Chicken Ass and More Temples

The floral scent of jasmine fills the air, and an old man is smiling at me from across the street. It’s another beautiful day in Taipei.

Day 2

I wake up at 5:30 today, and I’m pretty proud of that achievement. I have to leave my rock solid bed hotel, and as I can’t find a couchsurfer to take me I decide to go to a little Air BnB that cost me about $18 a night for a little private room with a shared bath. I should probably be staying in a hostel just to meet people, but I really am enjoying this privacy thing right now. I wander out of the hotel and wander past a bakery, where I buy some overly white bread buns that should hopefully suffice for breakfast. My goal is to find a park, so I decide to wander until one is found.


I see an old man smiling at me from across the street. My instant reaction is “That’s weird, look away.” So I sheepishly look to the ground. He’s still looking at me, so I look back into his eyes and realize it’s the old man who was sitting across from me, smiling at me from time to time to ensure I was happy while I ate my first bowl of noodles after landing in Taipei. He awkwardly waved with a big smile “Hello, good morning,” and walked into work at an elementary school. He seems like a perfect elementary teacher.

I find a park, which is covered in graffiti, iron, and concrete but it’ll make due for breakfast. I munch a while and head back to the hotel, taking my bags to a locker in the Taipei main station before heading to the National Palace Museum.


This is an exhibit I’ve had on my list for a while, and I was really excited to see what was going on.


The humidity fogged my lens, but I kind of like the effect.

It was a pretty extensive exhibit on Chinese artifacts from jade to porcelain to old books. Taken from China while fleeing the Communists, the Palace Museum has centuries of antiquities. The most famous area is the jade exhibit, featuring many amazing pieces of stonework.

Such as the jade cups,


Behold people beholding the transcendent jade cabbage,


And finally, behold the most decadent piece of stonecraft in human history. A testament to the creative and technological capabilities of mankind. A piece of art that has stood the test of time, and will awe generations for centuries to come. I give you: the jasper pork belly,


I know I took a crappy picture, but it seriously looks good enough to eat.

All of this stone food makes me crave real food, so I head out and head around the Shilin neighborhood for something to eat. At night I’m told there’s a massive food market, but during the day it’s fairly sleepy and pedestrian.

I finally find a place for some soup noodles, and even though the place is empty the noodles are pretty good. I hop back on the subway and make my way to hipster stop number one: Fujin street.

The street is covered with beautiful sinewy trees, and some cutesy little boutiques lie around in random places.




It’s very nice, but a little too upscale for my price range. I’m getting used to the subway by now, and it’s pretty enjoyable to people watch and navigate through the maze of the metro.


Next stop is Huashan Creative Park, where one may find plenty of hipster doo-dads and cute things.



There’s even a Mr. Potatohead boutique, for those of you potato fanatics out there. Taipei was the design capital of the world in 2016, so there are a couple of these gentrified warehouse areas around town. I hop back on the metro for my next stop at another hipster warehouse.



This one is the Songshan Culture Park, which I like a lot more than Huashan. Built in a Japanese tobacco factory, this place houses a huge array of nicknacks and goodies from a lot of nice local designers.



I especially like the jungle surrounding the area, and a little jungly center to the entire complex. It feels a world away from the city.



Next, I want to see Taipei 101, which was once the tallest building in the world in 2004 but has now been relegated to the place of number 10. After World Trade One, it’s the second tallest building I’ve ever seen. From far away, it looked pretty normal. It’s Feng Shui exterior glittering above the skyline, I walked toward it thinking, “Ya, I guess it’s pretty tall…”


Then it got taller…


And taller….


I was breaking my neck taking that photo. It’s inexplicably huge, and even though it’s shorter than World Trade One, it seems so much larger since it’s more or less the only skyscraper in the area. I trotted inside, excited to go to the tippy top and see the view.

But I arrive at a line, and realize it costs $20 to go to the top. $20 dollars goes a long way in Taiwan, enough to buy almost 10 rounds of beef noodles. So I decide to get some food and mull it over.

In the basement to Taipei 101 is a massive food court. This is something all department stores in Japan have, and I’m so glad it exists here as well. I walk around a bit, and as my normal rule of thumb to wait in the longest line goes, I found myself getting a bowl of this goop:


Caviar and cream soup? Nope. Alien egg stew? Almost. It’s tofu pudding, tapioca pearls, and soggy peanuts with icecubes drifting around like tiny icebergs. I wasn’t really expecting to eat this today, but I kind of ended up loving it. As soon as you start trying all of the seemingly nonsensical (to our ‘Western’ perspective) things, they all begin to make sense.

Using an umbrella in the sunshine makes you look like a weirdo in America. Here, it’s to protect against the scorching sun.

Carrying a foldable fan around downtown Atlanta? “What are you, queer?” Here, it’s practical and fashionable.

Purple potato ice cream and cold tapioca with icy tofu pudding? Neither of which are in any way sweet? A perfect way to beat the heat.

I’m happy with my decision and decide $20 is maybe a bit too steep for me. Besides, it’s starting to get a bit late and I want to check in to my new place. I get back to the main station to pick up my bags, and head for Da’an neighborhood. My phone has directed me to a mattress store, which I guess makes sense (lots of places to sleep), but I text the owner to see if I’m wrong. She says I’m right where I need to be, and picks me up about 10 minutes later. She’s an old Chinese lady speaking absolutely no English, but she has one of those sweet old lady smiles and makes me feel all cuddly inside. She takes me upstairs, to a little private room with a shared kitchen and bath. It’s much cozier than the first two nights, and the bed is actually made of bed. She shows me the bathroom, and then the secondary washroom where she tells me repeatedly not to take a shit in there. She does so by stepping into the shower, squatting, and making a huge struggling and straining face as if to push out an egg. Then she stands up and waves her arms “No.”

What worries me is that means someone must have shit in there…

So I use the other shower for a quick freshener. I’m hungry, so the plan is to go to Tonghua Night Market for some snacks Taipei style.



There are pieces and parts of any animal imaginable, fried up into little bite size goody bites right in front of your eyes.


They’ve even got a shop where they give you a bowl, you fill it up with chicken ass (a local delicacy) or tofu or endive or whatever and they grill it up right there for you.


My first stop is a Hainan chicken stand, serving tender chicken covered in a sauce resembling Teriyaki and served on rice. It’s ok, but I can do better. So next I grab a box of grilled pork dumplings. Those hit the spot. I eat and wander around the market, taking in all the lights and cheap clothing goodies. I decide to sit down at a little grill and order some chicken hearts fresh grilled and munch on those for a while. Chicken hearts are definitely the most underappreciated meat. It’s my first market, but it doesn’t disappoint. Hopefully, there will be many more.

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Thank you for reading and joining me so far! I’ve got a lot more coming up, so remember to like and subscribe if you feel.


First Days in Taipei

I’ve been in Taipei for less than twenty minutes, and I’ve already had someone excitedly shout “Hi, Jesus!” at me from across the airport baggage claim.

This’ll be a nice four months.


My day started out at 4 am, walking to my car and seeing this goopy salamander crawling out of it. I didn’t even know we had salamanders in Colorado. Auspicious? Perhaps. I’m not sure what the meaning of a wet salamander crossing your path is, but it’s a pretty unique way to start a trip.

My trusty dusty IKEA bag tested my inner MacGyver by splitting its zipper. I fixed it with a knife, thread, and some gorilla glue. Nice try, IKEA bag, but we’re not done yet.

I promptly fly out at 7:00 to Vancouver on a little Air Canada Express flight, and get two hours to relax at the airport. I’ve decided I want to move to Vancouver, purely on the basis that Canadians are adorably kind and since the airport is so nice. Next, I hop on another Air Canada flight direct to Taipei. It’s a 787, which is so posh and lovely. Even though I’m in economy, I’m decently comfortable. I haven’t taken a twelve-hour flight since I went to Korea three years ago. I completely forgot how inexplicably long it feels. I ate dinner, watched two movies, took a little nap, and still had five hours left. “What do I do now?”

But I did finally make it to the sweltering heat of East Asia.

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Day 0.5

Asia has a really unique smell and it kind of hits instantly upon walking out of the plane. It’s a sort of sour air-conditioned smell that I still can’t quite put my finger on. I sit through customs, and get called Jesus by an overly excited bathroom janitor, and hop on the express train to downtown Taipei. The train tickets are little plastic coins with a chip inside that you use to scan to enter the subway, and put into a coin slot to let you out.


It’s much more fun than a little piece of paper (and more renewable, I suppose). The public transport system, in general, is really amazing in Taipei, and it only takes about thirty minutes to get downtown where I can get to my hotel.

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Taipei’s buildings leave a covered storefront along the pedestrian walkway, almost creating a covered archway to walk through. This keeps you dry and shaded and is perfect construction for this heat. I arrive at my hotel at around 17:00, and am hungry. I drop off my bag and go for a wander through the late night, not really noticing how deliriously tired I am.



I stumble randomly into a shop and get a bowl of pork noodle soup. An elderly couple sits across from me at the crowded table, looking at me now and then to make sure I’m enjoying my meal. Honestly, I have no clue what I’m eating.


They’re fried pork balls, so I expected pork mincemeat. But there are little chunks of something hard and the occasional bone, so I’ve decided this is just pork trimmings soup.

But it’s delicious.

I’m still hungry, so I wander into another noodle shop, and when the waitress asks what I want I just point at my neighbor’s bowl of soup. This time I get pork dumpling soup. It’s one of the most flavorful goddamn soups I’ve ever put in my face.


Taiwanese restaurants have the kitchen up front so you can see exactly all of the goodies she’s throwing into it. I still have no clue what she’s putting in, but the assortment of spices and goops makes for an amazing bowl of soup.



I head out, full of my two bowls of soup (both purchased for about $2 each), and head around my area. I’m staying in Ximending neighborhood, which was built and expanded by the Japanese during their occupation of the island between 1895 and 1945. There’s the main shopping street designed to look exactly like Shibuya in Tokyo, and it does a pretty good job of doing so.


It captures the craze of neon glow in every direction, of hoards of people walking around and eating late night snacks from vendors or drinking bubble tea (invented here, in Taipei).

I only walk around a little bit before my jetlag catches up to me. It’s only about 20:00 but I’m tired as can be, and I’ve made the agreement with myself that I have to stay up until 21:00 before I can drift off to sleep.

I head back to my hotel with a piece of cake and a little beer from the 7-11. Usually, I’d stay in a hostel or with a couchsurfer. But in my experience traveling to Asia, the first two or three nights are spent waking up jetlagged at three in the morning. So rather than stay at a hostel or with a couchsurfer, I found the cheapest non-sexy-time motel that would give me a single room (about $16 a night). Also, I’ll be sharing a room at my dorm in Hong-Kong for the next four months, so I want to squeeze every night of privileged privacy out while I can.

The bed is as hard as a rock, and after inspection, it’s literally a small piece of foam covering the wooden base of the frame. I’m really too tired to care and drift off into a sleepy haze.

Day 1

I awake, at 3:00 sharp just as I had predicted. Did I jinx myself?


But luckily I had a little T.V. in my room to watch ridiculous Chinese television with, and I spent a few more hours lazing around in bed. The hotel has a tea machine down the hall, so I enjoy a few cups with my airy piece of cake before heading out on the town.

Today, I’ve found a free walking tour on the couchsurfing website set up to start at 10:00. I wander around for a while, stopping into 7-11 for some coffee. An old man looks intensely at me while slowly sipping a carton of rice milk through a straw. I’m too tired to really care, so I drink my coffee up quick. Maybe he was just nervous to see Jesus in the flesh.



I stroll through a local market to get all of the smells. It’s a lot to take in. Chinese markets don’t have much separation between vendors. At least in Morocco, most markets have a meat section and a fruit section and a veggie section. Here, the fish seller is next to the guy selling fruits next to the butcher hanging up kidneys next to a woman selling clams. It’s an overwhelming mix of smells, from sour fish to raw meat to sweet leechee’s to plastic clothes to nail polish all in a couple of meters. But there’s nothing else like it in the world. I spend a long time walking around, soaking in all of the smells and sights.


