“In the backseat you can find out who you are and decide what you should do.” This may be true, although I like to start any road trip as a third wheel with much less pressure to become rather than be. My friend and her boyfriend of one year, a holiday that was an ode to their anniversary, invited me to embark on a trip across what I had previously perceived as a vast amount of land in Norway’s west end. The land we covered was just a small part of Norway’s vast and immense terrestrial landscape. I tried comparing Colorado, Ireland’s west coast and even the most Northern parts of Sweden. But none compared. Not the Swiss nor Italian Alps or even the Rockies stood with such grandeur. No, these Norwegian heights, wild flowers, valleys, and crevices were like nothing I’ve seen before.
My partners and I landed in what was one of many Norway’s small villages with a likely population of less than 2,000. A place that boasted its literary library, one of Norway’s book capitols. The mid-thirty something guy who casually leaned in the doorway of his valley front shack (conveniently located 400 feet from the town’s fire station/public bathroom) reminded me of a 2012 Williamsburg hipster. He looked rough in an endearing way, head to toe in worn denim with the exception of a weathered tee coming through, a substantial beard and his hair unkempt — he of course smoking a fisherman’s pipe as if there was nothing else that one would smoke tobacco out of. His small business (his shack) was stocked with classic books, comics, and other literature that would warm the heart of any Calvin & Hobbes fan like myself.I found a few token pieces to purchase and approached the burly man to be surprised with the reply. This voice did not match match this man! Light, high pitched and sweet. I giggled in amusement, in how wrong we can be when judging someone. But I smiled warmly departing the shop and still smile to myself when thinking back, pondering how easy it is to love, to appreciate something or someone when you are open to them and their surroundings.
On to the next village, to the next road less traveled with a G-Wagon well past it’s prime. With soggy eggs, beans and sausages to nourish, we smoked to ease the chill, gathered wildflowers to decorate our hair, indulged in cold dips to reboot, and of course crisps to remind us of comforts of home. Finding campgrounds was not always easy, the rain poured endlessly but when the sun shone through it was all the more glorious and certainly not wasted. We found mossy landings in the midst of river beds and valley banks to cook dinner and bathe. I often smoked and let my mind wander, sometimes in desperation for a lack of conversation, sometimes in search of a title.
I put on a new pair of lenses and decided it was a chance to reminisce on the days of being too young to see past your parent’s seats, to keep up with their conversation or even process what it was that they were saying. Just enjoy the ride, notify when you have to pee and shout when hungry. I often tried to process what I saw, experienced and lived while driving through Norway. I knew I had this piece to write, I knew I would be inspired, but I had no clue I would be so astonished just how in every aspect of Norway’s wondrous world would work in concert. Glaciers, mosses, valleys, sheep, and ripples along the surface of a Norwegian dusk illuminate Fjords. I kept and keep searching for the right words for description, for the exact picture to paint but my final words are to visit and to see for yourself. Because sometimes it’s not about finding out who you are, where you are or what your next plan is. Sometimes it’s just about being. Just be in Norway.