We are currently living in Norway as American expats. In Norway, it’s pretty much business as usual. Yes, some protocols have changed but if you were walking the streets you would have no idea there is a worldwide pandemic going on.
When we got the assignment to move here we had grand plans to travel all over Europe but COVID-19 hit and you know how the story goes. We reset our expectations and planned a 10-day Norway road trip. This will forever be one of the best travel decisions we have ever made.
It’s hard to put into words how magnificent Norway is. We hiked Trolltunga (Troll’s tongue), bought roadside berries and cherries on the honor system, ate gas station hot dogs, went to the Northernmost winery of the world, canoed and biked on Lovatnet, fed alpacas, stayed in a dome, took a boatload of ferries and about once an hour laughed at how extra Norway is saying “OMG NORWAY YOU ARE SO PRETTY.”
Despite being in this magical land, my heart still found moments of heaviness and guilt. Heaviness from missing family and a dear friend whose parents are in hospital with COVID-19 and just the worries of the unknown. Guilt from knowing our friends and family aren’t able to travel and experience joy and also that so many are struggling while we are on vacation. The amount of blessedness I was feeling was not lost on me.
I have always lived a life where I take full advantage of every opportunity I am given and I knew once COVID-19 hit and all our plans went out the window I had to stay true to this. Living abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the only thing I will regret is going back with regrets. Even knowing this, I still found a tug between reconciling my opportunities with the guilt I felt over other’s lack of.
I am not a deeply religious person but Norway took me to church. Looking out over a beautiful lake and fjord I had this thought “If a God can create such a beautiful place, he can create healing for all of us. If a God can create such a beautiful place, he no doubt creates unique opportunities for us all. If a God can create such a beautiful place, it is our right and responsibility to cherish it.”
Every time a heaviness would come up, I would circle back to these thoughts allowing me to open up my heart to fully accept the gift of travel. I know time is fleeting, both good and bad, and I’ll continue to take advantage of every single moment.
If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/8-safety-tips-tricks-for-your-first-road-trip/