Deliciously marinated pork giblets.

This is actually my first time traveling alone in Asia. Throw me into South America or Europe and I’m fine. I understand the languages, I understand the foods and cultures, we’re all good. But I was kind of nervous to come to Asia all on my own. But so far, it’s been extremely manageable. Most Taiwanese speak decent English, and I know how to say hello and thank you in Mandarin which can go a long way. As well, signs are in English and the metro system is fool-proof and clean.


I meet up at Longshan temple with the guide to my free tour, a college student who learned a perfect American accent just from watching Disney movies. Sooner or later people start showing up for the tour, and we get to about 20 people. More than have are Filipino, with a Spanish couple and some Canadians on the side. I see an American, and instantly strike up a conversation. For some reason, seeing other white people in Asia can be really exciting. Especially when you meet someone who’s been on the road for a very long time, and they seem starved for American accents and culture. We start talking, and I learn within her introductory sentence that she’s a vegan New Yorker. “Meat causes cancer, it’s just a fact.”

Aw jeez.

We start walking on the tour, which is set to take us through the historic district for about three hours. It’s inexplicably humid and hot, with a real-feel temperature clocking in at 104F/40C. Luckily, a woman is handing out fliers shaped like fans. Now that’s good advertising.

First stop is the Longshan Temple, beautiful and quite important to the Taiwanese. It’s been destroyed by bombs, earthquakes, and fires countless times and is always rebuilt.



It’s a beautiful display of the colorful decadence of Chinese Buddhism.


Colorful mosaic dragons, golden Buddhas, and the wafting smell of burning incense in every direction. The Dutch were the first to colonize this island, and as punishment, they now hold up the incense burners to the temple.


We walk around the temple a while, being told stories of Taiwanese deities and traditions before getting a little picture break.




We start heading out and walk around the town. The tour guides at Like it Formosa were excellent and extremely knowledgeable, and I feel no shame in dropping their website for anyone interested.


We wander to Taipei’s oldest ice cream shop, where I get an assortment of taro root (which was vegan, and made the New Yorker very happy), passion fruit, and some other exotic fruit. It’s perfect for this ridiculous heat.



We walk around more before stopping through my area of town, where the Japanese set up a lot of the architecture. Here there’s the Red House, built by the Japanese as a marketplace in their side of the city. It later became a theatre many decades later, and as soon as modern theatres entered Taiwanese culture the small Red House became a porno theatre. This soon brought a resounding amount of people from the Taiwanese LGBTQ community, as they considered it to be a safe place for some privacy. Now, the area is the LGBTQ part of town with some clubs and sexy shops around. I’ve also learned Taiwan is soon to allow Gay marriage. Good job! The Red House is now a marketplace for hipster goodies and quirky trinkets, from small designer clothes to hand made rings to little touristy pins.


Here there’s also a statue of a man in Qing dynasty garb, holding a coffee cup. This represents Taiwan’s embrace of Western culture while always remaining faithful to its own.


We walk more, seeing the presidential palace and eventually the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. It’s absolutely gigantic, and apparently moderately controversial. Not all Taiwanese are proud of Chiang Kai-Shek, but his son paid to have this monumental memorial so I guess there’s nothing you can really do about it.




Here is the equally monumental National Theatre, on the walk up to the memorial.


The monument is gigantic, featuring a statue of Chiang Kai-Shek sitting on an emperor throne faces in the direction of Beijing, the city he always wished to conquer again after the communists pushed him out of mainland China. His body still hasn’t been buried, because he wished for his body to be buried back in China. Nowadays, that dream is growing ever smaller as China continues to spread its tentacles across the globe. Here, people are proud to be Taiwanese, but they seem to still consider themselves as Chinese. It’s another tale of Asian separation brought about by political difference, and a conflict that grows increasingly pressing with time.

The tour has ended, and I walk around to find some lunch. Some school kids come up to me and ask if I can participate in a questionnaire they’re taking. They ask my age and nationality and ask if I think Taiwan belongs to China.

Aw jeez.

I say no, but nothing more because I don’t want to create a political debate with 12-year-olds. This answer makes them happy though. Then they ask if I think Taiwan is a diplomatic country on a scale of 1 to 5, which makes no sense but I say 4. They say thank you and run away, and I run into a market for a delicious bowl of soup.

I can’t read anything and even if I could I wouldn’t know what it was. It’s kind of like a food court on top of a marketplace, so there are a lot of options but that doesn’t make much difference to me. So I wait in the longest line in the room, for about twenty minutes before getting a hearty bowl of Beef and Tomato noodle soup, freshly prepared right in front of my Jesus face. The woman used some stock, boiled it up and threw in a slew of veggies and spices before adding the meat. Then the noodles were added, which were freshly cut by the noodle man over in the corner. He continuously rolls up a giant bowl of dough, then with a course knife cuts off rusticly shaped thick noodles. It’s kind of a lazy way to do it but it’s absolutely delicious.


I think it’s actually rude here to eat all of your soup, but I don’t really care because it’s so delicious. I drain that bad boy in no time, burning my mouth but smiling the whole way down. I’m the only white guy in the whole building and everyone is looking at me, possibly critiquing my chopstick skills or etiquette or who knows what. But I never stand out more than I do in Asia. Even still, I can slurp noodles and hold chopsticks like a pro.

Full of deliciousness, I walk out and about and wander into the cute Da’an neighborhood. I don’t know anything about it, but it’s really cute.


There are tiny alleyways everywhere, filled with little restaurants and tea houses. I stop in one for an iced tea and read my book for a while, before the reality of being awake for 13 hours hits me all at once. I rush back to the hotel, set my alarm for 18:00 and pass out for a two-hour nap.

That nap kind of saved me, but when my alarm goes off I wake up in a haze and don’t really want to get up. I’m too tired to go get dinner, but the promise of delicious soup drags me out of bed. I walk around aimlessly until I find a nice udon place with a line out the door, where I get vegetarian udon (I guess the vegan stuck in my mind). It’s pretty delicious, but not mind-blowing. I should probably stick to Taiwanese food in Taiwan going forward. But I kind of wanted something more familiar, and Japanese food is always a welcome comfort.

