How the Heck Did I End Up Living in Nunavut?

Jumping in front of Iqaluit houses

Shortly after telling someone I lived and worked in Nunavut, I usually get asked how the heck I got myself in that situation. There are people who are expecting an epic story, while others are wondering if I was forced to go (because why else would anyone willingly live somewhere so cold and so isolated?). And there are a handful of people who ask because they would like to live and work in the arctic themselves (my people!).

Regardless of their reasons, most people are often disappointed by my answer, as it is neither epic nor forceful nor a clear guide to going there yourself. In truth, the reason I found myself in Nunavut is a combination of coincidence and persistence. (Wow – what a way to start a blog post…) But if you are curious, here is how I ended up living in Nunavut.

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A series of coincidences

Anyone else find it fascinating how one small event can lead to a chain of subsequent events and completely alter the course of our lives? This is precisely how I ended up in Nunavut.

Event #1: In the summer of 2014, the camp I worked at asked me to changed positions. It was April and they needed someone for the position of Voyageur Tripper, which involved taking kids on two week canoe trips. In order to do this, I would need to have get the Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification before I started in June.

Which Wilderness Medicine Course should you take?

Event #2: I was unable to attend the training dates organized by my camp. For May and part of June I would be living in Chicoutimi, Quebec as part of the My Explore program (a 5 week French immersion program). Luckily, I found another training course being hosted at a university, so I attended this course instead.

Event #3: In my training course there were two managers from a Nunavut guiding company. I overheard one of them talking about polar bear safaris and life in the north. Eager to know more, I asked him some questions and he showed me photo after photo of incredible Nunavut landscapes. I took down his contact information.

Pestering and persistence

Fast forward six months to October. I reached out to the manager who had given me his contact information. The manager then connected me with the woman in charge of hiring. Next followed a series of persistent emails. First, what positions where they looking for, what qualifications and experiences were needed? Then it became “here is my resume and cover letter, please interview me”. Some of my emails didn’t get a response, and that’s okay. Hiring managers are busy, and sometimes they genuinely didn’t see your email. Always follow up.

And it worked – I got an interview. Soon, I was on the phone with the hiring manager answering questions about working with tourists and my approach to guiding. Then I got the job. I was at home one day in February when I received a call from the company. They offered me a position as tour guide and equipment intern for the summer. I was less picky about the job position itself – either way I was going north!

That’s really all there was to it. I mean, I had the necessary certifications already and I was pretty persistent with getting the company to interview me, but beyond that the whole thing was pretty straightforward.

If you’re interested in living in Nunavut, there are plenty of avenues to take to get there. Search for jobs in the territory, put together an awesome resume/cover letter, nail your interview and you’re on your way! And here is a great resource for those looking to up their application/interview game:

How to talk about your travel experiences in a job interview

Stories from my time living in Nunavut

If this post has piqued your interest into life in the north, here are a few other posts I’ve written about Nunavut. Or, just continue scrolling for some of my favourite photos of Nunavut.

How a flaming wooden dog gave me a social life in the Arctic

North of the Arctic Circle: A Look Inside a Remote Arctic Base Camp

The Honest Reason Why No One Visits Nunavut

Living in Nunavut Pin


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