About – Author

Header Photo: Toward Ikatseq in the vicinity of Tasiilaq in East Greenland.

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Sarah Woodall is an International Relationship Manager – B2B & PR/Press (North America) at Visit Greenland, the national tourist board of Greenland. Greenland came into Sarah’s life totally by chance one day in 2011, but luckily for her, it did not leave so suddenly! She now lives in Greenland permanently.

Follow me on Instagram at @polarphile!

How exactly did an American wind up in Greenland? A representative from Visit Greenland visited Sarah’s graduate university in Washington, D.C. (George Washington University School of Business) looking to recruit tourism students for various summer internship positions. In fact, Sarah only attended the session to humor her classmates, but after getting goosebumps 5 minutes into the presentation, she knew it was the best decision she ever made and that she simply HAD to go to Greenland. She applied for an internship position that very day!

Sarah took her first trip to Greenland in summer 2012, during which time she completed a 4-month long internship at Visit Greenland. After an amazing summer, she remained working with Visit Greenland as a tourism consultant.

Where has this American been in Greenland? Have you seen it in winter? In connection with work and holiday, Sarah has had the amazing opportunity to see quite a bit of the country ranging from the arctic metropolis of the capital city, Nuuk, to small villages of less than 50 residents, like Ilimanaq! She has been in Greenland at every month of the year, so she has seen it at 25*C / 77*F and also at -27*C / -17*F. She has also seen Greenland with 24-hour Midnight Sun and with only 2-3 hours daylight during the polar darkness. Both versions of Greenland are simply amazing!

The places Sarah has been in Greenland, so far, includes the following locations:

Nuuk

Ilulissat

Kangerlussuaq

Uummannaq

Tasiilaq

Qaqortoq

Sisimiut

Kulusuk

Oqaatsut

Ilimanaq

Qaarsut

Maniitsoq

Sermiligaaq

Aasiaat

Qeqertarsuatsiaat

Paamiut

Illorsuit

Nugaatsiaq

Narsaq

Kangaamiut

Arsuk

Sarah’s education is in Sustainable Destination Management, and she holds a Master of Tourism Administration degree from The George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

61 thoughts on “About – Author

  1. Dear Sarah, I am a friend of your mother’s from college. She sent me the link to your blog and I’ve enjoyed reading it–you are a good writer! Looking forward to reading more.

    Best,
    Helen Taylor Salter
    Grand Junction, CO

  2. Wahoo Wa Sara, from us TarHeels Chris and Diane Carter in Baltimore;
    God Bless you and your parents;
    PS
    our daughter Casey ‘s DOB is 10/25/1985, AU 2007

  3. Wow – fantastic photos. I’d love to get to this part of the world, so look forward to reading your reports. It sounds like this adventure may have already finished last month though?

  4. Hi, Sarah – your blog is just what I was looking for. I’m going to visit Greenland the end of August this year and am curious about everything. You answered nearly all of my questions. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’m SO excited.

    • Marianne Greenfield,

      Thank you for the nice comment! I have said this to others before, but I have a backlog like you would not believe! So there will be more to come!

      • Thanks for getting back to me. I’m back now and am in LOVE with Greenland. I have a tiny travel budget so it’s difficult for me to stay very long there. I’m looking forward to going again next summer. I hope someday to go in winter or spring to go on a dog sledge. Keep posting on this blog – I love reading about your travels.

    • Marianne, I’m reading through old comments and found yours. After your summer 2013 trip, did you ever make it back to Greenland for a spring or winter trip as you dreamed of?

  5. Hello Sarah. I did this crossing, from Isortoq to Kangerlussuaq, back in 1995. Three men towing sleds from east to west. I found this site by accident and will read it complete. Sounds like Greenland is your kind of place. Have you seen the movie “Smilla’s sense of snow”? It touches on the Greenlandic culture and came out in 1997. My laugh was buying cookies on sale at the only store in Kangerlussuaq. Good price for cookies because they were 2 years beyond the expiration date! Saw lots of caribou as I wandered outside Kangerlussuaq. Tried writing a book about the crossing but disappointed by the refusals. Oh well. Good times, eh?

    • Charles – Thank you for your message and sharing a bit about your Greenland travels! I will look into the movie you recommend 🙂

      So it has been 18 years since your Greenland expedition… Part of me wants to say that Greenland has probably changed a lot since then. But I know better than that! If your only contact was with the Inland Ice, East Greenland, and Kangerlussuaq, I think the Inland Ice is probably the place that has changed the most!!!

