Dream it. Do it.

It starts with a dream, and ends in a memory.

Home Safe June 19, 2011

Filed under: Training — Celina @ 8:55 am

Hello Everyone! I got home 3 days ago and have basically been eating and sleeping my days away. All I can say is that my body is in a state of shock from the 1) 7 hour time change, 2) going from constant activity to very little activity, 3) and not eating my daily rations. I’m hoping that by Monday, I’ll feel back to normal.


Once again I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me on this trip. I am including a couple of pictures for everyone to enjoy and will be posting more next week. I hope you enjoy the pictures. If you want to hear more about my trip I’ll be giving a talk at Novack’s so stay tuned for that. Enjoy!

Cool Research


Great Views



Arctic Trip – Day 16 – Updates June 12, 2011

Filed under: Training — Celina @ 11:35 am

On Friday Air Canada has made a statement that may affect Celina’s trip. We all know I am talking about the Air Canada strike that is planned to commence on June 14th, 2011. At first I thought that for Celina it would mean cancelled flights, accompanied by nights in a hotel in London until there is another way of flying back home to Toronto. Fortunately that is not true since Air Canada promised the following:

We have been advised by the CAW – the union representing Air Canada’s call centre and airport customer service agents in Canada – that it intends to proceed with strike action as early as 12:01 a.m. EDT, June 14, 2011, in the event an agreement is not reached.

Please keep in mind, however, that if call centre and airport customer service agents walk off the job, we will continue to operate our full flight schedule.

You can read their complete statement here.

Air Canada - keep your flights going!

Their intention is to ensure their customers get to their destinations safely and on time. In case of delayed or cancelled flights there is a service people are directed to:

In the event that your flight is delayed or cancelled, you may be eligible to rebook your flight using our self-serve delayed and cancelled flight service.

Unfortunately they are already experiencing delays at providing customer service, so even that service might not be that reliable.

The flight to London at the beginning of Celina’s trip towards the Arctic was threatened by Iceland’s erupting volcano, Grimsvotn. Now the threat comes from Air Canada. To read more about the strike click here.

Grimsvotn, Iceland's active volcano erupting

Let’s all hope that her flight will not be delayed or cancelled.


A trip to the Airport June 9, 2011

Filed under: About — Celina @ 7:52 pm

I wanted to relate this story to you, since I find it quite interesting.

When Celina and I have arrived at Pearson airport, to catch the flight to Oslo, via London, UK, we noticed a very interesting art exhibit on the platform.

Northern Canada

On the opposite wall we see where Celina was heading, the goal of her expedition: To the Arctic!

The Active Layer

The Active Layer is defined in the above picture as: the soil that denies but also permits life, oscillating between freeze and thaw temperatures. I thought it was interesting to find such an exhibit in the airport right before Celina’s departure. Then again, if Celina would not have went to the Arctic, but for some reason we would have gotten to the airport, then the exhibit might not have been so worthy of making the blog. For more exhibits displayed at the airport here are two links to follow: the permanent exhibits and the changing ones.

Dinosaurs in Terminal 1 on Pearson Airport

Yaaay! A gigantic aquarium! What fun

A little bit of fun before such an unexpected trip was gladly welcome by both of us.

Celina will be on her way to Oslo on the 14th of June. From there she will fly to London, UK and then to Toronto where she will land on the 15th of June. Let’s all hope for no delays on her flights.


The long expected update June 8, 2011

Filed under: Training — Celina @ 10:17 pm

Well folks, the update we’ve all been waiting for has recently been posted by the BSES on their blog. I will shortly relate what information they have posted online and then you can also choose to read it from their blog.

Because I grew inpatient I called the London emergency phone number of the BSES, which was provided by Celina before leaving to Svalbard, Norway. This has been most unhelpful. They have guided me to their blog. Reading through the online articles (they posted quite a lot yesterday…) I realized there was more than one expedition in the Arctic, lead by the BSES. In fact one expedition has been there for the past 6 weeks. They were talking about snow blindness like it was a common walk in the park. Surely that can put us to rest…

Enough with the side chatter, here’s the content you’ve been waiting for. Celina’s group is called the Environmental Course or Enviro. I shall relate the events in chronological order, starting with the 29th of May.

As you all know, on the 29th of May Celina has landed in Longyearbyen, Norway. The next day their boat ride to Base Camp 3 has been delayed by high winds. I did not know of any boat ride, until I read the article.

It seems that Cat Boggs was the science leader of their first expedition, which lasted 5 days. They have trekked to Glacier Camp, at the bottom of Wimenfjellet horseshoe (which I assume to be a rock formation). The goal of the expedition was to study glaciology. All their projects have been successful. Enviro has concluded that the glacier has melted and the snout receded roughly 100m up the hillside. All these projects have been conducted in a rough climate, different than the one in base camp, with freezing temperatures and lots of snow (2.5m at times). The group has also checked on 2 unnamed glaciers, previously found, which still exist today. They had to climb up and over Wimenfjellet horseshoe to get to them. In unwelcoming weather conditions, that must have been a hard task. In her last day at Glacier Camp Celina has helped measure the surface height of the Wimanbreen by subtracting snow depth from altitude at numerous points across the glacier.

The trip, as Cat relates, has been thoroughly enjoyed by the Enviro students. They all had a very productive time at Glacier Camp.

The group has already returned (I assume sometime within the past 2 days) to base camp. The second phase of their studies started, the biology and ecology phase. I am sure Celina will love this last phase, especially the ecology part, where she will be able to provide great feedback due to knowledge gained from research and courses.

