Dr Rishi Weerasinghe and Dr Yvette Fahey flew to Norway in January to take part in a medical and dental conference to the northernmost reaches of the planet. The trip was an early honeymoon for the young engaged couple, who own Torquay Dental on Victoria’s Surf Coast and have long wanted to see the Northern Lights.
“Seeing the Northern Lights was a bucket-list trip for both of us,” said Dr Weerasinghe. “We are obsessed with snow and winter culture and, since making clinical photography such an integral part of our dental practice, we have started developing a love for photography and beautiful pictures. You would be hard-pressed to find images more breathtaking and iconic than the Northern Lights.”
During the seven-day convention, the couple travelled to Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands and Swedish Lapland. The exciting itinerary also included dogsledding, sleeping in an ice hotel, riding in a reindeer-drawn sled and dining with Indigenous Sami people in a tipi.
As with all Unconventional Conventions journeys, the pair also participated in an engaging academic program covering pain management and emergency medicine, including a destination-relevant session on hypothermia.
“The trip was, hands down, one of the best experiences I have ever had,” said Dr Weerasinghe. “Every place we went to was stunning. We were so lucky to see the Northern Lights on every night in the Arctic Circle. I immensely enjoyed the activities chosen as well, as they were things we would not normally consider, but were so enjoyable and allowed us to take some amazing photos.”
Dr Fahey agrees: “Our highlight was the Lofoten Islands. Definitely a place everyone should visit at some point, only made better by the pulsing Northern Lights outside our cabin.”
It was the couple’s first trip with Unconventional Conventions and both were very impressed. “It really highlighted how enjoyable and stress free a well organised holiday can be as everything worked like clock-work, and the places we went to and stayed at were breathtaking,” said Dr Fahey. “I thoroughly enjoyed the academic content as well, from renowned specialists to the pearls of wisdom from the practice managerial component,” said Dr Weerasinghe. “We were able to apply it straight away in our recently opened dental surgery.”
“This trip really helped us recharge after a busy year and near-burnout,” said Dr Fahey. “We came back refreshed, though sad that the trip was over!”
Dr Weerasinghe won a double spot on the sold-out Northern Lights convention after impressing organisers with his short blurb about the value of combining travel with professional development. “Rishi’s entry ticked all the boxes for us,” said Unconventional Conventions director Dr Margot Cunich. “Our delegates are doctors and dentists who struggle to find time for travel against the competing demands of work and family life. Rishi touched on these themes, as well as talking about the benefits of combining bucket-list travel with stimulating learning alongside like-minded peers.”