The massive gain from running a personal photography project is that you get to do all the things YOU want. For me, this project has opened up the doors to many great locations that have sat firmly on my 'Bucket List' for years. Norway has been a dream in my head for such a long time that I can't remember when it was first ignited. All I know is that those mountains, fjords and rugged coastal lines have been calling me for a long time and sitting dormant in my bones waiting for the day I accept the opportunity to go. One afternoon such an opportunity arose when a friend, who I had not seen in years, posted on her Facebook that she would be in Bergen for a month and would anyone like to come and visit her. I did not hesitate for a second to write to her and book the dates in our calendars for my visit. So now, I would like to present to you the amazing town of Bergen and my wonderful well-travelled digital nomad friend Fiona Brander.
This image above is the perfect way to introduce Fiona and what she stands for. She is an extremely hard worker and cares a lot about her clients, always being on call whenever she can and not afraid to whip out her laptop whenever it is needed, often working from remote locations like above. You can't deny, this is certainly one hell of an office view.
Fiona travels constantly taking in all the pleasures and disasters of seeing the world first hand and experiencing new cultures as if she was a native. Nestling into AirBnB's for months at a time or only spending a few weeks, I'm not even sure if she can remember how many countries she has visited. She works as a travel consultant and this has given her a secure income that allows her to travel and earn money. Fiona also runs a travel blog where you can find out more information about her and her travels, why not take a peek?
Before I talk about this magnificent city of Bergen, we will hear the reasons why Fiona loves nature and what activities she enjoys the most.
What sports/activities do you enjoy?
These days it is mainly mountain biking, horse riding and hiking.
What is it about your activities that you enjoy the most?
The adventure, the scenery, the speed, being outdoors in beautiful places and the horses of course.
How many times a week do you take part in these activities?
Around 4 times a week.
Do you belong to any groups or clubs?
I am currently part of a mountain bike group. Occasionally I'll join hiking groups too.
Do you take part in any events associated with these activities?
No, however, I am hoping to take part in mountain bike events soon.
What impact does the environment you train in, have on you?
I am lucky to hike, bike and ride horses in beautiful scenery which makes me incredibly relaxed and happy. I also bike through villages and say "Hello" to all the locals, I love it.
I spent 4 days with Fiona in Bergen, which is renowned for being the wettest area of Norway. We experienced 2 days of good weather and 2 days of bad but it didn't stop us getting out and exploring. Bergen is surrounded by mountains on all sides and within minutes you can go from the city centre to lush green alpine forests. I was lucky to have the opportunity of free accommodation whilst there, sleeping on Fiona's sofa bed. She had found a corker of an apartment that boasted views to the harbour and surrounding mountains. Even on rainy days, these mountains showed off nature like a beast with low hanging clouds that constantly changed shape as it clung to the treetops like an angry thick mist.
We took on some big hikes to make the most of our time in nature to truly explore the area. Norway certainly did not disappoint and I could not stop babbling about it to my husband when I returned home. The hikes are so much fun, starting in the city and observing the changes in the buildings and the environment as you progress up and up. I definitely felt like I experienced everything possible from heavy breathing going up steep hills, wet feet through marshlands, awesome views on a clear day, wooden walkways through vegetation, rambling up rocks and whipping out the rain gear as storm clouds rolled in.
Catching up with Fiona was also a special part of the journey, we had not seen each other for about 17 years, since we worked together as business travel consultants. So, of course, we had a drunken night out as well as forcing ourselves to push through these strenuous but rewarding hikes.
Our last day together was a wet one. I put my cameras rain suit on and we set off around the old parts of town where we went all out tourist, viewing gift shops, having lunch, seeing the sites and generally dodging rain downpours as best as possible. It was a truly magical trip and I feel blessed to have such friends like Fiona who also like to indulge in full-day nature adventures. Bergen gave me a taste of how amazing the hiking opportunities are in Norway and I will definitely be back to explore more.
I will never forget seeing Fiona pull out her laptop as we made it to the summit on our longest hike. It was the most surreal experience of someone mixing work and pleasure at the same time. Even though I mix photography with exploring, somehow it didn't equate to this vision you see above. Having mobile internet has truly transformed the way we can work these days.
I will talk about Bergen in more detail in a hiking post I have planned, where you will be able to see the hikes I took and what you can expect from those trips, so stay tuned for that.
Have you been to Norway and what were your experiences? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.