Svante - a guides story

A guides story
I can still remember the ski trips I had with my grand dad in the Norwegian forests when i was only 4 years old, learning how to make a fire and use a knife. We went looking for tracks and tried to get a glimpse of a fox or a moose. My grandfather was a huge inspiration for me. During World War 2 he served in the special forces and he also ran the Norwegian field hospital in Korea as the youngest Major in my country. With these genes and with him showing me how nice the outdoors could be, my own adventure began...

16 years later the selection officer asked me "why do you want to join this unit?" I looked at him and replied "because my grandfather served here 50 years ago" and 2 weeks later I was in. 1.100 people applied and 25 were selected and the training began the next day with parachuting, climbing, survival, diving, shooting, explosives, medic, coms, patrolling and about 150 days out in the woods. After one year and another selection 5 of us ended up in a counter- terrorist and international operations unit with 2 more years of training. I was now 25 years old and driving in to Sarajevo in an armored truck. We spent a night in a building that used to be a hotel with bullet holes and dried blood everywhere and we could only sleep on one side of the building, on the floor of course. To see small children playing in the mine fields, to see people die and to have the constant fear of stepping on a mine or being shot makes you realize how fragile and precious life is. After 8 years in the army I worked as a firefighter for one year before I started my own company in 2003.

I wanted to go back where it all started, with my grand father in the woods, 26 years ago... I have always loved the outdoors, the smell of nature, wildlife and also wanted to show other people what this is all about. To bring a friend to the top of Europe and see her eyes full of tears as she summits is for me pure joy. To see grown men cry because they are exhausted and happy to reach the south pole is something I will never forget. This business has given me so much and the more we explore the more I realize that there is so much more to see and do. At the moment we bring friends and clients to the North Pole, South Pole, Spitsbergen, Norway, Elbrus, Denali, crossing Greenland and Kilimanjaro and from next season we will also be able to offer 7 summits and some very exciting destinations in Russia. Sometimes it is hard work, very hard work and to prepare for a Greenland crossing of 10 Indians in only 3 1/2 weeks can almost seem like impossible. To have 4 nights in a row of Northern Lights up on this enormous glacier makes you forget about the long nights and the stress before leaving and privileged is the only word that comes to your mind. For me there is no better way of living than to actually turn my passion into a well organized business and have the opportunity to head out in to the woods with a back pack, pulling tires, skiing, running, climbing or paddling when everyone else is in the rush hour traffic, late for their first meeting. This is me, this is my life and this is what I am going to do as long as I can, just because I love it!

It is actually possible to combine family and guiding with a good plan, communication and of course a patient partner."This is actually pretty cool" my daughter said to me a couple a months ago when we were having eggs and bacon in the the woods not far from my home. A big camp fire and some nice music from her iPod. I showed her how to make a fire and how to use a knife and maybe some day she will explore the world as well, who knows...

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