Local adventures in Norway, explorations of UNESCO-sights in Africa and exciting visits in European cities. This is my 2023 travel summary.
It’s a new year, and with a new year also comes the tradition of summarizing the year that went by. And 2023 feels like it just went by in a flash!
2023 was a year filled with conflicts and uncertainties around the world. The world economy took its turn, causing everything to get more expensive, which again makes traveling less accessible. It has been a year where I definitely felt grateful for living in a safe country, with plenty of opportunities for adventures inside its borders.
As some of you might know, I work as a content producer and digital marketer in a bus company called NOR-WAY Bussekspress. This job is perfect for me! I get to travel, to photograph, to write and to “sell” in Norway as a travel destination. I get to meet interesting people, and generally I just have a lot of fun at work.
However, to be honest, this has made me not focus enough on my travel blog this last year. Going home and writing travel articles after spending my day at work writing travel articles has just not been my main focus. This is something I really want to get better at, as I really do enjoy travel blogging.
One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to create more. I want to use my creativity, and I want to be able to have fun and try things. It’s my goal that this blog will see a lot more posts and love during 2024. I have heaps of ideas and plans lined up, and loads of exciting places and adventures to tell you all about.
This was how my travel year of 2023 looked like:
Winter in Norway is cold. And snowy. And dark.
So was this winter. I went skiing, I read books, I tried to stay warm, and I attended TravelMatch (a travel event for people in the industry). Thomas and I went to the gym quite a lot (we started this crazy habit of going to the gym before(!) going into the office each morning).
My first trip of the year was in January, to Trysil, one of the most famous skiing destinations in Norway. Sadly there was no skiing, as I traveled for work, but I did play in the snow, and take a lot of beautiful and cold images.
A balanced life is a happy life, so in between those hours at the gym, Thomas and I went out and tried several burger places in Oslo. I even saw some proper Northern lights for the first time – and it was from the rooftop of where I live.
A few days later Thomas and I headed up North to visit our friend Eir, who lives in Bodø. We explored Bodø in winter (cold, yet beautiful), ate good food and just had a wonderful time on a mini holiday.
We were so hopeful of seeing some more Aurora Borealis while in the North, but there was none to be seen. Just as we were boarding our return flight Eir messaged me – the northern lights were out.
And luckily we had quite the view from the window of our plane. This experience just made me more certain I have to experience a full on Aurora Borealis at some point.
Looking for ideas on what to see and do in Bodø? Read my Bodø guide here!
It’s easy to forget that most of the adventures I do throughout a year is in fact in my hometown – Oslo. I do plan on making more local guides of Oslo, as I know how much I appreciate hearing from locals when I visit new places.
Easter was spent in Fredrikstad, a city where we have a lot of family and spend so much time in periods that I’ve had people asking me several times if we’ve moved there. We have not – but I do love the city, and especially the old city.
Fredrikstad is one of my favourite cities in the world, and here you can read my guide for what to do in Fredrikstad.
In late April my family packed our bags and visited Lårdal tretopphytter, a treetop cabin, for a night. This was my family’s gift to my dad when he turned 60. It was a really fun and memorable stay. Doing activities and spending time together making memories really are the greatest gift!
I also got to travel a bit for work in spring, this time spending time both in front of and behind the camera. I really do love my job, getting to explore Norway, meeting people and producing content.
I visited the city of Bergen and the city of Stavanger. In Bergen the sun was shining, and I got to do a lovely hike. We caught the bus from Bergen to Flåm, which was also great.
The day I was going to Stavanger it was absolutely pouring down. Luckily, I got to see some parts of the city, but will have to go back again later for more adventures.
In June I went on my first press trip of the year. Nouvelair opened up a new, direct flight between Stockholm and Tunis, and I was invited along with some Swedish travel bloggers. We had such a fun, intense week, seeing and doing so much in Tunisia. I have heaps more content from this trip I will show you later on.
Thomas and I received a gift card from my family in Sweden earlier – a night at the fantastic Varberg kusthotell.
