Much of the appeal in travelling comes from interaction with people and the things that people create. Walking through a Turkish Bazaar, chatting to locals in Ecuador, and staring at the beauty of the Taj Mahal or the pyramids are all experiences that will stay with someone for a lifetime. However, that’s to to say that people are the only things that can draw tourists.
The natural world is full of locations and phenomena that are simply breathtaking. Some, like Victoria Falls or the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland are permanent geographical features, so a trip to the location guarantees you the experience you’re looking for. Others, like eclipses, meteor showers and comets are transient, often meaning that you need to plan your trip well in advance for a chance of seeing the event.
There is, however, a third kind of phenomenon, that is both common and wretchedly irregular, which only makes its beauty more appealing. I am speaking, of course, of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. While there are a number of Arctic adventures
that one can experience – winter holidays, husky safaris, romantic stays in log cabins amongst the snow – a sight of these beautiful and colorful sky displays is one that will surely be remembered forever.
For the best chance of seeing the aurora, you will need to travel to the auroral zone, located in between 60 and 72 degrees North. The phenomenon is named after two mythological figures – Aurora, the Roman deity of the dawn, and Boreas, the north wind of the Greeks. The Cree, a First Nations tribe of North America, gave it the wonderfully evocative name ‘Dance of the Spirits’. Regardless of the name by which you call it, the intense colors and shapes of the Aurora Borealis are unlike anything else to be seen on the Earth.