Vera Simonsson is one of the founders of Vega Expeditions. As a certified Arctic guide, glacier instructor and captain, she has led expeditions and trips worldwide. The perfect companion to navigate you safely through the pack ice!
Vera spends most days outdoors, either working as a guide or with her family on their small farm in Norway. In love with skiing and the Arctic, she lived in Svalbard for a year and crossed the island from south to north by skis. Three years later, she teamed up with 3 Scandinavian friends to form the ‘Baffin Babes’. Together they skied across Baffin Island, for which she was named ‘Adventurer of the year’ in Sweden in 2009. Since then, she has undertaken many expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica.
Connect to nature
The love of nature and the outdoors has always driven Vera. But sharing this fascination with other travellers, as she does with Vega Expeditions, is what makes the experience unique. “To see others connect to nature, knowing that you have made this possible for them, is a powerful drive. There is nothing quite like standing on the deck with someone in tears because they see and experience so much beauty. And as a team, we always learn so much from each other.”
So, where does her passion for the Arctic begin? “My parents always took us out on skies and in nature when I was a child. They are biologists. We used to camp out and go on skiing adventures. I also loved reading about the animals and was always curious about ice and snow in its different colours and formations. So beautiful. To me, the Arctic feels very untouched and wild. It really boosts my energy and makes me feel alive.”
It was 2006 when Vera met Oscar on a small ship in Svalbard. She was guiding, as she had been doing for some years. Oscar was working as a salesman on deck. After a while, they started guiding together and five years later they founded Vega. “We shared this dream of organising expeditions in our own way, with smaller boats, more expert guides and photographers, and lots of respect for nature. We want to pass on our passion and knowledge about the region to people with open minds.”
What makes her heart beat most during the expeditions? “Definitely the fact that we are traveling into the wild with largely no itinerary. We have a general outline of where to sail, but we really decide day by day where to go and what to see. It’s just such a big adventure. Setting out to discover the unknown is, in part, exactly what we do.
As a biologist, I always hope our guests learn about the landscape, wildlife, and climate. ‘Small groups, great adventures’ is no empty slogan. We want to evolve and deepen our focus. Add a couple of destinations, and become better and more knowledgeable. But we do not want to organise more trips than we do today or grow the number of guests per boat. Because we believe it’s the personal contact and the team spirit that make our expeditions unique.”
Vera will be guiding our Svalbard tours in the autumn, together with Yves Adams. There are still some available spots! Discover the autumn expedition.
Country of origin
Biology and Ecology
Parts of Africa, like Botswana
On my bucket list
Explore the east coast of Greenland with a group of skiers
Swim with the blue whales, the biggest animals on the planet