Mush: Nurse hears the call of dogsledding

  • Dec. 11, 2015 7:44 a.m.

You’ve gone from being very shy and anxious to overcoming serious health issues, to travelling alone through 34 countries, and now to working in remote areas in northern Canada.

What’s next?

Well, if you’re Kimberly Faber, a somewhat worldly 26-year-old, you really want to spend five days on an expedition driving a sled dog team for the very first time for 300 km from Norway to Sweden, north of the Arctic Circle.

Why? Well because winter is wonderful, apparently.

Faber, who lived in Red Deer until she was 12, and who will make the city her home again later this month, took nursing at Red Deer College from 2007-11.

Right now she’s contract working for a few weeks as an emergency nurse in Dease Lake, B.C., which, depending on how you look at it, is 1,750 km northwest of Red Deer or 260 km south of Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.

When Faber was younger she was sick a lot. Strep throat, fainting, chest pains, vomiting and ulcers. At one point she was on nine different medications and an inhaler. “I let that put limits on my life, my experiences and my value as a person,” she said Thursday.

She was so shy she lived quite fearful, she said, although deep down she wanted adventure in her life.

So, after nursing school, Faber took what was a big step for her and moved to Victoria, B.C. where she had a friend.

She ended up working in a hospital emergency department.

It was in Victoria where she said she began living and believing in a much healthier lifestyle, eating better, doing a lot of walking. Today she doesn’t take any medication, uses a food supplement she believes helps her stay healthy and has an active life that includes running.

After two years, Faber decided to start travelling. Her very first trip was to Thailand and since then she’s been to South America, Europe, Eastern Europe and Great Britain.

Now she works short-term “travel nurse contracts” that range from one to 12 weeks — in Alberta, B.C. and the Yukon— in hospitals that have an urgent need for nurses.

“Part of me hopes that I’m helping out and another part of me is, because I believe that by taking on new experiences and challenges, I’m learning and growing and becoming more adaptable.”

As for the dogsledding adventure, known as Fjällräven Polar, Faber said the voting is over and winners are being announced, starting today.

The idea is to show that ordinary people from around the world have the ability to do extraordinary things in very rugged conditions. There’s no training beforehand, Faber said.

After two months of -40C in the Yukon, Faber took a liking to winter, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, instead of looking at it as something to just get through every year.

She said if she is not chosen for the expedition, she may try again next year but meanwhile she wants to pursue a winter adventure regardless.

“If one door closes you can open your own doors.”

Faber, who is also a yoga instructor, said lately she has wanted to be closer to family and her network of friends in Central Alberta who believe in “healthy and aspiring living.”

She returns to Red Deer on Christmas Eve to her parents and grandfather who live here.

To see Faber’s video and profile on the Fjällräven Polar website, go to