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Into the Arctic with Students On Ice

I am traveling from Toronto to Ottawa and the train has just started moving. I’m passing a familiar skyline of the CN Tower, downtown, the Don Valley, and hopefully soon I’ll see Lake Ontario on my right. I lived in Toronto for 5 years and though I haven’t been back often, the scenery remains a home from home.

Ottawa will be all new to me, and I’m glad to have grounded myself in the familiar for my first jet-lagged evening. I will be met by someone from Students On Ice at the train station, and presumably a handful of soon-to-be-friends also arriving on this route. (The heavens have opened, so much for my scenic train journey.)

How do I feel? Excited, apprehensive, confident, intrigued, honoured, calm. I love the feeling before an adventure. That space which occurs after the last minute frenzy and packing of bags, and before the Next Thing on the Agenda. In this case, an IPY Arctic expedition with Students on Ice. But right now is magic time: no-one knows where I am, how to find me, what I’m doing, where I’m going, what I’m thinking. Whatever is in my bags will have to make do, whichever letters never got sent will have to wait until I return home, whatever I shall need to prepare has yet to be finalised. I can float.

I first heard about Students on Ice and their expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic in 2005, on the Isle of South Georgia, as I was returning from Antarctica. Not long after, I wrote to the Executive Director asking for a job. He didn’t have one, but we kept in touch. A year after that I started working for IPY, and two more years on, here I am. Not working for them, but with them, as part of the Education Team. I am therefore really looking forward to this

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