2020 is (finally) over. And what a year that was!
What first began out just like any other year, filled up with plans and routines and everyday life, quickly turned into this massive, life-changing event. With unbelievable changes worldwide, such as massive death tolls and infection rates, lockdowns, travel bans and loads of people losing their jobs, businesses going bankrupt… it’s been a year worthy of history books.
Writing up a summary of the year that’s passed normally is one of my favourite posts. This year, I don’t even know where to begin.
I mean, it all started out so normal…
Norwegian live-TV and planning a photography course
Okay, well maybe not so normal. One of the very first things I did in 2020 was to meet up with Renate from Renates Reiser on an early morning at Aker Brygge, and participate at God Morgen Norge (morning television), talking about traveling solo. This has to be both one of the most exciting yet scary things I’ve done so far in life. Being live on TV is not something I ever thought I would experience, and although I was really nervous, it was also such a cool thing to be able to do.
In January, Thomas and I also teamed up with Travel Beats, planning for what would have been an amazing experience. We were asked if we wanted to host a photography course – in South Africa. Of course we wanted to! We spent hours planning, researching and getting stoked. Not only would this be our first meeting with South Africa, but it would also be our first time hosting a course together. But as with many things in 2020, this event eventually did not happen.
Skiing at Beitostølen
We did however manage to get some things done while the world was still up and running. Thomas and I spent a weekend at Beitostølen in January, visiting one of the new apartments at Riddertunet. Beitostølen was covered in snow, a true winter wonderland bathed in sun, and although we’re both born and bred in Norway, neither of us have a lot of experience skiing. This weekend, however, we tried both cross country-skiing and downhill skiing.
Traveling for work
In February I went to Flatanger for work, with Olympus and Scandinavian Photo. Here I got to try out some brand new equipment, meet some exciting people and see wild eagles up close. This was an absolutely incredible experience, and it made me so excited about exploring more of my own country – something I definitely ended up doing in 2020.
Work also sent me on a short visit to Borås in Sweden, where I met some colleagues. It was nice to finally see the faces of people I’d worked with for years.
Relaxing with friends and family in Norway and Sweden
One weekend, Thomas and I jumped on the train to visit Farris Bad in Larvik, a magnificent spa hotel located just next to the ocean. Here we spent time getting massages, going to different types of saunas, eating well, and I even went into the icy cold sea(!)
We also had time for a weekend spent up in a cabin in the snowy mountains with a group of friends. Sledding and joking around in the snow, making great food and talking about “what if’s”-situations with regards to this virus we’ve heard about seems like something we did ages ago.
Just at the beginning of March, my aunt who lives in Sweden turned 50, and the entire family was gathered for a weekend at Ästad Vingård outside of Gothenburg. Thomas and I spent a night in Gothenburg, moving from one wine bar to another and then eating freshly made sushi, before meeting up with my family.
The weekend was filled with spas, wine, food and laughs – a trip great for the soul – especially when looking back at the good times we had, while later on being stuck at home. (A post about all of this will be up later).
Four days upon returning home from Sweden, the WHO declared a pandemic, Norway went into lockdown, and I was made temporarily redundant from work.
Highlights: Meeting up with and being on TV with Renate, planning exciting adventures, traveling for work, spas and time with family and trying out skiing.
And then the pandemic hit the world – hard – and things quickly changed.
Covid-19, lockdown and a different year
On the 12th of March I went into work as on any other day. It was a Thursday. While working, I kept going back to refresh the newspaper, reading about the covid-situation. I had been debating for a few days if I should start bringing my laptop home with me at the end of the work day, as it seemed like home office would be likely to happen soon. Just before lunch my boss passed my desk, turned over and said “Oh, and today when you leave, bring your laptop with you, will you?” I nodded. I brought my laptop with me, and on the metro home that day a guy carrying two big computer screens sat in front of me. That was the last day I went in to the office.
During the months of spring I was made temporarily redundant, before losing my job. I started applying for new jobs, I applied for an online marketing-course at a university, I read books and I started walking. A lot of walking!
This made me write up a post about some of my favourite hikes in Oslo. It was still snowing when we started camping outside – most likely as a result of cabin fever and a desperate need to see something else than our apartment. This led to a post about camping in Oslo.
