Many, if not most days in life start, pass by and end without any remarkable events and quickly fade in our memories in the haze of thousands of others. Some days do bring an incident worth remembering, and sometimes you might even remember the exact date. But very rare are periods of multiple days or weeks in succession of which you can reconstruct nearly every single moment years later, and of which the memory even seems to grow stronger with every new wrinkle or grey hair (which I unfortunately already have!). Getting out of our comfort zone is the key to such raw and intense moments. For some this might be by political commitment, volunteering in forgotten places on earth, or by base-jumping from high buildings. I try to pursuit that goal by self-propelled travel through remote, preferably mountainous, areas.
I travel to Norway on the 1st of june, 2012. After a few hours on the train I end up in Kristiansand around dusk. I’d picked a bivouac spot near the small Banetjonn lake close to the city centre on Google Earth before leaving, but there is a metal music festival with an alarming concentration of junkies just a few hundred meters away. As it is already getting dark I pitch my tarp anyway, and thanks to my earplugs I still manage to have a good night’s sleep. The following morning I buy alcohol for my stove, go to the supermarket three times, pack everything in boxes I’ve begged in the shop, and send everything to my contacts further up my route. Apart from tomorrow in Lyngdal, I do not expect to encounter any significant shopping possibility throughout the next 20 days. My food drops will allow me to stay in the mountains without descending or hitch-hiking into towns for re-supply.
At 1 o’clock I take a bus further down the coast towards Vigeland. The weather is nice, but showers appear to be active further inland. I now have to hitchhike the last 25km to Lindesnes. A local resident quickly takes me, but he turns out to be a retard racing down the winding roads along the coast at 100km/h and overtaking other cars in sharp turns. After I tell him I want to get out if he does not drive slower it gets a bit better, but reaching the lighthouse in one piece nevertheless feels like the first major accomplishment of the trip. A barrier blocks the road further up to the lighthouse. One has to pay a ridiculous 100NOK to stand at Norway’s southern end. “I’m not a standard visitor”, I think to myself while I sneak along information center.
It is 4 o’clock on a windy but sunny late spring afternoon. 2700km (or about 1700 miles) of pristine mountain scenery, but also of endless snowfields, icy rivers, horrible bushwhacking sections, knee-deep swamps and countless rainy days separate me from my final goal, Nordkinn. Most of that distance I am going to cover solo. It is the trip I have been dreaming of for years, planning like a maniac for months, and walking in my mind a hundred times. And it is about to start, here and now.