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Caroline Van Hemert - A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds.

Caroline Van Hemert - A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds.

Caroline Van Hemert, PhD, is a biologist, writer, and adventurer whose journeys have taken her from the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean to the swamps of the Okavango Delta

In March of 2012 she and her husband (Pat) set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.

Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace -- migrating birds silhouetted against the moon, the steamy breath of caribou, and the bond that comes from sharing such experiences.

During this podcast, Caroline shares more about her love of nature and birds. Plus, why she decided to embark on this adventure, she talks through the planning, the logistics, the finances, the challenges faced and what she learned from this experience. Caroline has also published her first book about this challenge - The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds.


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Show notes

  • Caroline introduces herself

  • Growing up in Alaska

  • Studying for her PHD - birds and bird beaks!

  • How she met her now husband, Pat

  • Getting married in 2008 at a cabin they build in South East Alaska

  • Where the idea came from for this challenge

  • Coping with a variety of different challenges from her PHD to family illness

  • Working as part of a team with her husband and being focused on the logistics

  • Getting the maps out and starting to plan!!

  • Telling friends and family about the challenge….

  • Why she starts telling people - accountability

  • The power of lists

  • Coping with the unknowns during planning

  • Hard core stats

  • Having 1 year to plan and prepare

  • Money?

  • the Arctic!

  • Starting at the beginning

  • Bellingham - the start line and being overwhelmed

  • When reality set in

  • Getting back to nature

  • An overview of the trip and the different segments

  • Dealing with the physical transitions

  • The biggest challenge and why it was a mental challenge

  • The impact of adventure on relationships while out in stressful environments

  • The one moment which made it all worthwhile

  • Getting back to “normal” life

  • Her transition into motherhood

  • Advice and tips for other women - “Don’t be afraid to DREAM BIG”

  • Her NEW book - The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

  • 10 years studying a scientific mystery…


Social Media

Instagram: @sunisacompass


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