In a cozy café in Reykjavik, Iceland, I was sipping my latte out of an oversized cup when a raven alit on the top of a bright red house outside the café. For the umpteenth time since I’d been in the country, I tried to pronounce the Icelandic word for Raven. Hrafn. I rolled the letters over my tongue, speaking the word aloud. As soon as I heard my voice, I knew I’d said it incorrectly. Hrafn. The fn makes a “p” sound, I reminded myself. But how do you pronounce Hr? Hrafn. Hrafn. I realized I’ve become that odd-looking traveler sitting alone at a table talking to myself.
I’d been thinking a lot about ravens. I’d come to Iceland to, among other things, work on my writing. The raven, or hrafn, is an important bird in Icelandic folklore. It is said that the Norse god Oðinn had two ravens that counseled him, Huginn (“Thought”) and Muninn (“Memory”). I’d hoped the raven outside the café would help inspire my thoughts and memories, and therefore my writing. But really, the bird was just the beginning, because so much in Iceland inspired my creativity.
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon isn’t really a “canyon” at all, but rather a collection of giant natural amphitheaters in southwestern Utah.
With her passion for wildlife adventures, from jungle trekking in Uganda to see mountain gorillas or curling up with lemurs in Madagascar, Jessica Pociask is our type of traveler.
As the owner of WANT Expeditions — Wildlife and Nature Travel, a conservation-oriented, expedition-style adventure travel company — Jessica leads tours to see the most amazing natural phenomena on Earth. Jessica has been to over 70 countries, leading expeditions all over the world, and has visited all 7 continents. She has studied climate change in Antarctica, and she was one of 50 women chosen from the US and Mexico for the Women’s Leadership and International Sustainable Development award by the National Wildlife Federation.
A biologist by trade, Jessica recently spoke on a panel with distinguished conservationists and biologists regarding the impact of tourism on conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.
And where is Jessica currently? Oh, just leading a tour in Ecuador to see the first new carnivore species found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years — the olinguito.
Traveling Type: How did you get your start leading wildlife and nature tours?
Jessica Pociask: It’s a long, convoluted story that probably started when I made my first insect collection somewhere around the age of 7. Over the next 20 years, fueled by stories in my grandfather’s collection of National Geographic magazines, I was inspired with the idea of being an explorer and adventurer. I took my first trip abroad when I was 16, and I once traveled with an orchestra through Europe. From there on, I was smitten with traveling, so I began working for various conservation organizations and outdoor outfitters and started traveling abroad independently. READ MORE