I’m sitting here, in my new room in the Arctic city of Tromso, with starry fairy lights behind me and a glass of wine placed on the edge of my desk, waiting for me to take my next sip. It’s an organic wine I bought in the airport’s tiny duty free store – three walls of liqueurs, wines and beers, and some chocolate stands arranged like an obstacle course for visitors to slalom our luggage in between as we make a bee-line for still-affordable alcoholic treats.
The snow outside has started melting as this January has experienced unusually high temperatures (a few degrees above freezing). It almost deceives you into thinking it won’t be so cold out there. And then, at the opening of a window, the wind bursts through with its icy reminder that you are still in the arctic circle.
I left my boyfriend, family, my flat and flat mate who is and has been my best friend for over half our lives, for this arctic wonderland. I was here, well actually much further north, four years ago working as a husky sledding guide. A role my best friend and I fell into. A role that quite conceivably set the course for a new life, and a maddening love for the arctic.
And ever since that first arctic winter, I have longed to get back. Pined for the snow and the cold, the smell of woodfire and pine trees on the breeze. Ached to get back to hiking the mountains carved in the ice age. Hoped to hear the sounds of one hundred huskies howling under the northern lights.
Fast forward to now, and I am back. I packed my bags, and for three short months I will be living in Tromso. The Arctic capital. Do I question my decision – occasionally. Do I think it was the right thing to do?