      Take care, and I hope you find yourself back in Greenland some day!

      – Sarah

  6. Hello Sarah,

    I’m a documentary development producer for Electric Sky, a factual TV production company based in the UK. I love your blog and write to you as I’m interested in speaking with someone who has first hand experience of living and working in Greenland as an American, an area I am looking into on behalf of my company for a potential observational documentary series.

    At Electric Sky we have a proven track record of making high quality prime-time documentary programming for both the major UK and US networks including Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery Channel and National Geographic to name but a few. You can peruse some of our work on our website which is at: http://www.electricskyproductions.tv.

    If you could drop me an email at edmond.buckley@electricsky.com that would be greatly appreciated and I can tell you a bit more.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    Edmond Buckley

    • Hello Edmond,

      I attempted to email you at the address you indicated, but the mail was returned with an error message. Any ideas?

      Sarah

    • Neve,

      Thank you for your message!

      First, the correct pronunciation of each syllable:
      Ki-ngeet-tor-soo-ock.

      Now, the correct pace/accentuation:
      “Ki” is quick,
      “Ngeet” and “tor” are heavily accented,
      “soo” and “ock” are quick.

      Hope this helps! Good luck!

  7. Hi Sarah, have you found any books, publications or resources for learning Greenlandic languages in English? I’m especially interested in learning East Greenlandic (tunumiisut) as I love the area and would like to be able to communicate better. I don’t know any Danish unfortunately, so probably this limits the number of useful resources!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Riikka –

      Per Langgård produces an English-to-Greenlandic language course via DVD. I have not used it, but I have considered buying it many, many times when I am in the bookstore in Nuuk. I would bet that it only covers West Greenlandic, though. See more here: http://learngreenlandic.com/.

      Personally, I have been using a Danish-to-Greenlandic workbook called Qanoq.1. I am not a native Danish speaker, but I have picked up quite a bit purely from exposure in Greenland. Also, the Danish in this workbook is not literature; it is explaining grammar, so I can see where it is going. When all else fails, I can Google Translate the Danish words I do not understand!

      Of course, nothing beats having a few trusted Greenlandic friends to write with and practice speaking with! 🙂

      As for East Greenlandic, I do not know for certain, but I would bet a million dollars that there are no resources whatsoever to learn it – and certainly not ones that are English-to-East Greenlandic…

      You mention wanting to communicate better when you are in East Greenland… are you there frequently? When is your next trip?!

    • Hi Riikka, I am reading through old comments and came across yours. I have a new answer for you! Memrise has one lesson about Basic East Greenlandic, found here: http://www.memrise.com/course/478622/basis-stgrnlandsk/. It should be legit as it is posted by an instructor from the language school in Sisimiut, Greenland. There are also SEVERAL lessons about West Greenlandic, and they are my new favorite language learning tool for Greenlandic 🙂

  8. Thank you for following my blog! Happy that you like it 🙂 what an interesting blog you have 🙂 for sure will be back here 🙂 have a nice day! 🙂

  9. Hi Sarah, Nice blog.

    We can’t find much info and photos from Greenland compared to other places.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences there, far north.

      • Yes Indeed 🙂 But not so soon.

        I have a tour plan to Canada, with that I would like to include Greenland also.

        Let’s see.

      • Wonderful – That is what I like to hear!

        Please feel free to ask me any questions you like, whether it is now or some years from now 🙂

        Cheers!

  10. Hello,
    I’ve been reading through your blog! I am a photojournalist who has been working in Canadian arctic (Nunavut) for the last half year. I am going to be travelling to Greenland soon, to do a comparative visual look at the two Inuit experiences. I am planning on moving there for a few months and I would love to chat about practicalities of living there, how to find a place, etc.

    You can get an idea of the work I do at http://www.edouphoto.com

    I would love to ask you some specific questions by email if you have time. I’m reachable at edouphoto@gmail.com

    I hope to hear from you!

    • Hi Ed Ou,

      How did this project go last year? Did you end up living in Greenland for some months? I would love to hear about or read about your experiences! Is there any publication I can see?

      Thanks!
      Sarah

  11. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences through your blog. I would love to talk with you about your work at Visit Greenland and how you came to work for them. Please feel free to email me. Thanks!

