During the past few years I have been pondering about where I would like to settle in, for a while at least. PJ coming into play brought in the option of Norway. So far we have been commuting between Belgium, Norway and Sweden, bringing in the best of what beer, fish and fika have to offer. And without wanting to end that commute, we would like to establish a base somewhere. A basecamp we can come home to, relax in, and prepare from.
I’ve never had that much of a bond with Norway, besides of spending one summer in Flåm two years ago. Yet the only person I really knew was PJ, and I am not one particularly fond of feeling dependent upon a partner. It took me a little while to understand Norwegian, with its strong dialects, to adjust to the remoteness of little places along the fjord, to understand the power of the mountains, the steepness, the fact that it’s always full on once you get going. Though I really enjoyed that summer, I don’t think I appreciated Norway to the fullest. My life in Scandinavia, my friends, my adventures up north, my knowledge on outdoor life: they were all based in Sweden.
Somehow this winter I felt myself missing Norway, looking forward to returning to Flåm after the season. I think PJ enjoyed seeing that change, as he happily drove me from one epic place in northern Norway to the other. Even with little experience in winter camping, I felt that as I was around him, I was comfortable going out. I loved every minute of our time out there, even the wet ones, and I’m already stoked to go back fully equipped to ski through all that untouched snow on all those mountains.
The last part of our journey down was the most social part. We spent some time with friends of PJ and common friends in Bodø and Trondheim, connecting the places with a very comfortable but senior-overloaded Hurtigruten. The weather had really turned on us, and though we kept camping there was not that much walking that could be done anymore. Time and sun had run out, even if there were still many things along the way south that I would have liked to see.
But stopping by in those towns and meeting those people, for the first time I felt I had some foot on the ground in Norway. Maybe I had it before and never realised, yet suddenly I really liked it. The northerners, the westerners, they charmed me, with their openness, their straight-forward minds and their funky dialects. Driving further down we started talking about getting a place in the north of Norway. Maybe, hopefully, one day we’ll end up there.