I get back and force myself to stay up until 22:30, before promptly passing out.

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Thank you for joining me through this long and amazing journey! You can read about the start here, and don’t forget to subscribe to see where I go next!





Back Home in Denver

The trip was crazy and bad-weather filled, and Frontier airlines have horrible customer service, but I finally made it back home to Denver.

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It’s always nice to be home. Even though my skin instantly dries out from the arid mountain surroundings, I am always happy to be back home in Denver with the Rocky Mountains outside my bedroom window. I’ll only be home for about five days, which is one of my quickest stops yet, but I still plan to hit every spot and see every person to make my trip whole. I arrive late, around 11 p.m. and stop at Sonic with my dad before going home and enjoying it with a nice Pabst Blue Ribbon. There’s something delicious about plastic Sonic burgers, something oh so good about that drizzly yellow cheese, and something oh so enticing about the crack inside the famous tater-tots. It’s perfect, and a welcome relief from my nearly vegetarian diet back in Denmark.

My first day in Denver is spent cruising around the city in my car from high school, a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer I call Sashimi-San that has been on way too many long distance road trips. I always stop on South Broadway Street in Baker District to stop at my favorite thrift shops and absolute favorite bookstore in the world, Mutiny Now.


The street has always been a haven for the creative, the drunken, the drug-addicted, and the all-around shunned from society black sheep of Denver. My disgruntled teenage years were filled with near-daily trips here to soak in the grungey beauty of it all, and it still has changed since I started coming here seven years ago. I park in my favorite spot next to the old worker houses (where there’s free parking, cause I ain’t paying $3 to park, honey), and even still I dream about getting a little fixer-upper in this neighborhood.


The attitude has certainly gotten a lot more hipster and bougie in the past few years, as I see some bearded, tattooed hipsters (possibly Californian) with feathers in their hats, walking through holding some new mixed media art project they’re dreaming up.


Of course, this used to be the neighborhood with porn shops and drug dealers. But in the nation-wide wave of hipster gentrification, it’s changed a lot. But I can’t really complain, they brought craft beers and fun graffiti to the town.



And you can still get all your drug goodies here, you just buy it from a shop instead of a dealer. I walk around and instantly walk past a strung out junky passed out on a piece of foam, listening loudly to country music on an old radio.

I guess it hasn’t changed that much…


Relics of shops from the 70’s still lay abandoned, and I can still get a $2 pizza with a crowd of homeless people.



It’s a study in urban weirdness, a lesson in the balance between the haves and the have-nots. I meet up with Will, a high school friend for some expensive hipster ice cream at Sweet Action, for some horchata ice cream served in a waffle cone. It’s good to see that my favorite neighborhood is still around and that it hasn’t drastically changed in the years since I’ve left.

Denver as a whole though has changed quite a lot. Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the US, and city planners, construction workers, and architects have been working tirelessly to supply apartments for the high demanding population. Whenever I come home, there’s a swath of new apartment buildings in places that use to be filled with prairie dogs and garbage. Yet even with the new developments, rents still reside at an overwhelmingly high price. That evening, I meet up with some friends for hookah and visit one friend’s apartment, which he pays an exorbitant monthly fee for. It shocks me, as I pay more than half that for my apartment in Denmark. The problem is, there’s nothing really cheaper in the city.

This creates Denver’s biggest problem, it increases in the homeless population. A trip to downtown Denver always shocks me now, just in the sheer amount of homeless individuals sitting on streets, in parks, or outside shelters. As well, nothing seems to be changing with the situation. Maybe I didn’t notice it as much growing up, but it does seem to be something that’s increased a lot.

Other than hanging out in my sketchy parts of town, I had a lot of errands to run making sure my upcoming trips to Taiwan and Hong-Kong were ready. Along with that, I had to make the oh so necessary social visits with old friends before heading out.


I meet up with two friends at Thump coffee on Downing and 13th, which is a pretty good place, and hang out a bit before walking around to Wax Trax vinyl shop and Kilgore bookstore. Wax Trax has always been my favorite record store. It’s cheap, not air-conditioned, and the employees don’t really give a shit about your existence. Which is fine, since I’m only getting records.


I buy a John Denver album for $1, even though I don’t really listen to him (I just think he’s handsome). It’s good to be home and to be in all of my favorite spots after eight months of being away.


Denver makes my freak flag fly.

One thing I also love is having long, whiskey and cigar fueled conversations with my dad late at night.


It’s become our ritual whenever I’m home, and something I’ve cherished for the past years. We always have a fire as well, in the big fire pit in our backyard. Pachamama has given us a beautiful blue spruce that had to be cut down this past spring, and in my typical fashion is being used as fuel for late night fires.

It’s been a short trip, but it’s always good to be back home. I’ve only stayed in Denver about as long as I had stayed in Norway, but even still it’s an excellent place to spend a few days. Now, I’ve had some time to rest and digest my thoughts since I’ve been on the road since the end of June. I’ve hitchhiked in the Polish rain, slept in Lithuanian cafes, hiked through Georgian mountains, sweat on an Azerbaijani sauna train, had the proper family experience in Slovakia, and fished with Checheniyans in the Norwegian Sea. It’s been an amazing past couple of weeks, of unbelievable growth and experience. Now, I look East, as I approach an upcoming semester at Lingnan University in Hong-Kong.

But first, I have to make an eight-day layover in Taiwan.

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Thank you so much for reading!

If you are just joining me, welcome! If you are interested, you can read from the start of my journey here.

As well, I took a little road trip around Lithuania and Latvia which you can read about here.

Finally, my lovely travel buddy Ivana has been blogging about a trip we took last April through Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. Check her out here.

Thanks again for all of your support, and I’d love any feedback you may have.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe, because I’ve got so much more coming your way soon!

Apples, Crackers, and Musicals in New York

“Welcome to the United States of America. Did you bring any food items with you today, sir?”

“Some apples and carrots.”

“….Please come with me, sir.”


“Sir, you’re aware you can not bring fruit or vegetables into the country…correct?”

“Yes sir.”