      • Hi Sarah,

        Sorry it has taken so long to reply! My email is swimizzy2004(at)gmail(dot)com.

        Looking forward to chat with you and to watching HHI with Tanny tonight!

  12. Hi Sarah,

    I work at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation in London and we have our annual Food Revolution Day coming up on May 16th. FRD is a global day of action to make a stand for food education, to cook from scratch and keep cooking skills alive. We have many countries across the world taking part but sadly, we have no participants in Greenland. After seeing your blog post on food in Greenland, I thought you were the ideal person to contact to bring the food revolution to Greenland.

    I’m hoping that I can encourage you or any foodie friends in Greenland to get involved in the day. It’s really simple to take part– all you have to do is sign up your participation on our website and have a go at cooking from scratch on friday may 16th. Please visit our official website at http://www.foodrevolutionday.com or contact me at libby.gardiner@jamieoliver.org if you’d like to find out more about the day.

    We’d love to see Greenland take part in the day!!

    • Libby,

      Thank you for your comment and information about FRD2014!

      I put the feelers out to my foodie friends, and they bit! There are now 5 participants, and I’m sure it will go up from there 😀

      Have a great day!

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I got *most* of the way through your own writings about Greenland 🙂 What caught my attention most is the fact that you visited the Kingdom Hall! My mother-in-law is a Jehovah’s Witness, so she was incredibly surprised/pleased to hear of your visit. Now she can visit Greenland 😉

  13. Hi Sarah,
    Beautiful pictures!
    Very interested in visiting Greenland with a friend. However she’s only able to get off in late Nov.
    I saw your photos and would like to know whether the dates are really that late in Nov.
    I was told it’ll be dark, no sunlight the whole day by late Nov.

    What I really want to know is will it be worth traveling there in early winter?
    I live in South East Asia and the cost of flying to Greenland is really expensive.
    But it’ll be a fantastic place to visit as I like natural beauty and have been to Iceland, Norway. The Salt Flats and Bolivia Altiplano blew my mind with it’s awesome beauty. Hence now I’m looking for out of this world natural beauty.
    Sorry for rattling off! So difficult to decide with very little info about Greenland in early winter.
    Your blog is the only one so far. Thank you

    • Hi Yap,

      Thank you very much for your comment!

      Yes, the dates of the blog post and photos are actually in late November/early December, so you can trust that the photos were an accurate representation of those days of the year.

      As for being told that Greenland is dark with no sunlight the whole day by late November… well, that depends how far north you go 😉 Where in Greenland are you and your friend considering traveling?

      If you will like to email privately, I am happy to do so – write to sarah@greenland.com.

      Thanks Yap!

  14. Hi Sarah-

    Can you talk a little bit more about how you came to be connected to Greenland? My fiance is there now and I would love to join him to live/work and I like to hear how others came to be in this icy corner of the world.

    Thank you!
    -Kelsey

    • Kelsey, thank you for your comment! I edited the “About the Author” page to add a bit more to my story, but you are certainly welcome to email me with more specific questions! sarah@greenland.com. Also, I would be interested to hear about your fiancé’s experience here 🙂
      Cheers,
      Sarah

  15. This blog is fascinating, well written and interesting. I visit Iceland two or three times a year for the glorious scenery and the vast open spaces. I live in Cornwall which is very scenic but no mountains, fjords, great waterfalls wide rushing rivers etc.
    I’ve even managed to learn some Islenska (the Icelandic language) there and studying here.
    I envy you. When I fly from Reykjavik Domestic to Akureyri usually on the 12.30 departure the flight before me is the 12 Noon flight to Kulusuk in Green land. One of these days …Yes one of these days!

  16. Hi Sarah!

    I am currently in the process of creating a small book/zine on this wonderful country and I need some help, you look like you would know a thing a two about this fab place!

    I would love to include a few Greenlandic recipes; Preferably snack, desert or bread based recipes, say the Greenlandic equivalent to a victoria sponge or a baguette? I would also like to add in a few little craft sections. Are there any things that Greenlandic children love to make during holiday seasons or simple hunting equipment that many of the people use?

    Thank you so much for your time and it would mean the world if you could help me out just a little bit!

    ~ Amy Lesko

    • Hi Amy, thank you so much for your inquiry! There is a LOT to tell about Greenland Gastronomy and craft traditions 🙂 Would you mind terribly if I ask you to send me this same request to sarah@greenland.com so that I can keep better track of it? Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you again!

