The Journey Ahead of Me

See you in Lapland. 🙂 

I didn’t get the grant, but I raised the funds I needed for my journey on Kickstarter!
Departure Date: June 2014

I recently met a 90-year-old woman who changed my life forever.

One day in June of 1949, 26-year-old Dutch woman Petronella Van Der Moer walked out of Helsinki, headed north toward the Arctic Circle. With a goal to create her own adventure and share what she found through writing, Petronella spent the following four months fording rivers, battling mosquitoes, befriending gold miners, and creating a legend in Lapland – one that is still told today.  What lies between that time and October of 2014 is:

Her mystery. Since disappearing from the public eye in 1949, Petronella has remained a mystery.  I first learned about her story through her daughter, my friend Solange, and discovered she lived right down the road from me.  From our first meeting in April 2013, I knew I had met someone who would change the course of my life.  Up until her death in January 2014, I paid a series of visits to the Van Der Moer household and began to collect fragments of Petronella’s story.

My adventure.  Beginning in summer 2014, I am packing my backpack and lacing up my own boots to retrace Petronella’s footsteps across Lapland!  Solange will be joining me later in my journey, and together we will spread Petronella’s ashes across the places she loved in Finland.

My quest.  Petronella inspires me, because she redefined society’s conceptions of what women of her time could do, and did it her own way.  Her story is one of strength, inspiration, and flat-out passion for writing.  Raised in a conservative Dutch family, she was expected to be in the paper 3 times during her life: at birth, when she was married, and when she died.  Her passion for adventure caused her to shed the expectations of her family in favor of becoming a writer.  When the publications of her time tried to limit her writing to fashion, Petronella took off for Finland to tell her own story.  She took a risk for her art.

I am the same age as Petronella was on her journey, and this is my way of living my truth.  I plan to write my story, and in turn, breathe life into hers.  I lead courses for organizations that empower women and girls through outdoor adventure and travel.  I hope that my story inspires people of all ages to seek out and create their own legend.

Paying it forward.  This experience would not have been possible without all of the friends and strangers who donated to my kickstarter campaign.  I want to pay it forward.  If I am able to raise enough funds, I plan to implement the test run of a life dream that combines all of my passions: develop a workshop that combines writing, inspiration, and adventure.  Through real-life backpacking and adventure, the workshop will focus on pushing ourselves to be adventurous in our writing.  Together we will find inspiration in each other, the land around us, and within.

2 Comments on “The Journey Ahead of Me

  1. Be sure to eat at Restaurant Petronella in Saariselkä! There’s a second restaurant named after her in Rovaniemi at the University of Lapland campus, but it’s closed for renovation..

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