“See here, on the customs form where it says ‘I am in possession of fruit or vegetables’…you were supposed to cross ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’. Do you understand the difference, sir?”

“Ya but I wanted to eat my apple,”

Welcome home, Carter.

I’m aware I lied, but it was such a good apple and I wanted to bring some goodies for my upcoming two-hour bus ride into New York City. Somehow, I found a cheap flight from Norway to New York…But the part of New York you probably shouldn’t fly into because it’s a two hour plus drive into Manhattan.

Oh well.

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It’s difficult to talk about New York. It’s one of the biggest, most diverse places on the planet and I’m supposed to just sum it all up in a decorative, curated blog for humanity? Too difficult, I say. Rather than give a ‘guide’ or a ‘here’s what I did in New York’ kind of post, I think it would just be lovely to just talk about it, with my delightful readers. Because at the end of the day, I just don’t feel like making a big gross Instagram friendly post about the city. I just don’t give a shit.

On my first lunch in New York, we went to a Vegan restaurant so I could let my body ease into the transition period before ingesting American-sized quantities of meat and carbs. Across from my table sat two twenty-somethings, probably Media Studies majors doing a field study on urban veganism. The restaurant’s specialty was a bowl of curry with kimchi and some green bits, pretty delicious but not overwhelming. Even still, one of the girls was doing a full-out, Austin Power’s, cover of Vogue level photo shoot with her bowl of mush, making it pose like a cheetah and Tooch that kimchi booty. When she was spent, she just sat on her phone diddlydoodling and who knows what with her artfully photographed mush, letting her $16 lunch go cold and underappreciated. It was ridiculous. So I decided I didn’t want to make a New York blog post, I just wanted to talk about New York with you lovelies. So let’s begin.

I f********** love New York.

I’ve been here a couple of times over the past seven years. I’ve come for different reasons, from Model UN to visiting underground Latin Jazz bands to other random events. It’s a city I’ve gotten to know quite well since my lovely cousin Ellie lives here, and a city that has grown on me a little bit more every time I’ve returned.

There’s just nothing else like it on the planet.

I always get this unique feeling of rebirth every time I leave the subway, and I’m just addicted to it. I emerge from the underbelly of the city, goopy from sweat and cranky from the heat. Blinded by light, my eyes grow accustomed to my surroundings. What language will they be speaking in the new world? How will this new world look and feel? All I know is, it will be completely different from wherever I just came from.

There’s a certain multi-culturality to New York (and the US in general) that I’m so in love with and makes me thirst for whenever I’ve been in homogenous Denmark for too long. To me, New York is sitting on the subway across from a Chinese woman speaking into her phone, sitting next to a gigantically tall African-American man loudly listening to music on his way back from the gym, next to a Latino man dressed in a linen suit with a flamboyantly bright pink bow-tie, holding a painting he must have purchased at auction, sitting next to a white girl with half-blue-half-black long hair and butterfly tattoos, scratching off a week’s worth of old black shellac off her fingernails. New York is the beauty of American multiculturality, the beauty of all of these amazing cultures coming into one island with a simple desire to make their lives and the lives of their families better.

My lovely cousin and her husband live down in Brooklyn in the Polish part of town, which was perfect as a cultural bridge back into American culture for me (You can read about my recent time in Poland here ). It was oddly refreshing hearing Polish and saying dziękuję when getting my morning bagel. There’s a little bit of everything in New York, which I certainly miss when I’ve been in homogenous Denmark for too long. Here everyone blends in together, and I think it’s amazing.

I went to the World Trade Center memorial, which I’ve been to before several years ago but never really appreciated. Back then, I appreciated the artistry and the metaphor of the cascading, dramatic waterfalls surrounding the footprints of the skyscrapers once towering over the city.


I appreciated the view of the new One World Trade Center, towering over Lower Manhattan where its predecessors once stood.



But this time, I had a whole new context to it all. When I travel and hear American tourists, loudly parading down streets and causing a drunken ruckus, I often think “Oh God, why couldn’t I have been born in Canada.” Here, I was standing next to people that I had never met, yet somehow felt some form of familiarity with them. My very cliché “Fellow American’s”. I felt a kinship there, that all of us have sat in front of the TV watching the same clip over and over while crying the same tears. They all felt so familiar, and I felt like part of them. I didn’t feel like an expat in a foreign land, or an American despising the sound of his own people. I felt a member of something greater, bigger. I’m sorry to get so gushy, but it truly is an incredibly powerful experience. I was simply speechless.


City planning and art in New York leaves the mind speechless. From the beautiful Highline to the grandiosity of Central Park and the skyscrapers surrounding the entire city.




Everything in the city took so much thought and effort, and it reaches as far as the eye can see.


In this city, one truly feels anonymous. There’s not much nature, but there’s so much human nature. I could spend hours just sitting and watching, enjoying those passing by.


Since I’m traveling with my mother, an artist, we have a plan of seeing as much art as possible. I’ve been to the Guggenheim before, but never the MoMA or the MET. The time had come, and I was shocked by how much I had missed out on. The MoMA is absolutely palatable, and filled with Modern goodies from Picasso to Van Gogh.


But of course, more people stood taking photos of this than standing and appreciating.

The MET was massive and awe-inspiring, filled to the brim with everything and anything from ancient Cypriotic statues to Contemporary avant-garde. It was simply too much, and I would need a day or two to get through everything.


It’s such an extraordinary museum entirely devoted to the past and the art and antiquities of it. Even the stairsteps leading to the museum felt like a special exhibition on humanity which also deserved special attention. There’s so much going on in this photo, from the countless selfies to people checking where to eat next to a kid with his fist in his mouth to people enjoying the atmosphere to whatever else may be happening. It’s an exhibit on all races, people old and new, all coming together to view paintings on walls to better understand the pasts we all come from.


Everyone in New York is beautiful.

As well, seemingly everywhere in New York is beautiful.


Any direction you turn to yields a new horizon of concrete skyscrapers, or even old trees and brownstone strewn streets.


