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Where you’d rather be says a lot about where you are. When things are achingly still you dream of cities with taxis and steam issuing from manholes; if you’re exhausted it’s white sand and blue water. At the moment — and I suppose I should be worried — I’m dreaming about Greenland and Svalbard and far, far north Canada. Talk about getting away. 

There’s something so attractively off-putting about the north. Antarctica seems like such a friendly place by comparison, with all the penguins and the baby fur seals and stuff. I think the thing that frightens me about the upper north by comparison is all the things up there: volcanoes and hot springs and mountains and a few trees and actual towns. Nature is so much more unforgiving and unpredictable. I mean, nobody’s done an Arctic Happy Feet

I like the idea of a trip up there: arriving in Helsinki and going down to Oslo via Lapland, then up to Svalbard, Iceland and maybe the Faroe Islands, Greenland and finally the upper reaches of Canada. I want to go to places where people don’t have surnames and universities have thirty students; I want to see lakes and hills and wastelands that haven’t been touched by another human being for months. On a sort of sad note, I can’t help but wonder how long it can stay uncorrupted. 

Immaqa — maybe. Someday.

(ps: for the record, the picture is of Switzerland. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use it and I guess I got impatient.)


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