As I am sitting at Oslo Airport, sipping Barolo wine (yes, there is a bit of Ingrid in me, see my first novel, The Polar Bear and the Palm Tree) with my hubby and partner-in-adventure Tom, I can’t help but thinking that life ~and traveling~ is a wonderful thing. In less than two hours we will board the flight to Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost settlement of any kind with more than 1,000 permanent residents. If you read #thepolarbearandthepalmtree, you might remember that’s where Mikio decides to stay and explore new possibilities (sorry, spoiler alert!).
Although I describe the Svalbard archipelago and Longyearbyen in my first novel, I have actually never been there. Nor have I ever seen a polar bear. A friend (name withheld to protect their privacy), told me I could go to the New York Central Park zoo, to see one. The idea makes me sad and angry, as I believe animals have nothing to do in a zoo, a circus or any other show…so, for my 50th birthday/last Christmas (yes, you read that right, I am a Christmas baby), to celebrate my first novel, my husband gifted me a trip to Svalbard, to see polar bears. How fantastic is that?
And the only time to do it works out to be in the summer…when polar bears come out of hibernation (and hopefully with a few cute cubs) so here we go!
A couple of people requested a sequel to “The Polar Bear and the Palm Tree”, and am seriously considering the option. Being on an Arctic cruise around the Svalbard archipelago, where I imagined my characters’ adventures, feels both exciting and surreal. Writing and traveling are wonderful opportunities to explore the world, both real and imaginary…and I will take a little bit of all of you with me.
Author of The Polar Bear and the Palm Tree