Welcome to the next installment of my travel stories. If you haven’t already, you might like to read my previous posts about the start of my journey.
In Norway, once I’d finished stirring up big life questions with Morten and Marte Marit, and peering through a porthole into my future, I headed to Nærbo to visit Ragnhild (who I met at Julie Arkell’s course last year in France) and her husband Atle. There we filled my entire Talking Book with Norwegian, and my use of the language took some pretty big strides. I thought my mind might be about to explode. Luckily there was nature to soothe me. Oh my god, can I just say, the nature there, it did something to me. The land spoke to me. I don’t know how or why (was I a Norwegian in a past life?), and was beyond beautiful.
Here’s a cultural difference I discovered between Norwegians and Australians. Norwegians will choose to be outside in all weather. Planning a hike but it’s raining? No problem. We’ll go in the rain. They are also tough as nuts. When Marte Marit picked me up from the train station, instead of hustling me home and relieving me of my bags, she took one of my backpacks and proceeded to take me on a tour of the town. It didn’t matter that it was raining at the time. She’d thoughtfully brought me a rain poncho too. While I would never have done that in Australia, I discovered the inner Norwegian in me, and that I, too, can be tough enough to wander all over town in the rain with my travel pack on. Cool. I like this version of myself!
So, when Ragnhild and Atle and I planned a mini-hike through the wilds of their region, the fact that it was raining on the day didn’t even make them blink. Ragnhild handed me an extra pair of shoes and a raincoat, and we were off. It was cold. Even though this is summer for Norway, it was more like a mild Melbourne winter.
And the water was icy. How do I know this? When we got to this beautiful isolated beach, Atle and I dared each other to whip off our clothes down to our nudies and dive in. OMG it was exhilarating. There was magic in the water, I tell you, though I couldn’t take it for more than a few minutes! But afterwards I felt clean, new, and oh so connected to the land.. and to Ragnhild and Atle too. Ahh yes, there was muchness in that water. Here's us, just afterwards: