66 Lessons from the Arctic

I drove across Canada, from Toronto, headed west, then as far north as one could go, to Inuvik, and finally ended at Tuktoyaktuk, at the Arctic Ocean. 5 Provinces, 2 Territories, >15,000km’s later, here are 66 lessons from my journey.

Your next destination may be a dart away. Throw one and see where it lands*

Fix it move on; be prepared for your environment, but know that life happens* 

You sometimes have to go in circles, canoe included, to get where you’re going* 

Instead of asking why, consider why not?*

When you think what you’re doing is incredible, or difficult, there is someone out there to one up you, like the guy who left Argentina on foot to the Arctic. 

Go at your own pace, even it’s 50km for the entire Dempster, do what feels right to you once it doesn’t harm others or the environment*

Value is different than worth. Importance is different than cost.  Souvenirs at $100 are valuable, not worthy*

What is, is. Go with the flow. Things happen for a reason, like a flat tyre that leads to a golden eagle right before your eyes*

Small detours can be a huge blessing

Enjoy the journey not the destination

Agile, among other concepts, always existed. It was renamed.

Make sure the muskrat is dead before putting into your skin on frame canoe*

Necessity is the mother of invention; a hole can be plugged with cheese

Continue to learn, every single day. When the opportunity pops up, take it*

Kindness, a smile & laughter goes a long way.

Order a side with the Muktok bites*

Ask directly for what you want, for you may be left without water*

It’s not that hard to sleep with the sun up 24 hours a day

Don’t rely on Google in the north (the real north)

Doing the research before you get there helps and can save you a couple of kms of walking*

Talking to people solves the majority of the problem, guaranteed.

Giving it 100% shows, no matter what you’re doing*

The same place can be very different, an hour later, a day later or a season later*

No matter how much you read or research nothing is like living it or experiencing yourself*

Slow down or stop when a truck approaches; your car will thank you

Dr Seuss oh the places you’ll go and Lorax have copyright infringement on the north* 

Things are hidden in plain sight*

Multipurpose;  a road is also a runway*

Instagram vs reality*

Perseverance is key; two engines (vs four) can still get the job done*

A mother always protects its cubs.

Think before stand up paddle boarding in the Arctic. Seriously.

Weather changes quickly

The Arctic Tern flies a lot* 

Wolves are tall, moose are fast, crows can get really big, cows love to roam and graze, and foxes are incredibly beautiful. Also, stay away from animals. Let them be*

Paved isn’t always better than unpaved

No matter how bad the roads get, or how windy it goes, keep going, for what’s on the other side is truly epic.

Gravel can turn into arrowheads.

One person’s plug kit is another person’s puncture.

Simple techniques work and are universal. From blinds to soap and water*

Look around – the best views can sometimes be behind you

Obey signs. Simple is better and visuals help, like boulders*

Wash your car after the Dempster

You don’t have to take your clothes off to have fun

Constant maintenance is key, on a permafrost road, or anything for that matter*

The green mosquito coil can be found as far north as the Arctic, to the east in Toronto, and from Costa Rica to South America.

Taking off your shoes is more prominent than not*

Mosquitos can survive up to 5 degrees

Sometime you just have to ask for it and voila, it turns up, even airplanes*

Nature has a marketing problem*

In family restaurants, order what everyone is having

Locals are the best tour guides, however be selective and choose your own path. 

It’s hard to start over but you can, just like Conor*

Pay it forward

The shorter path might be the shittier path – literally* 

When you need the energy it will deliver and when you’ve had enough, you take the risk 

Everything is connected*

Nature never stops, it’s constantly changing*

Humans are innovative. Beware of pretty yellow fields* 

Protect yourself from the sun 

Sometimes it’s not worth the hype*

All couples do the same song and dance from packing bug spray to water

You don’t need 10L of emergency water

Never say no, just not yet.

Don’t blink, for you might just miss it, even a meteoroid! 

Wifi is a luxury; rely on the sun, compass and good old common sense.

Bonus – all good things must come to an end.

↳ The Arctic Circle is a line of latitude that circles the globe at approximately 66°33′ North of the equator, and this is my nod, and gratitude to the Arctic.