Can’t Travel? Live Vicariously Lor: Greenland Edition
STORY: Audrey Phoon
30 August 2020
I have a confession to make. Like Genghis Khan on a blood-seeking mission, my travel FOMO is fast conquering my brain with each day we’re grounded.
What if I forget how to navigate my most-visited cities because as it is, I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch? Will my Octopus Card expire before I can travel to Hong Kong again? How much will my Vietnamese dong be worth by the time travel resumes? Will my favourite elderly sushi chef in Tokyo still remember me (or worse, will he even be alive the next time I’m there)? *Choi!*
Fine, in the grand scheme of things, these are all horribly meaningless First World Problems.
But the anxiety is real.
So imagine my panic when it was reported this week that the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet has passed the point of no return. The rapid loss of ice - faster than snowfall can replenish it - means that Greenland may soon never again be as we humans know it: The world’s largest island covered in the world’s second-largest ice mass (it’s only smaller than Antarctica’s).
The news is a major crystallisation of the fact that much will have changed when we eventually start travelling again. And it also underlines the question: Should we actually be criss-crossing the globe as much even when the COVID-19 crisis is over, if the climate crisis rages on?
One thing’s for sure: The best time to discover Greenland in all its frozen beauty is now. And the best way to visit it? Vicariously lah, with the videos below!
Hang on, frozen? Yeah, the first thing to know about Greenland is that it’s actually ice land. And Iceland is a lot more green than Greenland (only about 11% of Iceland is covered in ice).
TLDR: Greenland is full of ice, and Iceland is pretty green, especially in summer. (Side note to whoever named these two countries: Wah lau eh, you purposely trying to confuse people or what?!)
This is a Danish administrative region that’s been called a travel destination for the traveller who’s been everywhere, and not just because it’s damn ulu. Greenland’s unique landscape encompasses everything from glaciers to colourful villages that dot bare hills. Not to mention it’s also where you can clap eyes on that bucket list topper: The elusive Northern Lights.
Flights here are rare, and that’s just as well - Greenland (especially its eastern side) is one of the most remote regions on the planet, and nowhere on the entire island will you find hordes of selfie-snapping tourists.
So what’s it like in this vast, awe-inspiring territory? Here’s a look through adventurers’ eyes.
AN ODE TO GREENLAND
Probably one of the most beautiful videos ever made of Greenland, this emotional piece by BBC photographer Stefan Forster tells a story of all four corners of the region, from its raw, rugged East to the giant orcas that patrol the waters in the West.
MEET THE MEAT EATERS
What do Greenlanders eat in a region where fresh vegetables and fruits are hard to get? Try polar bear heads for breakfast. Find out more about the diet of the Inuits in this presentation by National Geographic photographer Matthieu Paley, who’s tracked the Greenland natives on hunting trips.
VISIT THE TOWN OF…
Ittoqqortoormiit (say “ee-toh-kor-tor-mit”). This northeastern town of just 350 inhabitants, whose name means “Big-House Dwellers” in Inuit, is one of the world’s most remote, with only one grocery store, one church and one jail. So what does everyone do there? Follow YouTuber Drew Binsky as he checks it out!