One of the luxuries of a year abroad is the opportunities that you get to travel. Three months in and I’ve already seen a lot of Finland – Oulu, Inari, Kilpisjärvi, Helsinki, the list goes on. I recently returned from an amazing and memorable trip to Northern Norway. They say “He who fails to plan, plans to fail” but sometimes I think no matter how much you plan there is always something that goes wrong.
14 of us headed out, 9 in a van and 5 in a car; the ride up was stunning, passing through knee-deep snow, stopping in Kilpisjärvi to see the burning red sunrise whilst eating breakfast, riding through the Norwegian fjords and stopping once again to take in the view. One of us even lost a shoe somewhere in the snow in Kilpisjärvi. The difficulty began when the car went over a rock causing a crack to appear in the engine and oil to leak. But nevertheless, we arrived at our cottage, around 40km outside of Tromso, which was located on the edge of the sea and had a beautiful view of the mountains. The next few days were absolute bliss; we were lucky enough to see the northern lights on the first night (a sight I hope never to forget), we went hiking in the mountains, visited Tromso etc. However, the car remained a problem. We were stuck in Norway with no transport for 5 people, despite the extremely kind help of the owners and a few handy firemen who were in our adjacent cottage (I know ladies, pretty lucky). Our plans on how to get back to Rovaniemi changed at least every few hours and at one point even involved driving back and forth twice. What was incredible about this trip was that nobody let anything dampen their spirits, we came to enjoy ourselves and that’s exactly what we did. On the last night we managed to formulate what in my eyes can only be described as a “master plan” which involved the group splitting into three, and taking two different buses and the van.
Travelling can be hard, but when it’s with the right people, you find a way to enjoy yourselves through anything: you sing to the radio, you even throw snowballs at those who are sleeping and the journey creates countless “in-jokes”. And the miracle at the end?...well, let’s just say we incredibly found a “shoevenir” on our way back.