It’s funny when you meet friends out of context. For all of my travels to Europe I have met people who have some element of the past in common. It is always strange to see them living in Europe and it also gives me a great deal of hope that if it makes sense to do so, it can definitely be possible!
Norway was a really wonderful place to visit. It had a beautiful sense of flow from nature to city and all of the people I met seemed genuinely happy. There was no underlying stress, no pretences – it was very honest and another part of Scandinavian culture that felt familiar and like home in some way.
The first cultural difference, especially from Sydney, to Oslo was how clean everything is! From the air to the general city, it was really something to adjust to. The light moves differently under these conditions and can really change the way that a city and its people interact with the surroundings. Everything felt so tranquil at this time of year. The days felt long, even though the sun was only up for very short fragments of time, and people just seemed really happy.
The one not so nice thing about Oslo was the seagulls – they’re scary here! In Australia they’re like these uncoordinated little gangs that run around after chips and fall over sometimes. Here, they had plans and watched as we sat by the harbour and walked around. Maybe it’s a nordic seagull thing. Anyway, for bird life to be the only negative I found in all of Norway, this was pretty good.
The culture here seemed really wonderful. Even though I only spent a few days in Oslo, I had some great conversations about life, what’s important, and so much else during this time. It gives me a little hope in the world to know that countries like Norway actually care about its people and their wellbeing more so than the market value they can offer. To look after a nation with health, education and generally functioning cities that are well integrated with nature… this is so idyllic and the dream that so many reach when thinking about a desirable way of living. Norway is doing something right and I really hope to return again soon… hopefully to hike in some mountains next time!
Oslo; November 2017