JEDDAH: Twelve women from Europe and the Middle East are on a mission to cross the North Pole.
The joint expedition will set out this month for the Arctic Ocean, an ecosystem that plays an important role in shaping global climate through processes such as oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
The expedition, led by Felicity Aston from the UK, brings together women from countries including France, Sweden, Cyprus and Russia while women from Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will form the Middle East contingent. The women will face extreme climate conditions during their expedition, which will contribute to two scientific studies. The studies will help to make interstellar space flight and exploration possible in the future.
The 32-year-old explorer Mariam Hamidaddin joined the team to become the first Saudi woman to cross the North Pole. “I want to explore my own perceived limit and hope to share my story with others, to encourage them to seek out their own calling,” she told Arab News.
She said that she had received strong support from friends and family — as well encouraging messages on social media. Hamidaddin said the main obstacle was her own mind: “When skiing for 10-12 hours a day in such extreme conditions with little or no communication with others you are isolated with only your thoughts. You really need to make sure that your thoughts and positive and motivating every step of the way.”
This is her first time on an expedition — but many of her experiences have been “first times.”
“It proves that with commitment, determination and definitely the right guidance you can take on such challenges,” she said.
“Don't let fear be your guide but rather curiosity, passion and love. Work on your mental strength and the words you repeat to yourself, make sure they lift you up and push you forward.”