North

We’re 10 days into this trip. 3,000 kms covered overland, a lot of that on gravel highways.

We have been in Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Han territory.

It is hunting season and animals are migrating as the seasons shift. People are preparing for winter.

We have crossed 3 mountain ranges, passed through several different eco-regions. We’ve taken ferries across the Mackenzie and Peel rivers and crossed at least a dozen others. We made our way to the Arctic Ocean and carefully dipped our hands in the water. We camped on the beach at Tuktoyaktuk, coming to know what evening looks like at the end of that northern road in the late summer. We’ve been remote in a way that has been, in moments, quite humbling.

We’ve seen foxes and bears and moose and eagles, tundra swans, owls and more. We’ve tasted some new (to us) food. We’ve met people who live like us and people who don’t, our kids always commenting on “how nice everyone is here.”

Many of the communities we have visited have been small. There are less than 45,000 people in the NWT and less than 36,000 in Yukon Territory. The land, however, is vast.

The biodiversity is the most astonishing. I am not sure what I expected when we crossed into the Arctic Circle, which had existed only in my imagination as the words in italics we always see on maps and as a very narrow vision of what it actually is.

This is why we try to travel when we can. So we can share with people in distant places, coming to know more of each other than we did before. To spend some time telling stories, asking tentative questions, to see and smell and witness what life is elsewhere. To answer questions others may have of us and the ways we live.

Always, there are differences. But always, too, similarities. When we land on those shared things, we find each other in learning, connection and understanding.

Connection is what the world needs of us now. The world is vast. May we keep finding ways to understand its depth however we possibly can in journeys both near and far.

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