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Travel Stories

Wilderness Medicine in East Greenland

By Lauren Deeley, Adventure Specialist at Natural Habitat Adventures

I was O…VER…WHELMED. I was there. You’ve been there too. And if you haven’t yet, you’ll probably be there someday. Though I sincerely (if unrealistically) hope you never do. Life had been steamrolling me in every way I could imagine. My physical body was a wreck after two years of injury. My relationship was disintegrating. I had to move out of a house I loved. My work was starting to suffer. I was in that head space where, when someone asks how you’re doing, there’s a 70 percent chance you’ll burst out crying because you don’t even know where to start. It was NOT GOOD. I spent most of my plane ride to Iceland crying because it was the first time in I-couldn’t-tell-you-how-long that I’d been able to sit quietly for more than four minutes. I didn’t know it then, but that was when the transformation started…


© Jennie Lay

 There’s a magic thing that has always happened to me in the wilderness: The farther I get from civilization, the deeper in the backcountry I go, and the more open and expansive the views get, my breath starts to deepen; my pulse slows down; I sleep… And my head starts to clear. The first morning I woke up at Base Camp Greenland, I stood on a rise and looked around. I was up early, well-rested, awake. My eyes were open and clear. My breath was deep. My lungs were full of air that had come off the Greenland ice sheet, rolled across the fjord and flowed into my body. I suddenly was aware of my arms reaching out, wide and expansive. I think my body felt the magic before my head did.


© Kristin Hansen

Sometimes the medicine we need isn’t the over-the-counter stuff. Sometimes we need the high-test, full-potency, take-only-as-directed-and-only-under-a-doctor’s-supervision stuff.  Ya know, the good stuff. East Greenland is the good stuff. It took a wilderness that vast to give my thoughts enough space to spread out. And as cold air coming off the glaciers blew away the mental clutter, I saw what I’d been missing for so long. It felt like meeting an old friend. So, I take it back. I sincerely hope you DO find your limit in life and seek something bigger in nature. Because I want nothing more for you than for you to go out and meet yourself again, fresh and clear, filled up with good wilderness medicine. I recommend East Greenland as an excellent place to start.


© Colby Brokvist

Header image © Ralph Lee Hopkins.
Get a Dose of Wilderness Medicine on Our Greenland Adventure
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East Greenland Arctic Safari

East Greenland Arctic Safari

Encounter raw Arctic beauty and witness climate change in action from our remote luxury expedition camp near the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. Explore by boat, kayak and on foot, where very few travelers ever venture.

  Photo departures available
9 Days / Jul–Aug / From $12995 (+air)
Limited to ~12 Travelers
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