Back to my time aboard the Polar Prince, I remember the feel of the wind, raw and cool to your skin, the waves, tossing us about on the wide open sea, the vastness of the landscape, the voices of my fellow travellers, and the incredible hospitality of the people of the land. Twenty one days, from Tuktoyaktuk to Prince Rupert, what was an opportunity of a life time, was a life changing experience that will remain with me forever. It has been a year, yes it was life changing, but why?
Was it learning and witnessing how climate is changing the landscape, the migration of the whales and the lives of those who depend upon the ocean for their well-being? Was it learning about and becoming conscious of our use of plastic and its effect on our oceans? Was it learning that there were people who used whale bones to build their homes? Was it participating in challenging conversations about our country, Canada? Was it learning about the different microorganisms that live in the ocean and their importance to the lives of the whales and other sea life? Was it the waiting for the opportunity to see the elusive polar bear, then the grizzly, then the kodiak, but it never happening? Was it putting my feet feet in the ice cold Bering Sea while contemplating the migration of people walking across the Bering Strait while wondering to myself if it was possible that the migration actually was in fact the other direction? And last but not least, was it considering what Reconciliation will truly look like, and what it will feel like in the next 100 years?
Canada C3, Leg 12 has impacted my life in many ways. Most importantly it created an awareness in me of the need always to be curious, to actively listen and to be open to other perspectives. It was for this reason that when invited to travel with Students on Ice 2018, I jumped at the opportunity. That is another story, but it was every bit a life an adventure in complexity, relationships, and opportunity as Canada C3 was for me. My greatest learning from these two expeditions and what I have come to understand is how life is made up of circumstance and interaction with people and how these interactions are influenced by the time, the geography and the experiences you share with one another.
Thank you to those, who have been responsible for making these two expeditions possible. I think it is incumbent on me because of the opportunity given to me by you, to take what I have learned, and share it wherever possible. Meegwetch.