Babies are not allowed to be born in Svalbard and domestic cats are banned, but polar bears abound on the island. Anytime residents travel outside of the Longyearbyen limits, they’re required to carry firearms to protect themselves from polar bears. For those like Blomdahl, who live outside the village, that means they must carry a firearm whenever they go outside.
Svalbard may not have a bookstore or a hospital, but it does have what Blomdahl calls a “doomsday vault.” It is a global seed vault, which burrows over 300 feet into a snow-capped mountain and holds over 1 million seed samples from all over the world to “safekeep them for future generations.” The vault, which is funded by the Norwegian government, provides long-term storage for seed samples to ensure security of the world’s food supply in case of natural disasters or other extraordinary events.
But she can make all that seem relatively normal. During the “absolutely pitch black” period of polar night, Blomdahl highlights her daily life. She and her boyfriend don headlamps to take their dog — a Finnish Lapphund named Grim — for walks, watch Christmas movies, and engage in the town’s holiday activities, such as an annual torch walk welcoming Santa Claus. Blomdahl even continues to get manicures from one of the island’s nail techs.
Even on the darkest days of polar night, Blomdahl says she “thrives in winter.”
When asked why she chooses to live at the northernmost edges of human civilization, Blomdahl said she sees the “challenges of the harsh climate” as something she “gets to experience,” rather than something to “work against.”
As Blomdahl bids farewell to the sun until next year, her followers are eager for their third polar night in the Arctic Circle. Some have even said they are planning trips to visit the island and experience the serenity of Svalbard in person.
“I love your content so much,” one commenter wrote on a recent video. “Your life is so different from mine, so interesting.”