Zoe's journey to the Arctic
3 days of walking through the snow in temperatures down to -16 oC during the day and -25 oC at night.
On Christmas eve 2015 whilst sat at work wondering what 2016 would bring, I made a split-second decision to sign up to the Dreams Come True Arctic Trek. Sure, I had to raise a pretty amazing amount of sponsorship to ensure my trek made a difference to the charity and covered all my costs for the trip, and I would have to spend the next year training for the 3 day trek in a ridiculously cold climate but January 2017 was a long way off. Why not…after all, I’d always wanted to see the Northern Lights!
The reality of the challenge soon hit home and, along with some of my colleagues, 2016 turned into a year full of bucket collections, car boot sales, pub quizzes – you name it, we did it. For me, the fundraising was a real challenge, as I’d never done anything like this before. Dreams Come True provided amazing support, constantly giving us ideas on new ways to fundraise and putting us in touch with other volunteers who could lend a hand. Slowly but surely the money started coming in and we found some amazing people along the way who offered their time or services without a second thought. We had a fun day bucket collecting in a local shopping centre with the Rock Choir providing entertainment for passers by and encouraged everyone to fill our collection buckets with loose change. We also had some local companies who donated some great prizes for our Christmas raffle.
It took a full calendar year of fundraising to reach my target, but telling everyone the details of the challenge and the charity certainly encouraged people to donate, after all this was no ordinary challenge.
I joined the gym and in amongst the fundraising I managed to do some training by running a half marathon, a 10k race and taking part in high intensity gym classes on my lunch breaks. I had hoped to get involved in more organised events, but I found that the fundraising took priority.
The trek itself was challenging; 3 days of walking through the snow in temperatures down to -16 oC during the day and -25 oC at night. We ended up walking for 12 hours straight on the first day to get to our camp and to climb into frozen tents for the night was mentally tough. The guides we had with us were amazing, making sure we had a camp fire and hot food to keep us warm and along with the other trekkers, we got each other through. Having initially worried about the level of fitness required for the challenge, all of the trekkers who took part with varying levels of fitness, made it through to the finish line. We walked through beautiful scenery everyday, trekking over frozen rivers and lakes and through the snowy forest. The experience was unforgettable and the difficult moments made the experience all the more rewarding.Having completed the trek a week ago, the past year of fundraising and training was all worthwhile.
Thanks to Dreams Come True, I have had an unforgettable experience of trekking in the Arctic Circle but more importantly another child has had their dream granted.