The dancing lights twinkling across are a dream for many of us. Chasing the northern lights can be an exciting, but frustrating process. At times, many people give up, go to bed or just don’t try to see them again.
This is where resilience comes in. Here is my guide to resilience and the northern lights.
– Do Not Give Up –
If you don’t have the perfect conditions, try again the next night.
When you do have the perfect conditions, the lights are not yet visible and you are tired, wait!
Perhaps you didn’t see the aurora borealis during your trip? Then plan your next trip and see a different part of the arctic circle.
If you are from the northern part of the UK or a similar latitude, then inform yourself of the nearest dark sky area and set up “aurora” alerts. These alerts will let you know when there is strong solar activity and if the northern lights will be visible from the UK. Then all you need to do is check the weather… if you can see stars then go for it!
It took me 2 visits to Iceland, 1 visit to Finnish Lapland and then northern Norway before I got my first proper glimpse of the northern lights.
– Patience –
If you have the perfect conditions, you might have to sit and wait before the dancing lights make an appearance. This can give rise to a range or emotions from excitement to frustration and tiredness.
Enjoy the time waiting with a flask of tea, listening to the sound of the ocean waves or the snow crunching beneth your feet.
– Relinquish Control –
When you chase the northern lights, you might be exposed to a mixture of emotions: anticipation, frustration, excitement.
Unfortunately with this phenomenon there are so many variables out of our control, such as weather and solar activity. Just because you don’t see the lights, doesn’t mean it was a failed attempt, you can’t fail at something that is out of your control.
People often feel disappointed when they don’t see the northern lights during a trip to the northern parts of our hemisphere. They often say “what if I had booked a week later” “if only I had booked a that location 100km away”. This is out of your control, so don’t kick yourself and enjoy the journey.
Like in life, when there are things out of your control, you haven’t failed. If you try to do something, but variables out of your control stop you, then you haven’t failed. You tried and that is pretty awesome.
– Change –
Always be prepared for change and adapt your plans accordingly. Sometimes you don’t know when or if you’ll see the northern lights and if you are lucky enough to see them, you’ll notice how they constantly change their shape, direction, speed, colour and even visibility.
Sometimes you might have to change your desired viewing location due to a change in cloud cover, so you must quickly adapt to the situation.
Like the northern lights, life is similar; our lives will continually take different routes, speeds and shapes to which we must adapt. We never know when or if things will happen; which is why we have to cherish the moment.
– Cherish the moment –
Chasing the northern lights is an exciting experience and if you do see the lights, cherish the moment because you never know when this wonderful moment will end.
If you want to photograph the lights, ensure that you practice with your equipment before you get there. Don’t expect to turn up and be able to shoot them straight away. It takes practice to shoot in the dark. If you learn before you arrive and do test shots before the “magic hours” then you’ll be able to both shoot the northern lights and cherish the moment. If you’d like to photograph them, here is a beginners guide. to photographing the northern lights.
Life is a gift and we should cherish every moment we have because you never know when it will end.
The northern lights has undoubtedly been an amazing experience, but so were the activities that happened through the day such as photographing landscapes and having a cup of tea while looking out across a snowy fjord.
My main piece advice is: do not go to a location only to see the northern lights, because you might not see them. Book somewhere that you will enjoy other activities and if you see the northern lights, then bonus!
Are the northern lights on your bucket list?
I’d love to hear from you 🙂