Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat

Arctic poppies, Ilulissat


 Im writing from the little red cabin next to the Upernavik Museum on Baffin Bay. Its Day 2 for me here in Greenland. It took four full travel days to make the journey via Europe, and the time was addled by late flights and missed departures. (Aargh!!!)

Im so very relieved to have made it and my single duffel bag too!! Everything still feels a bit surreal and exhaustion is probably heightening my sense of disconnection and mild confusion. Its a lot to take in at once. The population of Upernavik is largely Inuit, and I am painfully, obviously foreign- the only Anglo on the plane in fact. 
I have so many questions!!

What I know so far: the sun never sets, there isnt much ice left in the bay these days, there are lots of sled dogs here, and the sea air is sharp, pungent and (refreshingly) moist. I have 35 days here, alone.

Ive managed to learn two rudimentary phrases in Greenlandic: Ayunngi, which is similar to “how are you?”… and Qujanaq which means thank you.

So far, Ive only taken photos and done some video recording in Ilulissat on the way to Upernavik, where I had a long layover. Here is a bit that I filmed near the icefjord, which also happens to be a World Heritage Site. Its truly stunning.

Iceberg in Ilulissat... Incredible!!!

Already I can hear the rattling din of my own inner monologue. Produce something worthwhile here, the incessant expectation that I carry with me everywhere. Make sure you do something that matters. And what if I cant, what if I dont?
This, even though my world is now pared down to the utmost simplicity. Upernavik is a quiet place, far removed from … just about everything. I have no phone and internet use is limited to times when the museum is open, which is irregular and random as far as I can tell. And then I am charged for it. Its expensive.
Today Im composing offline, looking out at the cold ocean, which is literally only a stones throw from the rocky shore. An iceberg sits there, biding its time, waiting to join with the sea. I feel as if Im waiting for something too - perhaps just someone to talk to. Communication. 

Edge of the glacier from the plane between Kangerlussuaq and Ilulissat

More icebergs in Ilulissat

Helicopter landing at Ilulissat airport

Dwarf Fireweed at Kangerlussuaq, a former Cold War Era, US military base where I spent the night last Friday.

Airport benches upholstered in sealskin, Ilulissat


  1. Breathtaking scenery, and what an honest description of the feeling of your isolation and loneliness so far from home, and the fearful messages your brain is feeding you. You have already done something that matters - you jumped, and you already know how to land.


    "Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine." Buddha

  2. Oh yes, I second what Claudia has said! Your honesty is powerful and you have indeed landed. And when things are tough, know that I am here communicating with you and sending you love through the distance.

    Your photos are gorgeous!!! And the anticipation of seeing video at the end of this incredible journey is one well worth waiting for. Thank you for including us all in this adventure.


  3. Look at you being all awesome n stuff.
    You got dis!