In New York, I get the feeling that every individual behind those windows and doors lives a life worth telling. Of course, everyone has a story, but I feel as though the stories in New York are always a bit ridiculous. That’s why things like the “Humans of New York” exist because the people that permanently congregate in this city come up with some amazing reasons to do so. There is so much creativity and art around every corner, so much life and brilliance everywhere you look. Since I’m traveling with my mother, one of her friends from high school works here as a concierge and is, therefore, of utmost authority when it comes to New York’s cultural events. We meet him in Harlem at a little hole in the wall local bar called Shrine, which is also the only place I’ve found a beer for less than $8 in New York. It feels like a locals kind of place and a bar for nearby Columbia students to meet up and listen to music. People meet up with friends or neighbors or coworkers or strangers and listen to tonight’s offering of a fusion of jazz, R&B, and rap by a local band.


It feels so refreshing to see some local life that doesn’t surround the yuppiness of Manhattan or the hipsterness of Brooklyn. We walk around a bit and stumble into Showman’s club for some live jazz and gin n’ tonics before calling it a night. A night with live music is always a night well spent.

The next night, our last night, my mother’s friend pulls some strings and gets us into a showing of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, which I had never heard about. I’ve only been to one Broadway show, The Book of Mormon, and I’m kind of embarrassed that it wasn’t as mind-blowing to me as it was to everyone else. Regardless, I was excited to see something a little Off-Broadway and it did not disappoint. It had absolutely no plot, it was just really talented singers and dancers belting out amazing renditions of old songs from Elvis and some other oldies I can’t quite place a finger on. It was a literal musical, as there was absolutely nothing else other than music (and some dance…).

My time in New York is always spent well. Even if I just go to a borough I’ve never seen before just to walk around, I have an amazing time. I’m so lucky to have an awesome cousin up here as a reason to visit, and this was the first time I’ve felt “Maybe I could live here one day…” as I walked through the streets, dreaming about what could be. All I do know is Colorado’s next for me!

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Thank you so much for reading, and I apologize for posting this one so late. Please feel free to give any comments or feedback if you have some!

As well, if you are new, welcome and check out where my journey began here!



Trolls, Chechnyan’s, and $10 Beers

I land before Ivana even takes off, and am instantly placed into contrasting climates and locals. The sunny Gdańsk park I had previously been sweating and eating hummus in had turned into a cold, drizzly Norwegian fjord at the Haugesund airport. But the sea air is so fresh, and it feels a bit nice to put on a thicker shirt. Now, I’m in a country I’ve had at my fingertips for three years but only visited once on a skiing trip with my former Danish boarding school. I’ve reserved Norway for a time in my life with more time and money when I could be frivolous and adventurous for a month or so and explore the fjords and trolls hidden in forests.

Now, I found an excuse to visit the Western fjords due to a cheap little airline known as Norwegian Air. I found a flight from Bergen to New York for about a $150 cheaper than any other flight going to the US in the time frame, so I bought it and decided to take it as an opportunity to do a quick taste test. The cheapest flight I could find from Poland ended up in Haugesund, a town about 1:30 hours South of Bergen with little to no tourist draw. So it was time for adventure.

I got out of the airport and walked around looking for a bus to take me downtown. My goal for the next five days is to do Norway on a budget, so I’ve found a couchsurfer in downtown Haugesund to take me for the night. I walk in circles aimlessly, there is no bus stop or any information on buses. Only taxi’s offering to take me to the city for $40. That won’t fly, honey.

I walk inside, asking a baggage clerk if he knows any information about buses. He looks at me quizzically, wondering why I don’t feel like throwing $40 at a 15-minute taxi ride. He looks at me, then up at the ceiling, then back at me and shrugs. “Uhm…no I actually don’t think so…but uh, there’s a hotel about…1 kilometer East where there uh, may be a bus.”

So I get walking down the road, and I keep walking and walking. I turn on my little boombox and sing a bit, as no one’s around. I walk about 2 kilometers and realize I’m going absolutely nowhere near a hotel.


So, I do what any budget traveler in the middle of nowhere does: stick my thumb out. I keep walking for another 20 minutes, thumb out and proud until a Toyota pulls over and waits for me. Inside is a little lady, she smiles and doesn’t even roll down the window to ask where I’m going, only waving me to come in.

“Hej! Tusind tusind tak, jeg hedder Carter.” I say in Danish, but saying it with my impression of a Norwegian accent. Norwegian and Danish are extraordinarily close languages. I can read Norwegian decently, and speaking it is alright as long as I pronounce my ‘r’ and sing it a little bit. She responds back in English, smiling, that she used to hitchhike a lot in her twenties and she can gladly take me into Haugesund.

The car is covered in nice smelling clean leather seats, and the lady (whose name was unpronounceable and impossible for me to remember) wore her blonde hair short, with a nice yellow sweater, blue jeans, and piercing blue ice dragon eyes. It feels a bit like I’m driving with a Norwegian version of my mother.

She’s just dropped her only daughter off to the airport for a trip to Oslo. My ride has the weekend alone, and tells me she’ll have a lot more alone time once her daughter, her only child, goes off to college next year. She says she wishes her daughter traveled more to see the world, and I tell her she’ll figure it out soon. We talk a while, and she drops me off nearby my couchsurfer’s place. I say thank you again, and to have a good weekend to herself.

I’ve stocked up on some Polish snacks so I wouldn’t have to pay extraordinary Norwegian fees, so I head briefly into town to have a snack by the shoreside. It’s a cute town, but not much is going on.



I have a rye bread bun and look around a bit, walking into a supermarket just to look at the prices and buy some peanuts. They wrap things individually here and it freaks me out a bit, it’s just so sterile.


You probably pay half just for the plastic!

I start heading to my couchsurfer, and walk into the building where he lives. He’s on the basement, and I ring the door and am answered by a red-headed pale man with a bright orange beard. Anders shakes my hand and welcomes me inside. The flat is small, just a living room crowded with a big couch, computer area, and bunk bed. There’s a kitchen and a pretty nice bathroom. There’s stuff everywhere, just cool little knick-knacks and nonsense but it’s still kind of cozy. The walls and ceiling are covered that give it a nice cave kind of feel. Anna, Anders’ friend from Gdańsk, is visiting for a week and smiles to greet me.

