One Man's Paradise

Arctic Memories

“We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors. The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. “

Herman Melville

That’s a passage from Moby Dick.

Now that I am back from the Arctic, I had a couple of weeks time to contemplate about my summer up North.

Compared to other travel destinations few people travel to the far North, to experience foul weather, thirsty mosquitoes and a lack of most conveniences. Nevertheless, there are some, that enjoy this harsh environment. I was wondering if the inconveniences make you appreciate the little things that you have up there more.

Maybe a shelter in the woods feels more special than your standard home in a gated community. Or the blueberries that you picked yourself, while watching for bears and battling the always present mosquitoes taste better than the exotic fruits you can buy in the supermarket? Or the unexpected kindness that was offered to you feels better than the best online deal you ever got?

For me it was the solitude that came with the vast landscape, the absence of humans and their doings and the sense of self -reliance in the back country that made an impression on me.

I can appreciate the conveniences of civilized life, but in the spirit of Herman Melville, there comes the day, when I need a little bit of roughing it, just for good measure.

Brooks Range, Alaska

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