Val hails from Canada, the land of the polar bear and the maple leaf. At a young age, Val fell in love with the Canadian outdoors and made that obsession her vocation. An avid kayaker, climber, camper and tree hugger, she spent many years helping others stretch their boundaries and step out of their comfort zone through personal development work.
Val worked at multiple Outward Bound schools in both the United States and New Zealand. Between work stints, she completed several university degrees, taught outdoor education in Australia, and spent 12 months exploring the culture and hidden gems of Central and South America and Thailand.
After Val earned a certificate in Arctic Studies from Lapin Yliopisto in Finland, her polar obsession became unbearable and she began working with Quark Expeditions on expedition ships in Antarctica in 2008.
She enjoys helping others discover the magic of the Arctic by kayak, zodiac or foot. When not on a ship, she splits her time between New Zealand and Canada, where she teaches children and teachers to hug trees and save the world.