Jennifer Kingsley dedicates herself to traveling the globe in search of compelling personal stories, but in doing so she’s been crafting a pretty epic tale of her own! Through her work as a journalist and the founder of Meet the North, Jenny crisscrossed the Arctic, making her way into small communities in Greenland, Nunavut, Alaska, Norway, Iceland, and the Russian Far East.
By meeting one person at a time, and then asking each one to introduce her to someone new, she has built a deeper, more diverse picture of modern Arctic culture. She’s also created some truly incredible memories: driving 14 hours across the tundra to join Chukchi reindeer herders at work; getting a very bouncy boat ride up the coast of the Bering Sea from some whale hunters; watching the only Alaskan native athlete to appear on American Ninja Warrior train at home on his driftwood jungle gym; and tasting local dishes like boiled walrus, cloudberry preserves, and jellied whale salad. And that’s just to name a few.
But Jenny is not only skilled at ferreting out these incredible stories, she’s also a masterful storyteller. She has the uncanny ability to make the people and places she has met come bursting to life, as if they are right there in the room with you. Anyone who has had the pleasure of attending her presentations aboard our ships knows how her stories can open your heart and soul and stay with you for a long time to come.
In the fall of 2017, Jenny became a National Geographic Explorer and made her most ambitious journey yet: 50 days in Russia’s far eastern corner called Chukotka. As Lindblad’s Field Correspondent, the reconnaissance she did in this remote and rugged region helped inform our new Russian Far East itineraries, which set sail this summer.
Last summer Jenny decided to take a break from the ice, and turn her attention towards a world defined by the ocean—and much more forgiving weather! Her new project, South Pacific Stories, focuses on what life is like where islands are so far flung they rarely appear together on one map. The stories here are sure to be different, but just as captivating. And as a line in one of Jenny’s favorite books reminds us: “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.”
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
It's the variety of destinations I love the most because it has taught me so much about the depth and breadth of life on earth, and what an amazing opportunity it is to travel by sea.
Name a female hero(es) and why.
Carol Off, a Canadian journalist who is my favorite interviewer. She is so smart and knowledgeable but also warm and fun. She's a fantastic listener, she treats everyone as equals, but she doesn't let anybody get away with anything.
I can't help but also name my grandmother, Mildred Kingsley, because she was always a source of calm in my life. She rarely traveled, but she was always learning. She knew her own mind, and she played a quiet but crucial role in bringing me up.
What’s your advice for the next generation of women explorers?
When you find a path that will help you express who you are, follow it. You don't need permission.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I'm terrible at packing.
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