Life before Swoop
I grew up dreaming of being an archaeologist and it was this love of digging in the dirt that got me travelling. After working in Italy, Israel and Ghana (and travelling around the world for a year) I finally ran out of money and realised I was going to have to get a real job, so working in travel naturally followed. A love of the wide-open expanse of Patagonia soon led me to Antarctica, and then the Arctic, and I never looked back.
Away from work I have three kids who keep me busy, but if I get some time to myself you will most likely find me on my bicycle somewhere with a trailer and a tent pedalling off into the distance.
My polar experience
In 2007 I was lucky enough to visit the Falklands, giving me my first taste of polar wildlife, and I knew I had to go back. The following year I was on board the icebreaker Polar Star following in the footsteps of Shackleton to Antarctica, South Georgia and back to the Falklands (where I couldn’t resist jumping ship to go exploring again). That initial love of the south naturally took me north to Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland and through the Northwest Passage.
These regions seem to provide an almost endless source of breathtaking moments. I’ve watched beluga in the midnight sun and polar bears fighting over the remains of a washed-up whale carcass. I’ve camped on the Greenland ice-cap under the northern lights and walked on the sea ice at 81 degrees north. Yet somehow I feel like I’ve only just got started exploring this vast region.
Why I love polar travel
The remoteness, the escapism, the ever-changing seascape, the scale of everything, the raw nature and fight for survival in incredibly harsh conditions are all big factors that draw many travellers to the polar regions, myself included. Not forgetting, of course, the stories of men like Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, Franklin and Ross, all of whom have been lured in by the ice.
The biggest pull of the Arctic is the people and the variety that offers. This is a widely populated zone that takes in mining communities in Svalbard, First Nation communities in Northern Canada and reindeer herders in Russia, to name but a few. Draw up a quick list like that and you soon see why people spend as much time as possible exploring the north.
Day to day at Swoop
Being truly bi-polar I am involved in both Antarctica and the Arctic, helping travellers book their perfect trip out to the ice and - whenever I can - getting there myself.