Looking back at these first months of lockdown I’m already filled with some form of nostalgia. Everything was scary and new, but also a wee bit exciting. Not being able to hug or give handshakes caused people to find new, creative ways to greet when we met. Everyone found new hobbies – baking, taking an online course, starting up a gym at home, practicing yoga at the home office, buying 10 new plants. At night we watched movies on Netflix, sometimes also together with others, whilst not being together physically.
Cancelled travel plans
As mentioned, Thomas and I were supposed to host a 10 days photography course in South Africa, which got cancelled after covid happened. However, several other plans also ended up being cancelled. My scheduled weekend getaway with some of the girls to Riga (which was supposed to happen in March) of course got cancelled. Our trip to New York also got cancelled. – I hope at least we can still visit the Christmas markets we’d planned, I remember thinking. As we all probably know by now, we didn’t.
Highlights: A lot of walks in the forest and time for thinking/reading/decluttering at home.
Local travels in Norway
As summer arrived the world seemed to be slowly re-opening. The covid-numbers were finally retracting, and with the longer, warmer days hope was starting to grow again.
I spent most of my summer in and around the Oslo area. I would have liked to see more of our gorgeous country – but as I still was out of work I was scared to spend too much money. I also had signed up on a university course about marketing, so I spent some days traveling and some days studying.
Local travels turned out to be the essence of travel in 2020. I walked around the streets of Oslo, and I visited the islands in Indre Oslofjord. Although there were still restrictions, they were lighter than what we’d been having during spring.
I was lucky enough to end up being able to try out quite a few new things inside my own country this year. These were definitely highlights in a year mostly filled with days not worthy of blogging about.
Sleeping in a “tretopphytte”
Sleeping in a treetop cabin had been a dream of mine for several years. I think it’s just really speaking to my inner child, reminding me of being a kid climbing trees and being outdoors. I ended up being able to visit not just one, but two different cabins, and I was thrilled.
Tretopphytter Oslofjord was the first treetop cabin I visited. I was lucky enough to be able to invite a few of my friends with me, and so Hanna, Chris, their dog Albus, Caroline, Thomas and I spent a night up in the trees, with a breathtaking view over the Oslofjord outside. Waking up at Tretopphytter Oslofjord, right after dawn by squirrels chasing each other over the rooftop, and watching one of them merrily have their breakfast just outside where I slept was incredible.
The second treetop cabin I visited was Fosstopp. With its perfect location right next to the mighty waterfall this cabin perfectly fitted Thomas, Ingeborg, Raul and me. At Fosstopp we even got to try loads of mouth-watering delicious, local goodies, have a bath in the river, and visit a lot of bees on a bee farm while learning more about the production of honey.
We also went glamping (aka glamorous camping)! I love camping, and the closest thing to this I’d done was when we slept in the Sahara desert back in 2018. Funnily enough, the glamping at Breiva Gjestegaard did contain some elements from Morocco. The complete luxury of not having to set your own tent, sleeping in a proper bed, yet still getting the benefits of being outdoors completely sold glamping to me.
Synshorn Via Ferrata
I also hiked a Via Ferrata for the first time in my life. On a weekend getaway to Beitostølen with my parents and Thomas I did the Synshorn Via Ferrata – an airy experience.
Later on, Thomas and I also hiked some more around the area of Beitostølen. We crossed off three smaller summits in a day, before jumping into a small pond (which we later on discovered was filled with pollywogs).
We also tried a small staycation right here in Oslo. On a normal day in the middle of a work week, after Thomas had finished at his home office and my lecture of the day was over, we jumped on the tram up to Oslo Hostel Rønningen. Here we were served an incredible, home-cooked meal, before racing off on electric bikes in pouring rain. Before leaving I even got to participate in feeding some of the chickens which live outside the hostel. Bliss!
Padling the canoe
After briefly trying a canoe earlier in the summer, we decided to just go all in on an paddling adventure. I am also still working on a blog post (and vlog) from when we spent four days paddling across Nordmarka in Oslo.
