Børge Ousland once described by National Geographic as ‘the most accomplished polar explorer alive’, is a popular international speaker who draws on more than 20 years’ experience with record-breaking expeditions to inspire audiences to reach for their own goals, professional and private. Truly one of the greatest adventurers/explorers of our time
When planning an adventure, very few people would consider trying to cross the North Pole via the 1,240 miles of ice floes and seawater that loosely connect the northernmost tip of Russia and Canada. Of the polar bear-like explorers who do consider it, a handful would choose a seafaring vessel for their crossing. Far fewer would choose a team of dogs and a sled. To date, only one has chosen to ski and swim the distance, towing a specially designed sledge upon which he packed 370 pounds of food and a few carefully selected pieces of high-tech gear. Norway’s Børge Ousland is living proof that people with perseverance, skill, and imagination can still achieve historic firsts in 21st century exploration.
Ousland began his informal endurance training at the age of 20 as a construction diver in the North Sea. In 1986 he crossed Greenland on skis. After serving in Norway’s Marinejeger (Naval Special Forces), he began his polar career in earnest. In 1994 he became the first person to ski alone and unsupported, from Siberia to the North Pole. One year later he made the record books again with a similar trip, in the opposite direction, from the Weddell Sea to the South Pole. Not one to rest in the quest for firsts, in the winter of 1996-97 Ousland successfully completed the longest unsupported ski expedition in history — 2,845 kilometers across the length of Antarctica via the South Pole.
His most recent expedition (“Across the Arctic,” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, March 2002) was the culmination of 15 years of focus and discipline in the grueling field of polar exploration. Describing the state of mind he needed to survive in this treacherous environment, Ousland said, “It would take time, but gradually I would peel away all the layers of civilization. The goal was to resemble an animal as far as possible, an animal of this environment. You wake up, grunt at the sun a bit, sniff the north wind, and pick out the best route and the safest camp sites.”
One of National Geographic’s highest rated speakers and a gifted storyteller, Ousland shares the numerous physical and mental challenges he faced on his trip: navigating patches of icy water in a specially designed drysuit; evading polar bears; and overcoming fear, isolation, and depression. In his presentations Ousland explores what happens when a person is pushed to the limit of what they imagined they were capable. He challenges us to break through our preconceived mental boundaries; to uncover and apply our unique strengths to succeed in our own endeavors.
Børge Ousland has received several International prizes for his expeditions.
- Build courage and strength – dare to reach out for your goals
- About the preparations, motivation and the accomplishment
- How to keep focus on the strong sides
- Innovation and the ability to tolerate changes
- How to prepare oneself for risks
- Focus on solutions – not the problems
Børge Ousland has been invited to lecture at The Royal Geographical in London several times. After his lecture, Solo across the poles, Børge received standing ovations at this honorable society.
Royal Geographical Society
“Borge Ousland is both such a good speaker and adventurer. I am a great admirer of his achievements.”
“Our guests are by nature of their work extremely well-travelled and they were absolutely fascinated by the lecture. The talk lasted for about an hour and included breathtaking images from the journeys. Mr Ousland certainly held the audience captive and we received very positive feedback from the guests after the event. We were delighted with the evening and highly recommend Børge Ousland as a lecturer.”
Heidi M. Dahl, Director Tourism Western Europe