I had never traveled abroad when I made the decision to backpack throughout Norway. In fact, I had never even been out of the country when I made the decision to MOVE to Norway, but I guess these sorts of wild ideas are expected when you are raised by a free spirited, hippie mom…who happens to be Norwegian. As a 23 year old girl getting ready to travel alone and outside of the country for the first time, I wasn’t the least bit scared of my upcoming trip to Norway…I think the excitement cancelled out any fear I had about traveling alone. I had read just about every travel book I could on Norway, been given great advice from friends on traveling, and kind of just assumed I would be okay in one of the world’s safest countries. Plus, even if I was going to be eaten by a moose or attacked by a viking, at least it happened in Norway!
Finally July arrived and me and my very tiny suitcase landed in Oslo. I was so excited by everything! Even getting yelled at by a Norwegian lady (IN NORWEGIAN!) was amazing! I was surrounded by a new language, the freshest air I had ever breathed, and some very good looking people. Because I was so excited about everything, I wasn’t afraid to go up to strangers (not that I really ever am anyway) and ask them for help. Because of this excitement-fueled bravery, I found my hostel in no time.
I had booked the cleanest sounding hostel within my price range about two months before my trip, and although when I finally arrived it wasn’t exactly in the nicest of areas, it was very close to the main road in downtown Oslo, Karl Johans Gate, so I was happy with my choice. I felt even better about my hostel choice after the guy working at the coffee shop below my hostel gave me a free coffee. The only thing that had me worried was I didn’t really see a lot of travelers in my hostel. I assumed/hoped that they were all out exploring the city, since it was the middle of the day, but just in case, when the receptionist asked me what room I wanted to stay in, I replied with, “The room with the most people in it”. He got a good laugh out of that when he said I would be with a group of guys. He got another good laugh when I said I didn’t mind at all.
I walked in and found my group of guys, a Mexican named Carlos, an Australian named Jacob and a guy from southern California named Phil. I am so happy I met these guys because not only were they amazingly fun, but I felt like I had three bodyguards with me at all times. After a little sightseeing and visiting the typical tourist attractions (viking ship museum, resistance museum, the fortress, Akker Brygge, etc…) we decided to go out for drinks. Now, this is where things get a bit confusing, but it’s also where I believe my karma bank was completely cashed out.
While my bodyguards and I were out for drinks, an American guy sitting alone overheard us speaking English and asked if he could join us. He was nice and since he was also in Oslo by himself, we invited him to join us the next night too. So the next day, after a day of meeting four hilarious Dutch guys who were instantly added to my growing group of bodyguards, we all met up with the lone ranger American. On this night, he wasn’t alone though. He had met a Norwegian girl named Rebecca on Couchsurfing that he was thinking about staying with, and brought her out with us that night. Not that I didn’t enjoy being surrounded by eight hilarious and fun guys, but I was so excited to finally meet a Norwegian and have a girl to hang out with.
We became friends, and the next morning when we had to say our goodbyes to everyone who was leaving us and continuing on with their travels, we went out to breakfast with Carlos. After a little sightseeing with our Norwegian tour guide, she asked us if we wanted to meet her friends because it isn’t every day they get to meet a Mexican and an American. This is where I met Kjell and Daniel, two Norwegian guys.
After coffee and a confession that I hadn’t really been able to try a lot of Norwegian food due to not really knowing where to get it and me being afraid of the prices, Kjell invited us back to his apartment for to try some real Norwegian food. I had been living off nothing but bread and yogurt for the last few days, so I immediately accepted the invite. It was probably the best idea of my life, because that’s how I met Kjell’s roommate, Carsten. Carsten is a viking who should be a male model. He is about 6’3”, has blue eyes, light brown/dirty blonde hair, and some serious stubble. He was basically the sexiest guy I had ever met in my life, and I never would have met him had I not wandered into that magical Norwegian kitchen.
After some serious flirting, I think he finally got the message I was into him and as lame as it sounds, I found him on Facebook later that night. The computer at my hostel and Facebook were basically the only ways I could contact people because I didn’t have a phone or a laptop with me. I didn’t want to be one of those tourists who are constantly tagging photos on their mobile Facebook connection, and not actually experiencing anything. But my hostel offered one hour of free internet time, and when I could have been writing to my mom to tell her I was still alive, I managed to hunt down Carsten and his sexy stubble on Facebook.
That was an interesting night because I had to stay awake all night long. I had decided the next stop on my trip was going to be Bergen, Norway’s second major city. The only problem was that I had to catch my train at 5 am. I didn’t have an alarm clock, and because I was so nervous I was going to miss my train, I thought it best to just stay awake all night. It wasn’t that bad though because in between my 4 or 5 espresso shots, I met the night owls of the hostel and was able to talk to Carsten a little through Facebook chat. I was really excited about going to a new city, especially since all of my hostel friends had left earlier that day, but I kept thinking about Carsten and his sexy sexy stubble. There was something special about that boy, and even though I had cities to go to, I was excited about the possibility of seeing him again.
And I did see him again. After my trip to Bergan, I went back to Carsten ‘s kitchen, and I’m still here now.
I suppose if I had to give some advice on traveling, I would say, always say yes to meeting new people. I am so happy that I came to Norway by as a solo female traveler because that pushed me to break out of any bubble I would have had, had I traveled with other people. I was forced to meet people, and I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful people. It was those wonderful people that eventually led me to a kitchen with a very sexy Norwegian.
Perhaps it was actually just the Norwegian prices that made it so I was afraid to spend money on food…which I guess made me hungry enough to go into a stranger’s kitchen, but every choice I made somehow worked out for the best and I met Norway’s sexiest man.
My other advice would be to bring an alarm clock of some sort in case you need to catch an early train, they’re cheaper than overdosing on espresso shots. I would also suggest visiting Bergen because it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, however, that is another story.