Skæring Strand and Aarhus, Denmark
In the beginning of 2020, Thomas and I had booked a trip to Denmark with my family for a week. As the numbers were low and borders open, we would drive a private car and the summer house we had rented was not in a main city, we decided to go through with our trip. This meant a week spent at Skæring strand, spending time with my family, walking on the white, sandy (and windy) beach, and exploring some of the sights in Aarhus. I still have yet to blog about this trip as the borders shut again – but it’ll be up later on.
Highlights: Longer and brighter days, trying new things in Norway, spending quality time with friends and family and feeling a bit of hope.
Oslo lockdown, home office and new hobbies
As Autumn arrived, so did the second wave of infection, thus resulting in new restrictions and lockdowns being reinforced. I was lucky enough to score a temporary position, where I got to get to know my co-workers for a few weeks before we were all sent off to home office.
The home office surely has a few perks – the coffee is better, there is always lunch I can eat and the only other person in the office is, to be honest, quite hot. I get to sleep in a bit longer, I can wear whatever I want in front of the computer. But as the weeks passed and turned into a bit of a smudge – am I at the office or at home now? Better check to see if I have the computer in front of me to know – I also missed doing things. Seeing other things than the apartment.
Tønsberg and The World’s End
Just to get a break we decided on a whim to visit Tønsberg and Verdens Ende at a small weekend getaway. We stayed at a camping site, in the world’s tiniest cabin, ate delicious food and got a lot of fresh air.
Beitostølen and hiking mount Bitihorn
At the shoulder season between Autumn and Winter, Ingeborg, Thomas and I went back to Beitostølen. Our original plan was to hike Besseggen, one of the most famous hikes in Norway. However, a lot of snow, ice and degrees below zero put an end to that plan. Instead, we hiked Bitihorn and explored some other areas, all while gazing at the gorgeous autumn colours of the mountains, specked with some snow. (This post will be up soon!)
Back home again we spent quite some time downsizing the amount of stuff we own. It’s definitely a work in progress, but it’s a job which I enjoy doing, as it’s also an emotional one (at least for me). I find a lot of things I keep around mainly for my emotional attachment to it, and so it’s somewhat of an inner adventure to get around to letting go of them.
I also bought a keyboard and learned how to knit, two skills I hope to be able to explore further this year. And I read a total of 50 books, allowing me to travel and explore even from my own bedroom.
Highlights: Two weekend getaways, and time for fixing the apartment and for new hobbies.
2020 – 2021 – what now?
All in all, most of 2020 ended up being about changes. Change of plans, change of work, new things tried and a few new hobbies added. I tried my hardest to keep up my enthusiasm for my travel blog, writing about local adventures, teaming up with amazing people in Norway to create content to inspire Norwegians and hopefully others after lockdown. However, as the numbers crept up again and Oslo got new restrictions and a new lockdown, my inspiration and motivation went into hibernation mode.
As I am writing this, in early January 2021, Norway is experiencing even stricter rules and recommendations than in 2020. Obviously, staying healthy is the main focus as of now. I am lucky to be healthy, to have avoided getting sick and being able to work from home. I am definitely trying to stay positive. Most of the time my spirits are up.
Plans and travels
As of yet, I have no travel plans for 2021. I hope we’ll be able to travel, to see new places in our own beautiful country, and maybe later on in the year exploring further. It feels a bit strange starting up a new year with no plans. Being able to travel definitely is something I have taken for granted before Covid. But the most important is this: I am healthy. I am fine.
2021 might not be the year we (at least not yet) travel far away. Maybe this is the year we will have to travel even more locally than last year, and find adventures inside of ourselves. I hope for long, warm summer nights spent outdoors, in the hammock, camping, with friends. And I definitely secretly hope to be able to go somewhere warm this year, but I won’t hold my breath for it.
Being a travel blogger in a year when you’re supposed to not travel has definitely been different. I have been forced to rethink what I want to share, and try to think outside a box. I have come up with a few ideas which I hope you will enjoy as I get on with them.
I hope 2021 will eventually turn out to be a better year than the last. For all of us. I hope we will be able to explore some while still staying healthy and safe. I hope all of you reading this will have a magnificent year, and that you will continue to read my blog – being from local travels or more exotic destinations. Thank you all for reading, commenting, sharing and working with me!
Happy new year!