“I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams” – Eleventh Doctor
Well, not quite the Moon, but I’m still going on a pretty epic journey. And today, it officially begins! At about 4pm I’ll be leaving my lovely home in Pebworth with some of my family to make the trip down to Heathrow airport. Our flight takes off just after 9pm tonight and we travel to Stockholm. We will wait in Stockholm overnight, then fly to Oslo before flying on to Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
This is a trip I first heard about when I was 17 on an open day to Aberystwyth University, and it was immediately a trip I wanted to be involved in. I am so lucky to be able to begin this trip today.
So, in this last week I’ve had to say my goodbyes to family and friends. WARNING: Soppy post time (sorry not sorry). The hardest of all was saying goodbye to my lovely boyfriend, Tom, and only a couple of weeks away our 1 year anniversary. I’m hoping my present will make up for my absence on the day.
I’ve also had a lot of fun trying to pack my suitcase. My Mum bought me a new suitcase as most of our current ones are old, heavy and knackered. So now I was equipped with my new, lightweight and fully functional suitcase, it was time to go through the ordeal of deciding which of my clothes I had to spend the next 5 and a half months with and which wouldn’t make the cut. I also had to pack bed linen and towels, and try and fit in some pictures to try and decorate my new room when I arrive.
Earlier today I booked an extra bag in the hold. This was mainly to reduce my stress levels in the airport and allow me to be able to take a few more warm clothes and some other items.
Now I’m pretty much ready to leave, and it’s a daunting few days ahead. I’m a mixture of excited, nervous, and also a bit sad to be leaving behind so many great people for the next few months. I am incredibly happy that my immediate family and Tom will all be coming out to visit me in March, making the gap between seeing them slightly smaller and more bearable.
Next week, hear all about my first few days in Svalbard. Hear how I’m settling into my new home and how the safety training course is going.
“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible” – Albert Einstein.
I’m Lucy, 23 years old, Astrophysics student from Aberystwyth University. I’m about to set off to explore the arctic for 4 and a half months with 6 other students from my course.
This whole blogging thing is completely new to me. However, it seemed like a good idea to try and get used to it for a such a big trip. Please bear with me 🙂
In a week’s time, my journey to the arctic will begin. Myself and the other 4th year Astrophysics students will be flying to Svalbard on 7th January to complete our final semester of our degree. When we arrive there, we begin our trip with a 6 day training course, the AS-101 Arctic Survival and Safety Course. This will be followed by our 2 exams from 2 modules which were studied back at Aberystwyth University this semester. Once that is all complete, we’ll be ready to begin our new modules in Svalbard under the new university.
“Watch out for the polar bears!” – A popular comment from many concerned friends. Not to worry, I get rifle training in the AS-101 course. (To be used responsibly and only if absolutely necessary, of course).
The photo above is of Longyearbyen, home to the The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the largest settlement in the Svalbard Islands. Unfortunately, I won’t be staying in Longyearbyen, but I will instead be setting up camp about 3km out of town in Nybyen in the barracks.
“No, I will not be staying in an igloo” – the answer to one of the most popular questions I’ve had on the run up to this trip.
If I’m lucky, I’ll find a second hand snowmobile at an affordable price. If not, it’ll be enduring a cold 6km walk to the University and back most days. It’s all part of the adventure though.
There’s just a bit of an introduction to me and what I am about to face. I am nearly ready to go, having been given a lot of warm clothing for Christmas and my Birthday. My family were also generous this year and splashed out on a GoPro for me to take some wonderful arctic photos.
Next time, get ready to hear about my stressful time trying to fit 5 and a half months of my life and warm clothing into 31 kilos.