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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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Sue Grimwood, Canada

Sue Grimwood

  • The Americas

My Expertise

  • Canada
  • Russian Arctic
  • Spitsbergen
  • Greenland
  • Antarctica

I was inspired to travel south from an early age. My form teacher when I was nine made us listen to tapes from Shackleton’s expeditions, I didn’t know it at the time, but it obviously left a deep impression on my psyche.

My early travels took me to much warmer climes, overlanding, working and hitching my way through much of Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America. After five years of the university of travel around the world, I fell into a job in a specialist travel agency and haven’t looked back since. Twenty-five years later I still love talking to people, finding out what makes them tick and then sending them off to some of my favourite haunts.

With my job I have taken advantage of the opportunity to travel but now on shorter jaunts. In the late 90’s I booked myself on an expeditionary voyage into the Antarctic Circle and was bitten by the polar bug. Here my encounters with hunting Orcas, re-righting icebergs and a particularly “curious” leopard seal left me awestruck and wanting to experience more. Since then I have used every excuse to head back south and also discovered the joys of the Arctic north for close encounters with polar bears as well as penguins.

King Penguins and Elephant Seals, South Georgia
King Penguins and Elephant Seals, South Georgia

Sensory Overload in South Georgia

“You have got to send Sue to South Georgia – it will blow her mind” were the words that convinced my manager that three weeks out of the office was an option. This was true South Georgia was way, way beyond my expectations, during my four days there it threw the full gambit of weather, luck, disappointment and emotions at me.

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Polar Bears
Polar Bears

Walking with Polar Bears

You know you are heading to the remote north when snow comes in through the airplane vents. We were skimming along the coast north of Churchill in a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter heading towards Seal River and by the time we bounced along the dirt runway I had a fine white coating.

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Summer Tundra, Greenland
Summer Tundra, Greenland

Grounded in Greenland

I have always been a firm believer that the best travel experiences start when something goes wrong. So when Air Greenland delayed my flight out of Kulusuk for two days, I relished having the additional time in Tasiilaq so I could explore further this remote region of East Greenland.

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Emperor penguins and their chicks, Antarctica
Emperor penguins and their chicks, Antarctica

My Top Travel Books

  • “South” by Alfred Lansing
  • “The Worst Journey in the World” by Apsley Cherry Garrad
  • “Into the Wild” by Jon Krauker
  • “Polar Attack: From Canada to the North Pole” by Richard Weber
  • “This Game of Ghosts” by Joe Simpson
Leopard seal, Antarctica
Leopard seal, Antarctica

Kayaking with a leopard seal

My husband will never forgive me for trying to get as close as we did! I wanted to get a better picture, but he was not so keen on being in the front seat of the kayak and therefore considerably closer than me. It was well worth the risk!

My Most Memorable Experiences

Explore South Georgia

I was honoured to pay tribute to Shackleton on South Georgia Island, and blown away by the huge colonies of king penguins that gather there.

Discover Baja California

Every year thousands of grey whales come to calve in the calm bays of Magdalena and San Ignacio. But it’s not all about the whales. On your trip to Baja California you can also explore lunar landscapes, home to weird and wonderful plants and reptiles.

Walking with Polar Bears

With guides attuned to the ways of the local bears head out on foot in the company of the Arctic’s apex predator. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security as these are far from cuddly bears but with your experienced armed guide you can get incredible photos of bears from a human eye view. You definitely won’t feel top of the food chain.

Kayaking in Antarctica

Paddle your kayak through the brash ice and berg bits being your own mini icebreaker. Silently approaching leering leopards seals as they lounge on ice flows. Proposing penguins are often curious and will approach for a better look before diving and speeding away like torpedoes. If you are really lucky then watch in awe as a whale slips gracefully under your kayak, with crystal clear water you can see every detail on its barnacled back.

My Hand-Picked Holiday Ideas

Scroll to discover my pick of great journeys in the Americas and Polar regions. From walking with polar bears in the Canadian Arctic to bobbing along the Peruvian Amazon, I hope that this small selection of holiday ideas inspires an adventure of your own.

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Sue's in-depth knowledge of Antarctica, the route options and each of the vessels was invaluable in our preparation for the trip and was a strong differentiator when we were choosing a travel agent. When talking with Sue, we quickly got an honest perspective.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Both telephone and e-mail responses were excellent and all of Sue's expert advice was very much appreciated. She was prompt, supportive and engaging throughout and our expedition to Antarctica was spectacular.

Destination: Antarctica
Travel Expert: Sue

Meet the Americas & Polar Experts

With a combined total of more than 180 years working in travel, we are a small and immensely knowledgeable team of experts. Having driven vintage cars in Havana, climbed granite domes in Yosemite, snorkelled with sea lions in the Galapagos and camped in Antarctica, our passion lies in curating bespoke journeys for our clients, balancing our in-depth local knowledge with a penchant for picking up on the little details that make you tick.

Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?


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