Bernadette’s Take #35

Wild and foxy!
Romy Jansen, Dawson City, Yukon Territory

2) red fox on Midnight Dome (85)Romy has made some special friends in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory – I think the fox appreciates her keen sense of fashion. (Photo Romy Jansen)

It is not possible to travel to Dawson City without noticing Romy Jansen. Or her store “Wild & Wooly”.

Nomen est Omen. There is something wild and wooly about Romy (58), for sure.

When her husband René, a Dutch man, proposed to her more than 30 years ago, he wanted to buy her a diamond ring.

But our Romy, who worked with René at the luxury Dolder hotel in Zurich at the time, refused. “Why should you spend 15000 Swiss francs on a ring?”, she said. She wanted to travel to the Yukon Territory instead.

fishing on McQesten Lake 1jpgTraveling for Romy never ever means the conventional way – last time I looked it was a raft. (Photo Romy Jansen)

But of course, for adventurous Romy, travel is not driving in a car. Within three months, they emigrated from Switzerland to Canada and for another three months, they floated on a raft down the Yukon river to the Bering Sea! So much for a very exciting honeymoon. They were even alive at the end.

They settled in Dawson City, a town of 1900 people. Romy’s career changed from a senior position at a luxury hotel to waitress. For six years, she waited at tables in the historic hotel Eldorado.

Later her husband built the Hotel “Aurora Inn” and managed it for 8 years. Romy has had her store since 1987. She has become an avid photographer and a jeweler.

5) Caribou (56)There must be some celebrity in the Yukon mountains – George Clooney maybe? No, it is some other important animal named caribou. (Photo Romy Jansen)

In the summer, she buys nuggets from the gold diggers (she has become an expert in quality gold). In the winter, she creates jewelry with her own design.

But her real passion is photography. And she loves to hunt. She is also a wedding officer.

This courageous Swiss woman has adapted to the harsh climate up north. “Because it is so extreme, it is also fantastic!”, she says.

Every year, she picks about 300 kilograms of wild berries.
When she goes on hikes, she takes a pepper spray with her. Or a gun.

17) mush - mush (36) - CopyOh, no – the engine of Romy`s car must have failed again in the freezing temperatures of the North. (Photo Romy Jansen)

In winter, when she drives the distance of 535 kilometres to Whitehorse, in minus 30 or 40, she always has a thermos, a sandwich, candles, a lighter and a saw for firewood in the car. No life for sissies.

She also drives on the Dempster Highway from Dawson City to Inuvik. Only 766 kilometers, mind you. Last time, she encountered two cars and said: “What a darn traffic up here!”

But Romy also admits that a lot of marriages fail because the men love the wilderness and the women hate it. The isolation and the hard life conditions are not for every woman. “You don’t have nice manicured fingernails here”, she says.

Despite of it, Romy does not give in. She wears lipstick while hunting. “I am happy in the bush but I don’t have to look like a bush woman”, she says.

Well, Romy, you definitely don’t. Believe me.

???????????????????????????????Red and white – does it remind you of something? Even the dog sled race is Swiss colour-coded. (Photo Romy Jansen)

Here is the Can-Swiss Quiz with Romy Jansen:

What gift do you bring home from Switzerland?

Always Schnaps.

What products do you miss most in Canada?

Yoghurt, some cheeses, Teuscher chocolate ………….. all from Switzerland.

Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Swiss men or women?

Punctuality, politeness, manners.

Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Canadian men or women?

Spontaneity, more casual, not so serious.

2) fishing at McQuesten (4)Don’t look at the fish, it is secondary. Look at the baseball hat! Switzerland has outposts even in the Yukon!! (Photo Romy Jansen)

What triggered a culture shock for you in Canada?

The hugeness of the country, for it takes me 6 hours one way just to have an x-ray taken.

Which Canadian or Swiss personality fascinates you?

Personalities do not fascinate me, regular people do.

P.S. If you know an interesting person, or if you have an interesting story to tell about yourself, don’t hesitate to contact us at!

One response to “Bernadette’s Take #35

  1. hola!! me gusto mucho el reportaje de Romy!!! la conocí en Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México, y hace mucho tiempo que no la veo!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s