Several Faces of Svalbard

To clear your mind, you're always told to go on a walk. And when you're in a foul mood, you're told to take a hike! Well, in order for my mind to think a bit more clearly on how to adapt my project, I took to the mountains again with my hiking guiding angel, Philipp. It may be an age old cliché, but I really did need some time outdoors to step back and think about things from a fresh perspective. 

I think you begin to get a lot wiser, at the very least practical, the more time you spend away from a routined schedule. Philipp has been guiding for years now in Sweden and more recently in Svalbard, which explains how it is so easy for him to talk me through my own cloud of frustrations, not to mention all the things he is currently dealing with. The vast majority of issues become fairly minor when you accept you can't change the day to day hurdles that arise. In the end, all he seems to really need are his dogs, a sled,  and ideally a few feet of snow. That's the good stuff right there. 

Someone else who has and will continue to have a role in my project is the man who helped get me here. His name is Åsmund. What he is doing with the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre is some of the most fascinating work that, until very recently, I had never considered its importance in my own life. Having an archive of crop diversity amongst similar strains of the world's most vital crops will guarantee food security for the changes and fluctuations in our future climates. Take a peak at the hand delivery of seeds to Åsmund at the local airport, as well as a snapshot of one of the film crews interviewing the Norwegian property management representative as she explains the temporary lock-down of the Vault. 

And when in doubt about what to do next, go on a Norwegian mining tour. Why not! Svalbard was originally colonized for its coal potential in the early 1900's. Over the course of a few decades, power transferred between American, Norwegian, and Russian hands. It was a constant give and take of desire and monetary value for all three countries. I took an afternoon with a group of Norwegian engineering students to learn about the various progression and decline of mines across Longyearbyen.  I was the only native english speaker on the tour, so the whole tour had to be conducted in English for me... ah well for the Norwegians! They might speak english very well, doesn't mean they enjoyed it on the whole tour.  :0