As early October creeps closer, thousands of travelers from across the globe prepare for the trip of a lifetime. Many have anticipated this experience to immerse themselves in the polar bears’ habitat for months if not years. This experience in the small town of Churchill, Manitoba on the shores of the Hudson Bay will for some forever change the way they look at the world and the animals that inhabit it. All who make the one-week or so venture will remember it forever.

Another group of people take a slightly different view of the forthcoming season. Seasonal workers by the hundreds also come to Churchill for a seven -week period for the incredible experience. The town becomes a community and network of people all working toward the same goal of helping others enjoy one of the most unique “migrations” of sorts on the planet. Many of these workers come back, year after year, mixing with other newbies looking for an adventure. In a way the workers that return to Churchill every year are quite like the polar bears..all reuniting with the same purpose.

Seasonal workers in Churchill stay loose.

As the season grows closer, I know from over 10 years of experiencing the season, that along with the anticipation of the amazing events over the two-months, one also has intense feelings of angst on either end of the season and waves of high and low energy spurts as the season blooms into full-swing. Preparing for this flow can be more critical then the ability to handle the workload and long hours ahead throughout October and November. A tremendous energy reserve is necessary for a person to work virtually every day for almost seven weeks straight. Rewarding and taxing at the same time, emotions of every kind are constantly tapped. Year’s of experiences are often condensed into this time-frame and it may take just as long to process.

“Teams” of workers meld as the season goes on. Restaurants, tour companies, hotel staffs, rover companies, conservation officers and on and on work together to not only serve clients at a high level of excellence but also to aide each other in surviving the long season. There’s no choice in this situation…you have to become proficient and highly skilled in what you are offering or the operation will fall apart. There can be no middle ground. Efficiency rules in such a small town with limited resources. Waste of any sort cannot exist.

Another Churchill polar bear season ends with smiles.

As the season comes to a close, many will need to use reserve energy to finish as strong as they started. Once the season does end, one’s body will release all the tension and pressure built up over the past seven weeks and it will take up to two weeks to recharge. First, all the energy left will be let go and then the slow recharging will take place. Often this all takes place back in civilization of a much different sort and “culture shock” can be very slow to overcome as well. About six months down the road everyone is once again slowly building that anticipation of the season until all of a sudden it’s here again. In many ways this process goes on in each of us in some way with regards to so many things in life.



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