My less than graceful trek to Abisko

The Groundwork

All packed and ready to leave for Abisko, Photo by Quinn

All packed and ready to leave for Abisko, Photo by Quinn

I had very little idea of what to expect from Abisko. I did my research and talked to the right people. Yet, it was picturing myself being there with no hiccups that was impossible. For packing, I had to have a strategy. I found a balance in priorities between warm articles to protect against the cold and things that would pack up tightly. I had a feeling I would be the only Canadian student in Abisko, so I felt I had to prepare myself in a different way from other students. I also don’t have a supervisor at my home university, so I made it a priority that I knew what I was getting involved in. I researched the Sámi people, Umeå University, Swedish climate policies and even learned a bit of Swedish (very very little that later proved to be absolutely useless). Besides the fear, I felt a bright excitement. I was excited to represent not only Nova Scotia, but Canada and hopefully bring a different perspective to the inspiring work. In the end, I had prepared and packed enough, all that was left was to take a leap into the dark to a place where, ironically, it will never get that dark with the northern summer 24-hour daylight.


Saying Goodbye

I had just arrived home in Nova Scotia after studying across the country in British Columbia this past year. I was so pleased to see my family, friends, and dogs. The greeting was short lived though, as I was leaving for my journey to Sweden quickly. I was sad to leave so soon but I think my dogs would understand. I cherished our time together then grabbed my bags for the door.

Saying goodbye to one of my dogs, Louis, in Nova Scotia, Photo by Tara

Saying goodbye to one of my dogs, Louis, in Nova Scotia, Photo by Tara

The Trek

It truly was a trek. First, a 13-hour drive to Montreal from Nova Scotia, a flight from Montreal to Brussels, then Brussels to Stockholm. At this point, I was pretty proud of myself. I had been productive in the car and on the plane, and I was in the right country, so the rest of the journey seemed feasible. I was wrong. I neglected the fact that I had to get from the airport in Stockholm to Central Station. This part of the story is a bit shameful and not at all graceful. A 50-minute trip by transit turned into several hours. I will skip over the details of this confusion for my own dignity. The combination of not having internet or an international phone plan, in a new place was not an effective mix. Despite all this, the kind people of Stockholm helped me, and I finally embarked the train. It was a rather long but pleasant train ride to Abisko. I imagine I could have made it easier on myself, a total of 40 hours of traveling is not anyone’s idea of fun. But, I wanted to fly as little as possible to reduce carbon emissions and the dent in my wallet, so a long drive and train ride it was. All of which, proved to be worth it!

Ready to board the train from Stockholm to Abisko, Photo by Tara

Ready to board the train from Stockholm to Abisko, Photo by Tara

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