This Colorblind Traveler Got to See the Northern Lights in Canada — Here's How

Watch a colorblind traveler see the northern lights for the first time with EnChroma glasses.

Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon in Canada

Thienthongthai Worachat/Getty Images

Russell Basilio sees the world a little differently than most, as someone with monochromacy, or colorblindness he interprets through shapes and textures as opposed to colors. He recently took a trip to the Yukon to see the northern lights and was able to experience the full splendor with the help of a special pair of glasses.

Basilio is one of millions of Canadians with color vision deficiency. When he and his sister journeyed to the Yukon to see the northern lights, they knew they would need some help to ensure Basilio could see the full spectacle. The sibling duo journeyed with Travel Yukon and Enchroma, a leading producer of glasses for color blindness and low vision. Everyone worked together to help Basilio, and document the entire trip. 

“Being colorblind leaves me feeling disconnected,” Basilio shared in the clip. “It’s hard for me to share the same experiences as everyone else around me.” 

Those missed shared experiences would have included the northern lights, as they come in fantastic hues of green, purples, and reds. 

Two photos depicting how northern lights look to someone who is and is not colorblind

Dan Carr/EnChroma via Travel Yukon

“The Yukon truly is larger than life, but for the hundreds of millions of people with colorblindness across the globe, many of its most spectacular and colorful scenes can’t be fully experienced or appreciated,” Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma, shared in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure on sending Basilio off to test out the glasses. 

“Oh wow,” Basilio exclaims in the video at his first sight of the lights using the glasses. “I can see it in green.” His sister then pointed to a slice of pink sky, and Basilio added with surprise, “Oh, that’s pink!” 

Two photos depicting how northern lights look to someone who is and is not colorblind

Dan Carr/EnChroma via Travel Yukon

“Growing up colorblind, I always knew I saw the world differently. My sister would describe things to me like the Northern Lights, but I never really understood what that meant,” Basilio added in a statement. “To experience the Northern Lights in color with my sister by my side was a gift.”

Basilio isn’t the only one who can take a journey like this. Several northern lights tour operators, including Northern Lights Resort Spa and Epic North Tour Experiences have EnChroma glasses available for guests to use on their travels. Interested guests should contact the tour operator directly to find out about its loaner policy.

And, for those wanting to experience the northern lights to the fullest, Travel Yukon shared a discount code, 25Yukon, which will score you 25% off a pair of glasses, plus Travel Yukon will donate a pair to a Canadian museum, library, school, or park. Learn more about the northern lights, the Yukon, and Basilio’s trip of a lifetime here

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