As we got tickets to the Coldplay concert in Gothenburg we combined the two – first a night in Varberg, and then a visit to my family, and attending the concert with them. Both were amazing – and I always enjoy visiting Gothenburg as well.
Summer is my favourite season, and I think it’s by far the best time to spend time in Scandinavia.
Thomas and I flew to Copenhagen where we spent a few days (I love that city), before we caught a bus to Aarhus, where we after a visit to their streetfood went to a cabin my mum and stepdad had rented. Here we ate a lot of good food, visited small cities nearby and relaxed.
Sweden – press trip to Örebro
Just at the shoulder season between summer and autumn I packed my bag and went on my second press trip of the year. This time it was to Örebro, in Sweden, along with 3 other fellow travel bloggers: Hedda, Lena and Hanne Marit.
We had quality time together in a spa, watched outdoor art in a very interesting area, had a guided tour in a castle and ate like royals. I had not been to Örebro before, and with its location it’s a perfect city to visit for a long weekend.
Örebro great alternative for your next small getaway, whether it’s with your group of friends, friends, family or your +1? Here you can read my guide to Örebro!
I was also fortunate enought to travel back to Bergen and then Førde for work, and I even got a quick getaway down south to Kristiansand too.
This entire year I actually managed to keep my new years resolution about becoming more active. I went to the gym, ran several races, tried squash with Thomas and even attempted some bouldering.
Thomas and I spent summer in Scandinavia – knowing we would at least get some decent temperatures come autumn. And that was lucky, cause it was certainly not the best of summers in Scandinavia…
We packed our bags, and jumped on a plane to Barcelona. And the first thing we did upon arriving in Barcelona, was leaving Barcelona. You see, our first few nights in Spain we spent in Sitges, a gorgeous beach town just outside the city.
Here we relaxed near the pool, enjoyed Spanish wine, soaked up some sun and read a few books. It was a wonderful, relaxing start to our vacation, and once we felt rested, we were ready to hit Barcelona and do explorations.
Barcelona was great! The food, the wine, the vibe, and just so many gorgeous small streets. We ate and ate and ate, and between meals we walked and talked and photographed.
Back in Norway, we also got to spend some time up in the mountains of Bagn. We went hiking, relaxing, picking blueberries and breathing in that crisp mountain air.
And then I ran my first 10 km fun run, as Thomas and I decided to sign up for the 10 km at Oslo marathon. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect.
Not from the run, and not from myself. I even checked what time I would have to finish in order to cross the finish line before they had removed the finish line. And I did! I got through it (and have signed up again for this year), and it was actually a lot of fun.
The year ended with a couple of more cabin trips, with and without skiing, and some quality time with family in Fredrikstad.
My year of travel 2023
- Countries visited: 4 (Tunisia, Sweden, Denmark, Spain)
- New countries visited: 0
- Blog posts: 6
- Books read: 102 (that’s some heavy budget traveling right there)
2023 was by far the year since I started blogging where I visited less countries (excluding the lockdown period), and also the year with the least entries on my blog. I am however planning on doing more this upcoming year – both with regards to blog posts and traveling. Stay tuned for more!
Travel plans for 2024
In May 2024 I am planning on fulfilling a lifelong travel goal (or at least one of my major travel wants since 20 years back): Thomas and I are going to Japan. I am beyond thrilled, and enjoy planning this trip so much.
Besides this, I am also excited to tell you we have no other plans. Which means there will be heaps of exciting things happening – I just dunno what yet. One thing I do know, though, is that there will be skiing. I got skis for Christmas, and I am now officially working on becoming more of a “true Norwegian” (meaning enjoying skiing/winter in general).
I am ending this summary by saying that I am forever grateful for each and everyone of who follows Desirée travels, either here and/or on social media. I am so excited people want to read, follow and comment on what I do, want to collaborate and give me trust and motivation in what I do. Thank you! 🙂
2024 – here we go!