Aussie adventurer’s Arctic dream
SUMMER has arrived in Tasmania, but Josh Wood is dreaming of deep snow, ice-capped mountains and 30 degrees below zero.
The Hobart bushwalking guide is on a quest to represent Tasmania in one of the coldest challenges on the planet.
Mr Wood is making a bid for the Fjallraven Polar event, which is a 300km journey through the Arctic wilderness by dogsled.
The 29-year-old said he had always dreamt of experiencing an Arctic winter.
"I love the snow, I love cold places," he said.
But he is competing against a field of almost 200 hopefuls from the Asia/Oceania region trying to win a spot on the journey, which takes places early next year.
Only two places will be allocated to representatives from Asia/Oceania - one by popular vote and another by a jury decision based on the applicant.
"It's really stiff competition to be selected, " said Mr Wood, who has more than 6000 followers on his coachjoshwood Instagram.
"And I'm competing against people from parts of the world with really high population densities, so they can attract a lot of votes."
The Indonesian contestant in the lead has more than 25,000 votes, while Mr Wood is sitting at 40th spot on 167 votes.
Mr Wood, who works as a guide for the Tasmanian Walking Company, is also a fitness and boxing coach.
He moved to Australia from the US 11 years ago, and was drawn to Tasmania to be closer to nature.
"I came to Tasmania because this is the place to be if you want to be outside - it's green and it's cool," he said.
He has previously explored winters in Canada and Alaska, and longs for the tougher Arctic adventure posed by the Fjallraven Polar event.
The event, which has been running since 1997, starts in the mountains of Norway and goes through Sweden. The contestants must drive their own dogsleds, prepare their own food and set up their own camps.
Voting for contestants hoping to be part of the 2019 ends in six days.
To vote Mr Wood, go to bit.ly/votejoshw.