"We don't have any running water, but we do have a view of 7 massive glaciers on the other side of the fjord – That beats having a shower at home any day."
We picked the brains of Cecilia Blomdahl – Arctic cabin girl, dog lover, and nature addict living on Svalbard. Not does only her Instagram page give us extreme travel cravings - we also fell in virtual love with her furry travel companion and thought there might be more women out there who's curious about what it's like bringing a doggy outdoors.
Can you give us a brief introduction to your fluffy friend?
- My dog is a beautiful Finnish Lapphund called Grim! He is a goofy, crazy ball of energy that gives me endless joy.
What’s the best part of adventuring with him?
- Grim absolutely loves being outdoors so every time we head out on adventures it gives me extra joy – because I know that I'm giving him his best life. You can see the excitement in his eyes when he gets to run around in the snow, or pull me along when I'm on skis, or when he sees a reindeer that he wants to go say hi to.
Are there any things worth thinking about before heading out with a dog?
- There are many things that are important to think about when adventuring with a dog, we always need to keep their health and happiness in mind and prepare accordingly for a successful trip. My most important ones here on Svalbard are listed below:
- I live on Svalbard and here we have very cold and brutal seasons where the temperatures can plummet to -30C. We have something called permafrost, which means that the ground is permanently frozen and this can be very cold for the dog’s paws. So, I make sure to bring paw hiking "socks" that Grim can wear on longer hikes. Svalbard is also very remote so when we head out on longer hikes we leave civilization far behind, I therefore also bring with me a first aid kit to be prepared for anything that could happen.
- It's also very important to think about their hydration, so when it's winter here Grim will eat snow and stay hydrated that way otherwise I need to carry extra water for him.
Any specific breeds that are easier to bring on adventures than others?
- It's SO important to choose a dog after it's characteristics and what weather they are adapted to, and not by the look of them. A Finnish Lapphund for example is the perfect Svalbard dog. They are made for cold harsh winters, have super thick fur, and can sleep outside in cold weather without a problem, and they generally enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, sledding, etc. Before buying a dog, research a lot, and choose one that suits your lifestyle and climate.
If you don’t have a dog, is it possible to 'rent' one to bring in the outdoors? We've heard about things like that in Sälen.
- You can't rent a dog here on Svalbard, but if you are experienced and want to borrow a dog, some people might lend you their furry friend for an adventure. Grim is not going anywhere though, haha!
How come you moved to Svalbard – what did your journey look like?
- I moved to Svalbard about 5 years ago and actually only planned to stay for a few months. I however fell in love with this frozen magical land and realized that this is the perfect place for me. We live closely with nature here, experiencing everything each season has to offer and also appreciating everything that nature has to offer. Whether it's four months of constant sunlight or almost three months without any sunlight, in all these extremes, there is peace. There is nothing more to do than enjoy it, you can't change the weather, you can only choose to enjoy it. Right now I live in a cabin, 10 min outside of Longyearbyen, with my boyfriend. We don't have any running water, but we do have a view of 7 massive glaciers on the other side of the fjord. That beats having a shower at home any day!
And ofc, we're curious... How does your Astrid Wild gear serve you at Svalbard?
- I LOVE my Astrid Wild clothes. I have generally struggled to find nice, stylish outdoor wear, and trust me - I've looked. My Astrid Wild clothes make me feel good, and you can really tell that they are designed for women by women. Nothing is uncomfortable and there is plenty of room in the right places. I'm really hoping to see a 100% merino wool thermal set come from Astrid Wild in the future, as it is a staple in any winter wardrobe. Until then, I will enjoy my beautiful pieces of clothing, and feeling like a snack when I'm out adventuring in them.
Thank you heaps Cecilia, for letting us have a little sniff at what seems like a truly amazing lifestyle in the Arctic. We hope we're ever fortunate enough to go there ourselves. ♡