“They say home is a place you can choose to be
and I’ve decided to carry home inside me”
My heart, Moddi, my heart.
I have absentmindedly hummed along with those words, sung them loudly, and processed them deeply over the last few months. Today they have inspired my own thoughts about finding myself at home in someone else’s version of home.
I sometimes still think I might have dreamt it, but last summer I went on a monumental, twenty-something, exploratory adventure to both Iceland and Norway with one of my best friends in the world. (Iceland will get the blogging spotlight another day.) Did we really lug giant backpacks onto planes and trains and buses, eat some kind of bread with every meal and hilariously attempt and fail to pronounce words on Norwegian signs for over a week? (We did eventually get the hang of koselig, at least.)
When Kaylene and I decided we were going to visit our long lost friend Rocky who had moved to Trondheim (and onto a boat), I don’t think either of us really knew what we’d find when we got to Norway. The internet told us to expect really expensive everythings, souvenirs adorned with images of trolls and vikings, toddlers wearing skis, fjords and stave churches.
We found those things. But Norway gave me a feeling that I didn’t expect to find in a foreign country. I’m not sure the English language has a word to describe what’s it’s like to feel both in and far away from your home at the same time. The landscapes? So much like Newfoundland. The people? So helpful to us poor unilingual souls. The weather? 14ish degrees celsius every day for a week in August.
Yep, just like home.
Maybe it was the magic of that fresh, clean Norwegian air that made everything seem like something I’d want to remember long after we’d left.
Exploring the cobblestone back-streets of Bergen on foot and meeting friends of friends. Observing and interpreting conversations we couldn’t understand while we sipped our $6 CAD coffees in a Trondheim coffee shop. Ziploc- bagging enough food from the “free” Oslo hotel breakfast to try and get us through the day so we could afford to actually get home again.
Hearing a Grieg lyric piece performed in Norwegian. Trying brunost. Norwegian waffles (SOGOODHEARTS4EVER). Riding a train through the mountains and seeing villages that looked Lego-size from above.
Imitating Edvard Munch’s The Scream whenever possible. Sailing on Rocky’s boat. Seeing a herd of reindeer while climbing a mountain that made Gros Morne Mountain seem like a leisurely stroll*.
There’s something almost mystical about Norway, which I’m sure is heavily influenced by Norwegian folklore. (My only knowledge of Norway before this trip basically began and ended with Peer Gynt, so there’s that.) It’s a feeling you don’t forget after you leave and go back to wherever your real home is.
Those things that I so purposefully made sure to remember about our adventure come to my mind a lot. I think Kaylene and I shared an experience that we will always somehow carry with us. I certainly couldn’t have asked for anyone better to share it with. (She even entertained every silly photo pose I asked her to strike during this trip. Best Friend for Life status. #boom)
This trip made me realize all the lame** Tumblr quotes about how travel changes you ring true. How you realize you are so very small and the world is so very big and it’s not about you.
I am by no means a seasoned traveler, and I know traveling is very much a privilege, so I still don’t take for granted that we got to do this because we’re young and free and unattached and there’s no time like the present. But I still hope I get to go back someday and see more of the country that kind of felt like home. Until then, I’ll just have to let Moddi take me there. (Listen.)
**I actually love them.