North to Nowhere
Arctic circle, Finnøy, June 2016
Arctic. I look around; wilderness in the middle of the fjord. Nobody; you can almost hear your heart beat. Eagles flying above the sea surface, Elks crossing the stream, the music of the sea … and in the middle of all that a man found home. A place to raise kids, a place where he feels wonderful and satisfied with everything he has. What brought him there? After some time living with him I realised that THE question was:
What made you who you are?
His name is Robin. Englishman with an African heart and love for the Arctic. Expedition leader on the Northern Seas, writer, wilderness man, friend to a polar bear named Lucky, family man…
He had black nanny who nursed him and his first language was Swahili. Growing up, he gave a deep respect for the invisible world, which he has made with them for life.
26 years old he rowed from Shetland to Nordkapp in an open 18-foot rowboat. 12 weeks, alone on the wild sea. In the years since he left Africa until he left the Shetland Islands in a small rowboat, he has lost himself. The scenery and natural forces helped him back. It made him a man, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.
At boarding school he had his first encounter with snow. Along with inspiration from the British author and adventurer Laurens van Der Post’s stories from Africa, staked Robin heading out north. It was Svalbard for 25 years where he owned a dog sledging company. A place where he met his wife. Later they found this place, together, to create a family. Eventually this was what he wanted. Family life in the Arctic.
Through his stories he showed me that we all have to find our ‘boat’, we all have to row to the place where our dreams are home.
More of Anze Osterman’s brilliant work on anzeosterman.com