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Greenland Started an Inner Journey

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Chanett Christensen has been to Greenland three times in a year and a half. She was in mourning and dealing with grief, and Chanett just wanted to get away from it all. Gradually, she found that instead, she had embarked on a journey of transformation.

One of the first things Chanett says when we talk to her is, “I hope I can go to Greenland again soon. I miss it. I was not ready to go home when I had to, that’s for sure.” Few people have been as impressed by their trip to Greenland as Chanett, whom we got to know quite by chance; she sat next to one of our colleagues on the plane from Greenland to Denmark.

It was not written in the stars that Chanett Christensen from Copenhagen would become an outdoorsy person in Greenland. On the contrary, until then, her trips had always gone south. All that changed when two major events hit Chanett hard in the summer of 2019:
“My holiday was different than it was intended. My boyfriend of 10 years suddenly left me, and I had also just lost my dad. He had been through a tough battle against cancer, so I was deeply unhappy. Within three months, I had lost both my past and my future.”

As I was suddenly alone, I thought, now’s my chance to visit Kathrine, my friend in Greenland. I talked to her, booked a trip, and a month later, I was on my way to Greenland. It was very impulsive.”

The Healing Power of Nature

It soon turned out that Greenlandic nature could help Chanett. “I was really, really sad, but nature just did something. There was still some snow and also ice floes on the fjord, but a Greenlandic summer feels almost like Danish spring. Greenland gives a calm like no other place I have experienced before. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but there is a deeper meaning when you get out on the water and look to the shore and experience how beautiful it is. It’s unique, and it’s so pristine.”

Chanett has been to Greenland three times in a year and a half because the first trip gave her so much that she felt she had to experience more. “Greenland can give you so much. You have to be open-minded when you get there. It’s you, yourself, who set the limits to what Greenland can offer. You adapt to things. If you want to go hiking, it is not certain that there is any internet because there aren’t cell towers everywhere. These are the terms. I also experienced this on my dog sled ride. I took some pictures, but I was also very much aware of putting my cell phone away because I had to be in the moment.”

It was not only the sledding experience and nature that made Chanett put her cell phone away that day on the dog sled, she admits with a laugh: “I took some pictures and a short video, but my fingers were so cold, that I simply could not take any more pictures. Anyway, it was so cold that my cell phone died. I had to place it on my stomach to heat it because even though it had 90% battery time on it, the iPhone simply could not handle -41 degrees Celcius. Not at all, not at all. Again, nature wins over electronic gadgets. Nature sets the framework in Greenland.”

On her second trip, Chanett experienced other aspects of Greenland – in addition to the dog sledding trip, she saw the northern lights and was on boat trips and cabin trips. “On my second trip, I was mentally in a different place than I had been in summer. The first time I had a lot of sadness in me, but I forgot it at times because Greenland had so much beauty to offer.”

“When I came up in winter, I was in a completely different place mentally. I was wearing a big smile. Constantly. It was just so beautiful. There was calm, and joy and people were just so welcoming and sweet. And if you were not at peace, then you could look out the window, and then you would definitely find it. I was not ready to go home at all. I could easily have stayed for a month, but it’s not certain that this would have been so cool for Kathrine and her boyfriend,” smiles Chanett.

Courage and self-development

“When my friend said she was moving to Greenland to work and asked ‘Aren’t you coming up to visit me?’ I thought, ‘Yes, yes, I will, and yet I thought, ‘Am I really going to do that?’ My original thought was that it would be so cold. So when I went, I was surprised myself, but something had to happen.”

And we can safely say that Chanett has not regretted her decision:

“When I came to Greenland, I got something else. Something better. I think I have fallen a little in love with Greenland if you can put it that way. The country has a very special place in my heart. I went up there with a very, very broken heart, and I had lost my father, but Greenland gave me something extra special instead.”

“It is the first time that I traveled alone. This is actually the first time I have gotten on a plane on my own, and I am quite scared of flying, so it was huge for me to travel to Nuuk in the summer of 2019. It has taught me that I am much braver than I thought. My friends have also told me this; they think I have become more independent because I have been quite reluctant to do things in the past and have not dared many things. I have a completely different image of myself now. I dare to travel on my own, and I’ve done it several times now. And I could very well continue with that. Greenland just calls out to me.”

“People always say that they also want to experience Greenland, but those I know never do. It amazes me that you don’t just do it because it is a trip you will never regret. It is a memory that will live forever. It’s not because I’m a very well-traveled person, but no matter where I travel, Greenland has proven to be unique.”

“You can write that it has been a personal journey because that is just what it has been. After all, it is a place that has given me a new perspective on life. My home here in Denmark is filled with prints of Greenland to remind me of the good times I had up there. Nature had a healing effect on me. I got a different view of life and am not afraid to give in to the grief because it has become a part of me and has helped form the person I have become. I have become less afraid of letting people into my grief and staying in it instead of “hiding it away.” I am not reluctant to speak to others about the difficult things in life, like death or missing my father. Some things have changed in my life. I was very unhappy, and Greenland helped me to look up. So I’m honored that you want to tell my story,” Chanett concludes.

Whales, Paddle Boards, and Wellness – Chanett Tried It All!

Chanett spoke to Louise Larsen and Jesper Kunuk Egede

 

Whales, Paddle Boards, and Wellness – Chanett tried It All!

In the summer of 2019, Chanett went to Greenland for the first time – and then she just kept going! After three trips, Chanett has gradually ticked all the boxes with great Greenland experiences. These are some of Chanett's summer experiences.

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