For six and a half years I immersed myself in all things polar. The day began with a perusal of Arctic and Antarctic news, which I shared through this blog, and most recently, the Linkedin group – Polar Professionals. Five days a week, from 9 to 5, the polar regions were forefront, and when the worked called for it, the weekends too!
I am now free to redefine myself: free to take on a new persona. Evolve, as my pal Trish is wont to say. Yet, I am not ready to let go of the polar in me. There are places in the North I’ve yet to see. The South is my siren’s call.
First step, then, is to consider how I can retain polar in the evolution of me. Redefining is out. Evolution is in. Stay tuned.
Where do you spend most of your time playing in the online sandbox? Twitter, Facebook, WordPress? Most of us belong to more than one social network. However we tend to play in one more than others. [Why one network rises to the top like cream would be an interesting study: note to self.]
Because of my vocation/avocation, I have a 3-way tie for favourite sandbox, with WordPress being the community that I couldn’t live without on a desert island. Linkedin and Facebook are two communities with completely different personas. Linkedin is button-downed, business like – that’s a sandbox where I have to stay clean and neat when I’m playing. Facebook, on the other hand, is more like a clean pair of jeans and a comfortable t-shirt. It is my favourite virtual pub.
On Linkedin, in March 2010, I began a “group” – Polar Professionals. The goal was to create a cross-discipline virtual space where people whose work relates to the polar regions could share information and points of view. I didn’t imagine that it would grow to 150+ members from around the world. Academics, researchers, travel professionals, retired military, and business people with a vested interest in the Arctic and Antarctic belong.
What’s the value of belonging to Linkedin’s Polar Professional’s group. One member says it is the subject matter specific URLs to what the world is writing about the polar regions. Another says it is the networking capabilities.
If you are a polar professional or just profess to be passionate about the Arctic and Antarctica – check it out.
Polar Bear, Arctic Ocean near Franz Josef Land
One of the reasons you may never have heard of the place is its name. Brits refer to the entire archipelago as Spitzbergen. Real name – Svalbard. North Americans spell the name of the large island in Svalbard, Spitsbergen, but seldom use it to refer to the destination. Svalbard is the name North Americans prefer.
If that wasn’t enough – the islands are Norway’s Arctic Paradise – a region of the High North not on the radar on the western shore of the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a shame, because the islands have a lot to offer. In 8-days you should see every Arctic icon – polar bears, walrus, glaciers, tundra, Arctic fox – and even reindeer. Not so in the Canadian or Russian Arctic- where vast distances can mean you have to wait for days to see wildlife.
If you are looking for completely different destination this summer – try Spitsbergen, Svalbard. You’ll get 24 hours of continuous daylight and memories to last a life time.
So your partner says, “Why would anyone want to visit Antarctica.” You’ve cajoled and pleaded and the answer is always the same. Why not give a book about the Arctic or Antarctica for a birthday or Christmas?
There is a good list on the Quark site. I’m partial to the Andrew Lambert or Adrian Raeside books, but then I’m a polar history buff. There are some lovely coffee table pictures books in the remainder bin of your local box store bookshop you could try. Hard to resist if your partner likes beautiful things.