Waiting at airports, I always like to read the departure and arrival listings, dreaming of going to Timbuktu or Kabul, or wondering where on Earth cities like Narita or Kandi might be.
As I was passing the time before my flight to Vancouver at Heathrow Airport in London, a destination appeared of which I hadn’t even known that it was served by flights.
I knew one could fly to Thule or to Svalbard, but directly to the North Pole? That piqued my curiosity. It seemed like one of these coincidences that beckon you on an adventure. And, ready for Canada, I had warm clothes with me anyway.
Thus, I decided to walk to gate B58, expecting to see a group of polar explorers or adventurers with sledges and ice picks. It was a long walk, to one of the farthest corners of a large airport, but it gave me the time to get prepared.
I would ask them if they are really going to the North Pole, what they were doing, show my interest and hope to learn that they still had a free seat. If so, I would take it as a sign that I should jump onto that plane. It would be the chance of a lifetime. I took a mental note to ask about polar bears, not about penguins, displaying that I don’t mix up the Arctic with the Antarctic.
I just couldn’t think of a good reason why they should take me with them. I can’t cook. I have never killed a bear, nor a seal, nor would I honestly want to. I built an igloo once, as a child, maybe that could come in handy.
When I reached the gate, though, all I saw were children and airport/airline staff dressed as Santas. It dawned on me that this was a fantasy flight.
But at least I had been dreaming of Arctic explorations for the 15 minutes it took me to walk to the gate. On the long and depressing walk back, I couldn’t believe that I had fallen for this. Some swindler probably could have even sold me a ticket for that flight.
Near Fairbanks, Alaska there is a town named North Pole, it’s probably close enough!
Whoa, that’s quite a pretentious name for a town situated 2.700 km away from the actual North Pole!
Postal code for the Canadian version Mr. S. Claus, North Pole, is HOH OHO :)
Andreas, a general recommendation in the light of a recent scandal of travelling journalism (fake stories by Claas Relotius, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/23/world/europe/germany-der-spiegel-claas-relotius.html):
Always keep legal proofs (written confirmations and dated stamps from local police stations etc). of your travel. A very solid document would be for instance your release letter from Evin prison. Just showing your swollen eyes and hematoma covered legs does not count !!! This could be self-inflicted to achieve fame in social media.
I didn’t get any release letter from Evin prison. I was just pushed out of the gate at 10pm after having spent 6 nights there.
It was not a very orderly process and at the moment, I didn’t insist on paperwork.
Regarding my travels, I actually discard my old passports and I certainly wouldn’t voluntarily walk into a police station anywhere (except the two times I was on a ride-along with a night patrol). When you move all the time, paperwork is just a burden.
And as I usually stay longer in one place, I will have friends, neighbors and other contacts. Also, I can display local knowledge from every city where I lived that nobody could learn online, like which bakery has the cutest sales chick or who is the most helpful guy at the post office.
But I also don’t really mind if some people don’t believe me.
People pay good money for flights to see the Northern Lights. Seems reasonable enough to me.