  17. I never expected to find an American blogging about Greenland. I like it – thanks. I’m finishing up a fiction book (Published in a couple of months) that takes place mostly in Ilulissat and Thule / Melville Bay area, but also some in Copenhagen too. A search for a – wild – polar bear. Nanoq.

  18. Hi Sarah,

    I’m in Greenland for a week or two and I came across your blog. I was wondering if I could chat to you via email about hiking kingigtorssuaq and if you have any contacts who do this regularly. My email is dchapman13@hotmail.com

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • Hi Dave,

      Thank you for the reply, and I’m happy to hear you made it to Greenland! So – how is it??

      In response to your question, no I don’t know anyone who does this hike regularly, and the tourist companies certainly are not offering it among their usual offerings.

      BUT – it must be your lucky day!! I reached out to someone who took me on the original trip, my friend called Jesper, with this message:

      “Hey kammak – any chance you want to sail to/hike up Kingittorsuaq in the next week or two? A guy called Dave has read my blog post about when we went back in 2012 and is interested to recreate it. He stands in Greenland right now!”

      And Jesper replied with this message:

      “Yes, but we will need to arrange some sailing – I no longer have a boat. You think he could be interested in hiking back? That’s a 30+ km hike back to Nuuk. Next weekend could be a possibility.”

      I have passed your email address to him and requested that he take the communication with you directly from here rather than use me as a middleman.

      I hope that this works out for you! If I were you, I would definitely take Jesper up on the suggestion to hike the 30 km back to town if you have the time and energy. Last year I ran ~20 of these km as part of the KangNu Race, and it was beautiful! If you want, you can read about that KangNu experience here: https://2kalaallitnunaatigo.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/photo-gallery-kangnu-race-running-in-nuuk-backcountry/.

      Cheers!

  19. Hi Sarah, love the blog! I noticed in the comment section that a development producer contacted you in 2013- did anything ever come of that? I too am a development producer looking for concepts involving American’s in Greenland. I would love to touch base with you! Please give me a shout at your convenience.

    Cheers,

    Laura
    laura@nitelite.org

  20. Hi Sarah,
    I’m quite fortunate for stumbling across your blog. I’ve been dreaming of coming to Greenland for the past 3 years and I’m finally making it happen next week. I’m from Kuwait and I travel extensively, but just thinking about finally making it to Greenland gets me all emotional and excited. The information you have on your blog has been very useful! I just requested to follow you on instagram and can’t wait to see more of this fascinating land. Cheer 🙂

    • Hi Dana, thank you for the compliments!

      With my work, I have met and interviewed tourists from a LOT of countries in the world who made their way to Greenland, but Kuwait was never one of them. How exciting!!

      What is it that attracts you to Greenland? What town(s) will you visit? What will you do??

      I wish you the most fantastic holiday next week, and I would love to hear your impressions once you return home and let it all sink in 🙂

      Best,
      Sarah

      • Hi Sarah,
        Thanks for your reply! Ah yes, Kuwaitis would not think of coming to Greenland just because they probably don’t know much about it. I used to be one of those people three years ago sitting in my apartment in London (doing my masters at the time). In my spare time I always open google maps and stare at the world and see whats out there. That day in 2012 I decided to google “Greenland tourism” and was shocked to find the amount of information out there and the fact that there is a tourism industry (embarrassing to admit, I didn’t realize there was much civilization, let alone tourism, etc). Since then, I knew I wanted to go see this place since I am for some reason attracted to remote areas of the world. I had been to Alaska a year before that and Iceland was next up, but Greenland was just a matter of when.

        I finally had a whole trip planned in 2013 that involved Iceland and Greenland, but had to cancel it pretty much last minute because of a bad back injury I got and couldn’t travel anywhere for months. In 2014 I asked a friend to join me to go see Greenland and he wasn’t keen on the idea at all so we ended up going somewhere else. That day, I promised myself that next year I’m going alone ’cause I can’t wait any longer.

        I initially wanted to spend two weeks in Greenland to try to touch on both the east and west coasts, but due to time restraints and my curiosity to see more of neighboring northern Europe, due to logistics, I’ll be spending 8 days in Greenland (half in Ilulissat, and half in Nuuk). I’ve arranged for a bunch of hikes and day trips from both cities and I can’t wait to see that red Air Greenland airbus waiting to take me to my dream.

