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Interview: Exploring Nunavut With The Expeditioners

This past month we had the pleasure of inviting Bella & Roberto aka The Expeditioners, to join us on an unforgettable adventure to Nunavut. Not only is Nunavut one-fifth the size of Canada making it the country’s biggest territory, it also experiences up to 24 hours of daylight in the summer. Having travelled almost everywhere in Canada, The Expeditioners had yet to explore the epic landscapes and unique cultures of Nunavut. We sat down with Bella and Roberto to learn a little more about their experience exploring Nunavut with #FarAndWide.

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Photo: The Expeditioners

First, can you tell me about The Expeditioners?

Roberto: I’m born in raised in Montreal and my mum is from Mexico. I studied sociology and anthropology at university and was, for a time, a businessman supplying curtains to Costco. Bella comes from Senegal, West Africa and her parents are Lebanese. She studied Biochemistry at university and moved to Montreal some fifteen years ago.

Why do you call yourself The Expeditioners?

Roberto: Our concept was born of extreme expeditions to the most remote places in Canada and later developed into some of the most remote destinations in the world. Our adventures are often self-supported for one to three weeks at a time.

If you had to describe what you do for work what would you say?

Bella: We travel the world promoting brands, gear and destinations on social media.

How did you get your start travelling for work?

Bella: We got our start by posting on Facebook, and friends and family told us we were doing something unique. When the pages started we opened one and were surprised to find how many people were interested in our adventures and this developed into a concept.

Did you ever think you would make it to Nunavut?

Roberto: Yes, we definitely did! It’s one of the last places in Canada that we’ve yet to explore and Baffin Island has always been a dream destination. We knew we’d eventually get there when the stars aligned. We’re huge fans of Northern Destinations.

Why did you have your heart set on Baffin Island?

Roberto: It’s our type of destination, remote wilderness with a raw beauty!

Photo: The Expeditioners

Photo: The Expeditioners

What was your favourite part of the trip?

Bella: Going into Auyuittuq National Park was super special. To be snowmobiling north towards the arctic circle with a crown of mountains would be second and getting caught in a snow blizzard while dog-sledding in total white out made me feel the essence of Nunavut!

Did anything surprise you on your trip to Nunavut?

Bella: The splendour of the Auyuittuq National Park. Visually it’s world class, but the remoteness totally emphasized the feeling. I guess I was surprised at being in such awe.

Would you go back to Nunavut?

Roberto: Oh most definitely! There’s so much we’ve yet to do. It’s like we’ve only gotten to experience a snowflake out of a snowstorm. We’d love to kayak the fjords for extended expeditions. Visit the most remote communities… and camp all over! Trek for a week or more and go deeper into the park–and spend much more time photographing the dramatic landscape! Learn more from the Inuit on how to survive in one of the harshest environments in the world. Oh, yeah and perhaps some ski touring expeditions too!

What was the best thing you packed for Nunavut?

Roberto: Definitely my Canon 6D.

One thing you wish you packed for Nunavut?

Roberto: My tent and sleeping bags so we could camp in the park!

What was your favourite behind the scene moment?

Roberto: Likely when Pablo (our videographer) was hanging off a snowmobile while filming us dog sledding in a total blizzard. He literally jumped from the moving sled to get a shot and got covered in snow… Best of all, he didn’t even flinch. That and spending some time inside a mobile snowmobile hut after shooting.

What was your favourite activity of your trip?

Bella: Simply being on the edge of the park and so near the arctic circle was special. But being on a dogsled in the traditional Inuit style was unique as well.

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Did you pick up any souvenirs to bring home? If yes what did you bring?

Roberto: We went into an Inuit carving shop and saw a little carving of a hunter out of ca antler. It was behind the counter and when I asked the lady about it, she said it was broken. A fine hairline crack…didn’t take the value away for me. I also got Bella a pair of Inukshuk earnings also carved out of caribou antler.

What was a unique food item you tried?
Bella & Roberto: Raw Caribou, which is called Quaq in Inuktitut and is a coveted treat.

Photo: The Expeditioners

Photo: The Expeditioners

Did you enjoy eating Raw Cariboo? Would you eat it again?

Roberto: It tasted a bit bloody, and was totally raw– no preparation! While it was a unique and interesting taste, I likely wouldn’t order it raw. That being said, I would totally order the raw Arctic char!

What was a unique sight you saw?

Bella: An Inuit guide with an Inuit sled dog sitting behind him on his snowmobile with a qamutik behind.

What was a unique thing you learned?
Bella: How Inuit sled dogs will always find their way back home, even if there is a blizzard and total white out!

Do you have any tips for travelling as a couple?

Bella: Be flexible and don’t get upset when plans change… as they often will. Travelling is an opportunity to discover new experiences that were not planned.

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Photo: The Expeditioners

What about travelling on a budget? What tools do you use to get a better deal?

Roberto: When we travel on a budget we do our research and use the internet, but best of all, we travel in the off-season. Nunavut is different than most places as there are no deals in the offseason. In Nunavut, if you use an outfitter that is a member of Nunavut Tourism you will receive a significant discount on your airfare.

Do you have any tips for people planning a trip to Nunavut?

Bella & Roberto: Go to Pangnirtung and to Auyuittuq National Park. It is absolutely stunning and definitely stay over for at least a week to hike and camp!

 

Like this post? Check out Take Flight Over Nunavut In Our Drone and Meet The Inuit Sled Dogs Of Nunavut, too!

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