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Meet the Woman Trying to Conquer the Arctic

Picture of Alex Jordan
Travel Editor
Updated: 27 October 2017
Arctic explorer Christina Franco is trying to become the first solo woman to reach the true North Pole; while her first two attempts failed, she is undeterred from making history. Culture Trip caught up with Christina at London’s South Kensington Club (SKC) to find out how freezing temperatures and melting ice floes cut short her expeditions in the Arctic.

‘The reason why I love the North Pole is because its so ephemeral, its a concept,’ explains Christina. ‘The Arctic Ocean is 15-and-a-half million square kilometres of floating ice that’s not attached to land. So even when you do arrive at the North Pole you’re there for a second and then you drift off. You can never own it, you can never possess it and no one has built anything on it.’

In her role as director of voyages at SKC, the former TEDx speaker also helps others plan their own life-changing adventures. ‘We’ve sent people whale shark spotting in Djibouti and up volcanoes in Iceland’, she explains. ‘We try to find places and experiences that people wouldn’t have thought they could do on their own.’ Culture Trip set Christina the tough task of picking her Top 5 Travel Destinations. You can find out what they are here:

Christina says the most rewarding part of her role is giving people the courage to pursue what makes them happy. ‘Everybody I speak to has a secret desire and sometimes people just haven’t asked us what it is.’ As a young woman at school, Christina was told her prospects were limited. As an Italian woman the expectation was that she would be married with children by 25. But perseverance and an uncanny ability to withstand the cold, meant she was destined for life as an explorer. Now with a child of her own, Christina hopes that he will be free to choose a path without the pressure of societal expectations.