I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I have!

PS: Celina will be back home in 1 week.


What movies not to watch before a trip June 3, 2011

Filed under: Dreaming — Celina @ 10:24 pm

Hello everyone!

My gut would definitely not let me watch the movies outlined below. Horror movies are not really my thing. That being said, every time I plan a trip my mind drifts to some of these movies. Is it so bad to watch them? Some movies get me more prepared and more aware, but some just frighten me.

Here’s the list of what movies NOT to watch before a trip:

1) Hostel – Good things to take from this movie: Never stop fighting! Even though most of the time the viewers see the dungeons, Slovakia is really not that bad to visit, or is it…

2) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – To think that this movie is based on real events… brings shivers down my spine.

3) The Hills Have Eyes – Lessons to learn: Always think of back up plans! What if… ? Yes, after watching this movie the “what if” questions seem to gain more priority than a mere “meeeh we’ll see when we get there”.

4) Wrong Turn – I suggest you try to make the least amount of wrong turns when on trips. I haven’t watched this movie, so I’ll stop here with my “smart” comments. Mmm not before I suggest buying a GPS to everyone!

5) Vacancy – As much as isolated hotels attract me, I think I’d rather plan a bit more before picking the hotel this couple has. You might say: But what about spontaneity? And you might be right, I’d give in as well and I’d just live the moment.

6) Turistas – I decided against watching this movie when it first hit the big screens. The trailer just did it for me…

7) Captivity – How about: Don’t become famous, people will be after you (probably because of money, most of the time).

On the bright side I’d like to suggest a movie, which was a bit scary, but definitely a display of continuous fight, a never giving up attitude and hard decisions. I guess the movie was mainly about one hard decision… 127 Hours

Any comments? Jonathan? Silent George? Anyone else?

PS: I have linked this post to the “Dreaming” category of the blog. This time, it’s bad dreams. Still, as anything else in life, I am sure each of the above movies/bad dreams present some good lessons to learn from.


Celina’s itinerary – From London, Ontario to Svalbard, Norway May 29, 2011

Filed under: About — Celina @ 5:14 pm

Hi, this is Horia. I shall keep you up to date while Celina is on her Arctic trip.

I have some news for you already. Celina’s third flight for the day has just landed moments ago in Svalbard, Norway, where she will be spending the night. This has been a tiring trip. She has to recharge her batteries since in the morning a 12 km skiing trip awaits them all with the goal set: get to Base Camp.

I am not in direct contact with Celina, but I am following her expedition’s blog. They check in with the BSES London Office once a week.

I thought you might want to see Celina’s itinerary so I prepared a map for you all. Enjoy!


Final Trip Preparations May 25, 2011

Filed under: About — Celina @ 4:21 pm

Preparation. Planning. Goal Setting. I always thought I was good at them all, but I think I’m lacking one of them? I don’t feel like I’m prepared for this trip. If I were I wouldn’t have much to do this last week . . . right? Somehow I found myself browsing Novack’s shelves one week before the trip. I guess this is a learning lesson: All the preparation, planning, and goal setting in the world won’t help if you don’t act on them in a timely fashion.

So there I was. In Novack’s. Staring at socks. Completely confused.

Lucky for me Andrew, my Novack’s go to guy, intervened and steered me in the right direction. He suggested a high and medium cushion wool hiking sock from Smartwool. I got a pair in my favourite colour, green, and wore them today. Let me tell you they felt like heaven! The sock is light with just enough cushion and it has amazing wool wicking capabilities to keep my feet dry. Even wearing them with my boots in 20°C, my foot was dry.

Next, I was off to search for pants. I’ve been having sleepless nights trying to figure out what pants I would need to bring. Most of the pants I have are not suitable for the Arctic. They’re all too big on me (since I’ve lost weight thanks to my workouts and eating habits), and they are nowhere near warm enough.

My team at BSES told me that Svalbard has been experiencing warmer than expected temperatures. That just makes packing harder. I don’t know exactly what to expect when it comes to temperature. I have been told to bring one pair of warm and cold pants. I’m not too sure how two pair of pants is going to last me for 18 days.

This is me asking Andy for advice; and no, I did not ask him if I looked fat. Do I?

Andy was there every step of the way, sharing valuable tips. Like . . . make sure I can squat comfortably.

After, I found a good pair of warm and cold pants, I needed to find an outer shell that would keep me dry. There is no way I’ll be staying warm if I’m wet. Don’t laugh at the picture, these pants need to be big enough to fit over two other layers. So my layers will be as follows: base layer (Icebreaker), warm pant (Columbia) or cold pant (Misty Mountain), and the waterproof outershell (Marmot).

Feeling relieved to have found suitable pants, I looked at a down filled jacket. Ever since I’ve lost a bit of weight, I do find that I get cold easier and let me tell you this jacket is crazy warm. When I went home and started packing, this jacket by Sierra Designs,  squeezes down to about the size of a pair of socks. Perfect for my limited backpack room.

Before I left there is one thing I made sure NOT to forget . . . my Go Girl. I’m sure every girl can admit to wanting to be able to pee standing up. It would be so much more convenient. With Go Girl, I finally can.

Thanks to the generous gear donation from Novack’s, leaving their store with two bags of gear was definitely something to smile about. What can I say? I’m definitely feeling a lot more prepared.

Fingers crossed the volcanic ash won’t cancel my trip.


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