By Nadia Eckhardt

I saw my first polar bear in the summer of 1990, aboard the Society Explorer. Before that first expedition in 1990, I was new to the idea of what a trip to the Arctic was all about, but I soon found out!

An Arctic expedition is the thrill of gearing up at a moment’s notice and boarding zodiacs to go whale watching, birding, and walking, all without a set, cruise ship-style schedule. The spirit of an expedition allows for flexibility to navigate remote places and adjust plans, should there be a polar bear meandering on a nearby shore. Time onboard is shared with a small group of like-minded travelers, great meals and cabins, and stories shared from the knowledgeable expedition team.

I have experienced and learned so much on my Arctic journeys, and it has been a marvelous time, starting out as shopkeeper, zodiac driver, and then cruise director. Throughout the past 20 years of Arctic expeditions, I’ve been fortunate to return on many different expedition vessels with the leading ship trip companies. The chance to photograph spectacular polar bears and walrus, and experience Arctic scenes continues to inspire me to return.

Whether exploring Greenland, Iceland, or Svalbard, the Arctic will be a trip of a lifetime!