Anders is whipping up some Norwegian food for us, so Anna and I sit on the couch to talk a while. She’s actually from Gdnynia, a port town just 45ish minutes North of Gdańsk. I tell her I’ve been there, and she says she knows the couchsurfer with the 4 cats that we stayed within Gdańsk. She’s extremely nice, curious, and talkative and always has a big smile on her face. She’s a psychologist and teaches at the university while also having patients on the side. We talk a while and have a pretty good conversation about all sorts of stuff. She’s the kind of person that you can talk with about anything (which I guess comes from her profession), but unlike other psychologists I’ve met, she doesn’t seem to be analyzing me constantly. Anders comes in with kjøttboller, little meatballs with potatoes and vegetables. They’re pretty good, and we get to talk more.

Anders works as a driving instructor and also does driving tests. He seems like a smart guy, the kind of ‘engineer’ type that keeps electronic crap around the house to use for random things later. His barber, a Croatian who’s younger than me but is soon starting his own business, comes and brings along his very eccentric Bosnian friend. They’re a little bit crazy, and I can’t really talk about our conversation over the internet but it was definitely weird. Sorry I can’t share.

The Croatian barber has to go to work the next day, so he heads out for bed. It’s about midnight, and Anders wants to play cards against humanity. In my first question card, I say “guys…I have a question…” reading the card, “How did I lose my virginity?” Anna is confused by this and thinks I’m actually asking the question and not playing the game. She gives Anders a deer in headlights kind of look, then looks back and me.

“That’s so crazy you ask that, I was going to ask when you lost your virginity.”

I make a kind of confused expression, give my answer, and say “mmmmwhy?” She smiles and says.

“I’m a sexologist too, but not everyone can accept that information.” My head explodes with questions, which come pooling out all at once. For the next two hours, we play cards against humanity and talk about sex until I can barely hold my eyes open.

Anders’ couch is unbelievably comfortable, and the cave lets no light in with the blinds closed. I pass out and sleep for a long long time.

I wake up late, and my plan is to go to a little island called Lepsøya where I’ve been offered a couch. It’s only 30 minutes from Bergen, and no couchsurfers in Bergen would give me a spot. I have a whole plan on how to get there, and Anders offers to drive me to the main road so I can hitch a better ride. What he didn’t say was when. So we sit around a lot, until about noon when I need to get a walk and some fruit. I head to the grocery, and get some grapes and apricots (by request from Anna), two stale bread buns, and 4 onions for onion soup in case of emergency. In total I spent:


SEVENTEEN. I look up and down my receipt hurriedly, wondering if the apricots (the cheapest item, on sale) were made of gold or if the onions were grown by a sect of secluded monks on a mountaintop. But nope, everything is just ordinary Norwegian food.

So I’m a little bit sassy after spending so much money. I get back, share the fruit, and make sure to eat every last morsel.

Anders sees me trying on his hat, and decides to give me one he never wears. It’s a hat I’ve been looking for for about a year, and now it’s finally in my life. We go for a walk around town in the misty, spitty rain.


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Anders and Anna are fantastic hosts, both funny, curious, and caring people. They take me up about 30 minutes North to a gas station by the road. We hug, say to see each other again, and I stick my thumb out.

Before Anders and Anna even leave, a car stops and waves me to come in.

I sit, say my “Hej! Tusind tusind tak, jeg hedder Carter” and shake the hand of another foreigner. Once again, I can’t pronounce my driver’s name. He has black hair, brown eyes, and olive skin surrounding his black beard and shaved mustache. He says he’s from Chechneya, and I take a ride with my first Chechneyan ever.

His eight-year-old son, who isn’t actually his son but his nephew that he takes care of like a son or something, is sitting in the back and pours me a cup of sweet milky coffee. The man driving smiles, and says “Drik”. I speak in some English, “Taler ikke engelsk”, he says smiling. My brain says.


And I try again in Danish, realizing the utter ridiculousness of an American speaking Danish to a Chechneyan speaking Norwegian. How beautiful this world is.

We talk a while, understanding only half of what the other person is saying. He’s lived a hard life, again not the sort of thing I can post openly, and I’m amazed at how he’s opened up to me. We talk a lot about Islam, terrorists, and the government. He tells me how ostracized he feels as a Chechnyan Muslim in Norway, because everyone assumes he’s a terrorist. But terrorists and war made a hole in his life back home, one that made him flee his homeland over a decade ago with the rest of his family. I can’t imagine having such a war in my country, and having to escape to a country like Norway for safety. On top of that, to never truly fit in with the people living next to you.

We drive for about an hour to the ferry that I need to catch, where his brother is dropping his mother and two nieces off for him to take back home. There’s some family drama that I don’t understand, but we all have some family drama that no one understands. We arrive at the stop, say goodbye, and realize the ferry has just left.


I don’t feel like sitting alone, so I keep talking. He’s smoking a cigarette and suddenly picks up the phone. He runs over to the car and opens the drunk, pointing at its contents. His son pops out of the car and says “Skal vi fisker?”

He takes two fishing polls out of the trunk, handing one to me and one two his father who strings it up and puts on the lure with a cigarette in his mouth while talking on the phone. We head over and start fishing. I have no clue how to fish, but the little son (who’s absolutely adorable) teaches me the way. We fish for a while, and the driver comes back and gives his son a huge kiss on the head. Such tenderness from someone with so many scars.

We fish some more, and eventually, the ferry comes. He asks if I have enough money for the ferry, and if not he’ll give me some. I say he’s given me more than anyone could, and give him the firmest most genuine handshake I’ve ever given anyone.


I shake hands with his brother and say “Salam” to his mother. We shake hands, and I turn and board the ship.

The ticket costs about $7, and I walk around a bit before going outside onto the deck. I climb to the top and see my driver’s brother sitting alone. We shake hands again, and he tells me they don’t come up here to check if you bought a ticket. Smart.

He tells me I speak really good Norwegian, and I smile and say “Thanks, but I just speak Danish.” I show him where I’m going, to which he replies,

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll take you.” shaking my hand again. We talk for the ferry ride, and he loves MMA so we talk about Conor McGregor and then my knowledge of MMA ends at that. Luckily it wasn’t a long ride.

