A place of balance, immense light to follow the deepest slumber.
My curiosity guided me through nearly 77 hours of train travel, crossing borders and hauling my surfboard bag into countless trains, making sure I gave my biggest smile to train conductors with my abnormally shaped suitcase in tow.
I met my good friend and talented photographer, Paula Ortega, as we set out on this last-minute adventure. We decided two days before arriving that a camper van would be our Norwegian home-on-wheels and made our way to Cabin Campers in Oslo. I luckily collected some hours of manual driving in a friend’s tiny little bumper car while in France to give me enough courage to rent a huge van.
But all that hard-earned courage dissipated when it was time to start our journey. Stalling and bunny-hopping throughout the car park, I could see the reserved panic in Paula’s eyes when I couldn’t get us out of first gear. Finally, one deep breath and reassurance from every corner of the Universe got us moving into the twilight fog of rural Oslo.
As the hours ticked past, we started to notice a rather bright stretch of rock reflecting in the headlights… We were told countless times by each new friend that we wouldn’t see snow on our journey but there we were, settling in for our first night in Norway surrounded by a white blanket and waking to the endless frosted hills.
Unable to contain our excitement, we drove slowly through secluded villages with the famed red and white houses with roofs made of wild grasses stretching upwards and sighed at the countless mountains that seemed to open up and eat you.
I heard a Norwegian folklore about these very giants, that it was trolls that forgot about the dawn and froze into stone- creating the many mountain faces we marvel at today.
Passing misty cities of trolls, we rolled into the glacial plains of Hoddevika, Ervik and Stad to finally meet the sea. In the embrace of mountains, the landscape changes mood from ominous to clear and certain. A church and graveyard is nestled in the dunes above the beach and we pay respects before our toes touch the cold sand.
As we wade through the shallows, a transparent, blue wave-face peaks and softly breaks in-front of us, simultaneously giving excitement and a brain freeze. Although we weren’t the luckiest with weather and wave size, it made us appreciate the quiet moment of a coloured sunrise- washing every drip of exhaustion off in the icy sea.
We got to learn about local community strength and the collection of ocean plastics that find their way to Hoddevik’s shore. Nordic Ocean Watch is a grassroots organisation that works throughout Norway’s unique coastline and holds a base at the Løa, a space of creation and finding a forever home to wandering pieces of fishing nets, soft-drink cans and rouge toothbrushes. Find out more about their work with Nordic Trash here.
The sun leaves us early here and we’re reminded of the outside world. It’s time to follow the rivers into the mountains and say our goodbyes to new friends and the mountain faces that watched over us.
As painful as numb toes and chattering teeth are, this sweet bewilderment always follows. A reminder of life and the small tests bringing us closer to this greater connection, greater purpose.
A surge of life energy with every pulse of sharp wind and chilling waves.