful. We found ourselves co-existing in a silent, non- chaotic way. We no longer craved the stimulation of noise and motion. Our daily routine became slow and we went about tearing down camp, setting up camp, cooking and relaxing in almost complete silence. It is one of the few times in my life I have actually been left alone to my thoughts long enough to contemplate them. If that makes sense.
No two people’s journey will be the same on the trail and that is what makes it special. Let the desire to explore this piece of the planet consume you and then trust yourself enough to book that ticket and make it a reality. You never know, you may just learn something about yourself.