Corners of the earth • errer.com

Living in the Arctic waters

Last Thursday we enjoyed a new episode of Floortje Terug Naar Het Einde Van De Wereld. In this travel TV show, she visits people who live in the far corners of the earth. In this episode, she returns to a family who is living on a sailboat in the Arctic for almost 20 years. Floortje visits the family in Greenland, where their boat is docked. It’s summer in Greenland. But the first time Floortje visited the family, they lived in Canada in the middle of the ice. Their sailboat was frozen in the ice for nine months. Conditions were very extraordinary and it was extreme cold. The temperature was -30 degrees Celsius and polar bears were walking around their boat. Their children went to school with a snowmobile. For them these are normal circumstances.

These parents are living with their two children in the Arctic waters and their sailboat is their home. They transport scientists to different places in the Arctic for research. This is their way of living and they earn money doing this. Laboratories and universities are hiring them. With their boat they support the researchers with logistic transport. Every year in spring the family returns to France for two months to visit family and friends. The children go to their school to see their friends.

Connected with nature

This family living in the Arctic is inspiring and fascinating. These people are deeply connected to the ocean life and nature. In addition, the family lives very closely together and they see each other much more than a regular family where parents go out working and children go to school. Almost immediately I thought about the isolation circumstances during the current corona crisis. But this family is used to a small living space and doesn’t seem to have a problem with that at all. Also, the children study at home, something that is happening here now too because schools are closed. For them it’s just normal.

As we watch this program, I realize that I am actually jealous on their lifestyle. The boat is their floating home and it gives them so much freedom. The untouched nature at corners of the earth in which they are surrounded. The beautiful images of Greenland almost make me emotional. As if I can relate to them and their lifestyle. The connection they have with earth is fascinating. I wish we lived so close with nature as well.

Concerns about global warming

The family explains Floortje they are concerned. The environment is changing very fast. There are other animal species, less ice and the arctic water is warmer. Mosquitoes showed up that were not there before. With their own eyes they see the Arctic is changing and it is happening in a rapid pace. ‘’Since the industrial revolution, there is a huge increase in CO2 emissions and people are the cause of this. It looks like humans are the only species on earth who are able to destroy his own environment’’, the father says it very striking.

What’s ‘’normal’’?

When I visit Floortje’s Facebook page I notice people are criticizing the parents of this family. ‘’Children should be able to go to school’’. And ‘’they shouldn’t live such an isolating life’’. But what I see is something completely different. I see happy and motivated children who are worldly wise and intelligent. Global children who are connected with mother earth.

Children of the same age who lead a ‘’normal’’ life hardly go outside these days and are disconnected from nature. Is it better to have access to huge shops and supermarkets where the choice is endless? Is it better for children to have lots of toys and games? That’s actually not normal.

In this family I see happy children who respect earth. Children who are loved by their parents and only need a playground outdoors. For them playing outside is simply enough. Sliding on ice rocks and diving in ice cold water is their backyard. And it’s not that they don’t see any people besides their parents. They meet people and scientists from all over the world.

Corners of the earth

Floortje is talking with the 12-year-old Leonie. She says she lived in Ecuador with her parents for one and a half year and she could do everything she want when staying there. But she prefers the life on the boat. The variety of villages and nature along the way appeals to her, she says. She thinks she learns more than what you normally learn at school. ‘’If there are scientists staying on the boat, I want to learn from them’’, she says.

Floortje asks Leonie what she wants to do when she is older. Her answer is touching. She says she wants to become a biologist and do research on climate change. Leonie is concerned and tells about people in Canada who are afraid of a certain bug, that didn’t live there 10 years ago. She says: ‘’We all should listen to the people who experience and feel the changes due to climate change’’. While listening to Leonie, I admire her ambitions and concerns about our planet. We need more of these children to save our planet, that’s for sure.

We have a lot of respect for this family and their way of life. What do you think of their exceptional lifestyle?

Written on March 29, 2020

Photo taken in the Blossom park, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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