What does “the Arctic” bring to mind?

Cold? Ice? Polar bears?

For me, it represents a spirit of adventure. There are so many places in world that are more accessible than ever, and you can find adventure in any one of them. (I mean, with the right attitude you can find adventure in your back yard, but I digress.)

The Arctic, however, is something special. It is characterized by its inhospitable environment, its harshness, its… well, its temperature. It might not be the first place you would think of for a getaway. But in such a challenging place, you are bound to find amazing things. We ourselves will often develop in the most interesting ways through our challenges. This is one of the reasons adventure travel for women is so important. In the Arctic you can find landscapes, cultures and entire ecosystems that have developed through the harshest conditions imaginable.

This is the first article of a little mini-series we will be doing on Arctic travel. To get us started, here are just a few reasons to consider a visit to the Arctic.

Out of the Ordinary

It’s not as though no-one ever travels to the Arctic – if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be offering the ladies’ tour packages to the Arctic that we do. (Northern Lights ExplorationRealm of the Polar Bear Express, and another Northwest Passage…) However, it is an unusual choice for a vacation. Anyone who likes to be a little unique or try something completely new will share my interest in this kind of trip. For those who have a desire to strike out on their own, an extraordinary location is important. Just the act of choosing the Arctic as your destination can make you feel adventurous – and that’s before you even get there.

The Cultures

For those that have an interest in culture and its evolution, visiting the Arctic is a must. There are so many different Arctic cultures which have developed in response to challenging conditions and environments, varying from country to country and continent to continent. The incredible histories of traditional Inuit communities, for example, can be amazing to explore. Seeing the way that an ancient community has developed alongside and into modernity is one of the fascinating perks afforded to world travelers.

Or perhaps you enjoy food tourism – there are some delicious, weird and wonderful experiences to be had in the far north. I mean, who doesn’t want to try bread that’s been geothermally cooked using an Icelandic volcano?

The Wildlife

Viewing Arctic wildlife is more than just taking a few snapshots, it’s an entire biology lesson. Without the boring note taking. Each animal that you encounter will have been specifically designed to survive – and thrive – in its incredibly demanding environment. Polar bears, reindeers, whales, walrus, muskoxen, the list goes on. Each of these animals affords you a greater understanding of the place that you are visiting.

These might even be your only chances to see some of these amazing creatures. I’ve yet to hear of a humpback whale in an aquarium – not that it could ever compare to seeing one in the wild, even if it was managed. Seeing a whale breach is one of the most breathtaking experiences you can imagine. And, although a few of these animals can be found in zoos, now might sadly be our last chance to see them where they belong.

The Cold

Maybe you already live somewhere where cold is expected for part of every year. Many do not, however – or at least, your idea of what “cold” it might be a little gentle. Of course, our women’s travel tour groups don’t intend you to go and risk frostbite. However, you will still get to experience a vacation in an environment that has been created and shaped by its extreme temperatures. I can’t speak for every traveler, but for me, experiencing something I have never felt before is always a win. Whether this is a polar plunge into frigid waters to get the blood pumping, or trying a walk that requires ice grips on your shoes – these things belong on a travel bucket list.

Friends

There are those who have braved these landscapes alone – more on that later in this little Arctic series, by the way! But for the rest of us, a journey to the Arctic will mean traveling in close proximity with others. Coaches, charter planes and cruise ships are all staples of Arctic travel. And this is what Brave Women Travel is all about. It’s not just what you experience, it’s who you experience it with. Our ladies only travel groups mean that you can benefit from the mode of travel as well as the destination. For first time travelers, you can also benefit from the peace of mind that comes from a contained, close-knit group of like-minded women to have as a base.