“Mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already accomplished and what one still ought to accomplish, the gap between what one is and what one should become. What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather a striving worthy of him” – Viktor Frankl



It’s been busy with Polar Bear activity around Bamsebu the past few days. With no ice in the fjord they come sneaking up to the hut along the shoreline and just yesterday came right to the front door as we were trying to exit to investigate the sounds we heard outside.

There is both a certain thrill and awe in seeing a magnificent polar bear and a certain fear that is incited throughout your body. We remain humbled and vigilant in how we move and how far we go.



We have been called brave, strong and courageous as we have managed to thrive and survive alone together for over 14 months on this citizen science expedition in the name of Climate Change. We have endured months of darkness, solitude and isolation, navigated fear and hurricane storms. We have hauled, pushed, pulled and carried equipment, boats and supplies and we have definitely gotten stronger physically and more importantly, mentally.

Sunniva doing yoga

Yoga time

Mental health



The official “Heroic Age of Exploration” was in the early 1900’s when daring feats were largely recognized as men who conquered, summitted and battled the elements. Today we still revere the exploits of women and men who venture north and south on Expeditions. Many admire the physicality of these exploits. Yes, they are admirable on a physical level but the real toughness, the kind that is truly to be admired is not the physical strength but the mental tenacity that people possess.


There are many individuals out there that might not ‘look like’ Expedition material- buff or strong on the outside. And many might possess physical limitations but this does not mean they are weak or incapable of hauling themselves to the South Pole. On the contrary. Real strength lies in our mental strength.


We would like to encourage more dialogue and language around the skills that define mental toughness and strength- which is also a large muscle to be exercised. In this day of Covid where isolation, a change in routine, redefined self-identity and uncertainty over the future loom large our mental health is being greatly challenged. Our real success here at Bamsebu is not in how we have survived the cold, the winds, the imminent Polar Bear danger, the remoteness, the lack of running water and electricity.


Our real success lies in how we have coped and managed to sustain a high level of Mental Health. Mental Health is learned and requires tools. It is the “how” in how we keep ourselves happy, inspired, joyful, rested, injury-free, healthy, creative, purposeful, engaged, accessible to each other, safe, respectful, grateful and kind.


Around the globe routines are being disrupted and our sense of self is being tested. This is a most excellent time to experiment with living differently and embracing all sides of who we are.

We have managed to go without a shower for more than a year at Bamsebu. Still we have a high level of cleanliness and we can look at ourselves in the tiny mirror and feel proud of who we are. We have spent over 10,000! hours together and remain best friends -respectful, kind and caring. We have managed to live together in a 20m2 space that is our living room, bedrooms, dining room, office, spa, workout studio, kitchen, laundry room and science lab.


It’s time to give yourself permission to exercise your mental strength by thinking differently and using your intellectual flexibility to cope with change and the people around you. We are capable of making great changes and it starts first with us.

Big Hugs from the Polar Girls. Xx

Sunniva and Hilde outside the cabin

Hearty girls outside the hearty cabin


Have you seen our 14-day challenge? Click here, scroll down a little and join us!

Link to Mental and Physical monthly Page

In case you missed it. Here is a 3 min program created by CNN for their series “Call to Earth”. which focused on HITI and Citizen Science “

Remember to pre-order our new book.

An article in Ms. Magazine

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