My ultimate inspiration for traveling has always been a world map – and every time i’ve looked at Europe, i’ve been fascinated by the mysterious land mass above Scandinavia – Svalbard, which is home to Longyearbyen – the Northernmost town in the world!
Svalbard has been hitherto very expensive to get to, but thanks to SAS & Norwegian flights (and now Finnair) – that’s no longer the case.
I flew in from Helsinki, via Oslo & Tromso (though i wish i did a stop in Tromso, in hindsight).
The port city and most habitable part of Svalbard is Longyearbyen, a town of 2,000+ people where carrying a rifle is mandatory due to the threat of polar bears. Established by American explorer John Munro Longyear as a mining town, Longyearbyen is now an enchanting Arctic paradise for thrill seekers, nature lovers, researchers and students (especially in the climate change space).
I have a pretty simple theory when it comes to traveling to new places: If normal humans live there, it’s worth visiting.
Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, I started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'. An epic life-changing trip to South America an year later gave birth to this blog, Exotic Gringo.