“The ancestor of every action is a thought” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


It’s a scene in almost every western movie. Cowboys huddled around the crackling fire at night, whiskey in one hand and smokes in another. Laughter, stories, a roast- catch of the day, sounds of what is lurking in the dark woods. Classic images of the wild west.

Well here we are, in the wild north with our crackling fire the heart of our home.

No whiskey, no smoke. Ettra by our side. And our home is nature in surround sound.


YES! We said Ettra by our side. She had a few operations and needed to be 100% before coming back to us. After a 2-month wait the stars aligned and the weather window gave us a few hours for this to work, or not. The coastguard ship K/V Svalbard agreed to make a stop here- conditions permitting- while on their way to Bjørnøya. We could not have been luckier. But then we were. Ragnar Sønstebø (a friend of Hilde’s) was to be dropped off at Bjørnøya to start his post as station manager. He took Ettra under his wing the entire trip to Bamsebu from Longyearbyen.


We prepped everything on the eve before: the rope to get us safely into the slush ice, our survival suits- to wade into the water to greet the boat, warm layers, radios- to communicate with the ship, weapons- it’s easy enough to be in the water and a polar bear surprises you on land, spikes for our boots- ice everywhere and camera gear- to record this emotional reunion.


Then morning came. Then tears flowed. We know you all get it. Our animals- we simply cannot live without them. They give life to a place, love to a space and closeness in between any emptiness. They encourage us to give and to love.


The boat/rib came closer and then we saw her standing on the bow. Ragnar’s arms wrapped around her. With our Lynx snowmobile set up on shore as our anchor- we wade into the slush ice with our rope. The handoff took a few minutes, Ettra nervous, beads of ice layered her fur, shaking with insecurity – not a fan of small boats. We double carried her, our baby, step by step to the shore and solid ground. She was HOME!


We are fortunate and we know it. To be in a place where there is no sign of a pandemic is even hard for us to grasp. We head out daily with our furry friend Ettra, we walk and find our spot to sit. It’s a place at the tip that looks out over the open fjord. Its where we plan what we’re going to have for dinner, share who we are thinking about and make plans for the rest of the day. Our sit spot is just a big ‘ol rock and It looks out on our home.  Even though we are alone here, we are not lonely. Our sit spot and Ettra help with that.



So find your own spot, a place where you can welcome everyone into your thoughts. It can be by your window, in your backyard, on a log or a rock. We all need to find our place in this sea of change.


Many things have been taken from people through this pandemic but the freedom of response is not one of them. We choose optimism, curiosity, kindness, respect and love. Practically speaking, a life that is dedicated to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, work, play and lots of walking brings us closer to the real world and its wholeness.



The light is coming back- we see it and feel it! And what a wonderful time to shine the light on female pioneers in STEM. We celebrate women who are working to protect what we love (Wings World Quest), who are innovators and problem solvers. Special thank you to our Legacy Partner BRP for supporting February’s education theme- Global Women and Girls in Science and for being such an integral part of Hearts in the Ice.



Take a look at these amazing women and resources and join one of our calls this month!

Read about our February calls and SIGN UP here.


A special heartfelt thank to Steinar, Svalbard Vet, Harald Os, Anne Mette, Håkon/Helene and Ragnar who went the extra mile to help us care for Ettra.

Thanks to Devold, Hansen Protection and BRP for supporting us.



Read an article about Hearts in the Ice in BBC Travel

A German article; Freiwillig isoliert in Bamsebu – mit Eisbären vor der Tür

Here are an overview of some of the artickles of Hearts in the Ice

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