        Apologies for the long overly expressive response!

        Cheers,
        Dana 🙂

      • Dana, thanks again for the reply. No need to apologize for an overly expressive response – I love it!!

        Your trip sounds long awaited and well deserved after a few instances of cancelled plans.

        I wish you all the best experiences in Ilulissat and Nuuk ❤

        Safe travels!!

        Sarah

  21. Dear Polarphile,

    I’ve been reading your blog the past few days and really intrigued by it. An American in Greenland too, I’m a journalist and anthropologist and have been here over the past few weeks doing research on various types of tourism to the country – much similar to your work it seems.

    I’m in Ilulissat now and headed south to Nuuk by boat later this week – I’d love to hear more about your research/work. Drop me a line if you can – I’m roger [ at ] rogernorum dot com

    All the best,
    Roger

    • Hi Roger,

      First, thank you for your message and readership!

      It sounds like we definitely have some notes to compare, and I would love to talk more. I’ll write to your provided email.

      Take care,
      Sarah

  22. Hi Sarah!

    Nice to e-meet you! I found your blog online while researching about Greenland and was hoping we could connect!

    I am hoping to talk to some Greenland residents about a project my team and I are currently working on.

    Just a few months back, Mass Lab Inc, a tech-start up in Brooklyn, launched an app called Panama (no affiliation to the country). Panama , allows anyone to watch and contribute videos based on their location. Since launching, we had some videos posted in Nuuk, Greenland. Excited about reaching this interesting part of the world, we were hoping to find ways to continue to help this community of users grow.

    I would love to speak with you about this further if you have the time! Love your site!

    All the best,
    Ella

    • Ella,

      Thank you for your comment and for the readership!

      Would you mind terribly if I ask you to copy/paste this same info into a mail to me at sarah@greenland.com? I will be so much better to flag and tag it that way, so I can get back to you!

      Best,
      Sarah

  23. Pingback: Things to do in Ilulissat

  24. Hi Sarah, I have followed your adventures and enthusiasm with interest in the past few days since i discovered your blog. I am a fellow American and I write from Buenos Aires, sort of at the other end of the world. Ironically enough, I do a lot of writing for Scandinavian Press, an English language magazine that targets the 12 million or so North American descendants of Nordic immigrants. You can read a number of my recently published articles at http://www.johnbechtelwriter.com/articles/. I am writing because I am planning a tour of the Far North of the Nordic countries in late spring of 2017, beginning with Greenland. I am a cultural writer more than a travel writer, and I am looking to interview locals, Greenlanders, but with special interest in the Inuit. I am wondering if we could collaborate on a few things, including building some bridges between commercial interests in North America and Greenlandic entrepreneurs interested in expanding their operations. Whatever time I get to spend in Greenland, I would like for it to result in the maximum amount of good for any I am privileged to meet, yourself included. You can reach me through my website, my blog, or at jbechtel@thenewvoltaire.com. I am also writing an introduction to Greenland during the next week, so if you have occasion to respond to this mail, perhaps I can arrange an interview with you? Thank you so much, and keep up your awesome spirit and inspired writing!

    • Hi John,

      Thank you very much for the compliment and readership!

      Your upcoming trip to Greenland and Nordic countries sounds quite exciting. If you are in Nuuk, you are always very welcome to come by the Visit Greenland office in Colonial Harbour.

      I will write to you at your email address, but could I also please request that you re-recreate this same message and send it to press@greenland.com? As your message here is more akin to the work-related inquiries I receive, I would like for it to get into our formal system.

      Best,
      Sarah

  25. Hi – love your blog – nicely put together. After wanting to go to Greenland for years I finally went last August – absolutely loved it. Will be going again next year. I envy people who are in a position to spend more time there than I could afford! I have a couple of questions that Google has so far failed me on; maybe you could help? In very old videos I’ve found (early 20th century), men (and women) are smoking pipes. What are they smoking and where did they get it from? Also, how do the icebergs in the Nuuk fjord compare with those at Illulissat in any given month – are they always bigger in Illulissat?

    I read the Arctic Journal regularly as there’s little English language real-time reading.

    If its of interest here is a video I made and some photos:

    IMG_4093

    I’m sure you must get inundated with this but I would love your thoughts on these matters.

    Best regards
    Simon (London, UK)
    simonATtheurlofealingDOTcom

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