We deboard, get in his car, and he drives me straight to my couchsurfers place which only takes about 10 minutes. I would have had to take the bus 20 minutes, then hitchhike for my life or else walk a good 2:30 to get to where I needed to go. I was so thankful he offered to take me and thanked him profusely. He just smiled and said, “No thanks are necessary, just remember not all Muslims are bad.” I wave goodbye, and walk up to my home for the next three nights.

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Margunn, a chef at a music high school, offered to take me in for three nights after I made my trip public on couchsurfing. I had sent requests to maybe twenty or so people, none of them said yes. The alternative was to stay at a hostel for $40 a night, and I’m glad I didn’t.

Margunn lives next to the school, on the beautiful island of Lepsøya. The school pays for most of it, and she gives me leftover food from the schools’ dinner that day. Her passion is travel, and she’s able to fund it since the school pretty much pays for her room and board. She’s leaving the same day as me for a trip to Belarus, which is one of her final European countries before she can say she’s visited every single one (including the little ones). We talk for a long time about travel and other nonsense, and I get a good night’s sleep on the couch.

The next morning she’s off to work pretty early, but I linger in bed a while. Today is my day to go to Bergen. Buses are hard to come by out here, so I stick my thumb out once again hoping for the best.




I have it out in the air for about fifty minutes, and one guy even gets a bit mad at me and angrily points in the direction of the bus stop. Eventually, a bright green Chevy pick-up truck stops and waves me in. He moves his child’s seat out of the way, and I sit down next to a pretty hillbilly Norwegian (Who’s name again I can’t remember or pronounce). He’s going into the nearest town of Os for a fishing convention and drops me off at the bus station towards Bergen. He tells me of his trip to Orlando and Miami with the kids.

I figure I’ll finally take public transportation, and pay $4.50 for an hour-long ride into Bergen. That’s actually pretty good, I don’t think you could really get an hour-long ride for less in Denmark. It’s raining but the scenery is nice, and I sit back and relax with my ears plugged with music.

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I get into the city and instantly walk to the library. Today is sort of a day of missions. Now, I have a mission to print my bus ticket from the airport in New York to the city. I print it out, then have a mission to go try the best fish soup in Bergen (a tip Margunn gave me). The town is packed with people, as there’s an antique steamboat show going on. The smell of coal and the sound of steam whistles fills the air.


I approach the harborside restaurant realizing it’s way too packed for me to go to. I go to a grocery store and buy some cheap brie, crackers, and Icelandic yogurt. That’ll be my lunch for the next two days, and it only cost me $8. I feel frivolous, and buy a $3 7-11 coffee and walk around some more.







It’s pretty cute, right? Definitely. But there’s not really much to do in town. There’s some nice street art, however.




I almost moved here to study abroad in my spring semester Junior year, and I’m so glad I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t dig enough, but I think Aalborg has a bit more stuff going on. But it’s certainly cute. I head straight up the little mountain nearby and walk through plenty of misty mysterious forests.




There are absolutely trolls in this forest. I get to the viewpoint and watch the storm roll into the city as Viking ships come into port.




I continue wandering through the forests because I don’t really feel like heading back to the touristy city.


I eventually wander down because I’m drenched and in need of tea, and get down just in time to watch a $0.50 male stripper perform on the street. 38614974_704682973232832_4765537575240728576_n.jpg

He could have taken more off, though. I didn’t see enough belly fur.

I stop for tea in the traveler’s cafe, which has a library of Lonely Planet books. I plan my next adventures and head back out. My next hunt is for socks because mine is currently soaked and wet cold feet is the quickest way for me to get cranky. So I buy the cheapest I can find and get back on the bus to Lepsøya.

Bergen was nice enough, but I wouldn’t have been able to live here for six months. I get dropped off in a little village, because buses aren’t running to Lepsøya, and stick my thumb back out.

Five minutes later, a car picks me up fueled by a Brazilian woman. At that moment, I was speaking Danish, Shit Norwegian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese because we couldn’t figure out which language we wanted to speak to each other. So I ended up speaking all of them terribly. Luckily the ride was only 5 minutes, and she was extraordinarily nice and friendly with my nonsense confused multilingual baby talk.

Margunn and I share some tea and talk more, and share a bit of leftover pizza. I sleep well again.

Today I feel like being lazy. It’s my last day in Europe until the end of January, and I feel like lazing about a bit. I sleep in and have a cup of coffee before going on a little hike through the nearest forest. There’s nowhere I want to go, just a nice quiet place to finish my cheese.



It goes without saying that Norway is beautiful. Who needs cities when you have such raw beauty, right? So I feel there’s no shame in not being wowed by Bergen, but being wowed by nature. I wander and wander and eventually head back for a cup of tea with Margunn. She’s off work early today, so we go for a walk through the forests.


I keep stopping to pick raspberries and blueberries, and they’re so perfectly ripe and delicious that I take my time and eat as many as I can without Margunn getting annoyed. We stop by the grocery store so I can pick up some more cheese for tomorrow, and there’s a nice boat parked outside. This is the kind of town where people take their boat to the store, I guess.


Margunn buys some fresh fishing lures, and we go fishing under the bridge. But as my luck with fishing goes, the line snags on some seaweed and she has to cut the line five minutes in. Guess I’ll never catch a Norwegian fish.


We go back and make a dinner of leftovers and play cards. Norwegians are lovely, but they’re even more reserved than Danes. They so rarely talk to each other and don’t really need to. No one nodded hello to me on my hike through the Bergen mountain. When someone needs to get off the bus and make you move for them, they don’t say “Pardon me, this is my stop. Thank you.” like a normal hu-man. They just shift around in their seat and hope you get the message, dreading the need to look you in the eyes and ask for you to move. It’s a country for introverts, which is probably fine if the country experiences winter all months of the year. It rains 270 days on average in Bergen. No point getting out and socializing here. As well, there’s no drinking culture up here. Only binging. Which is strange, because in Denmark drinking a beer is pretty gosh darn regular. Go out for a beer for lunch, go after dinner on a Monday. Whatever. Here, if you need to drink it’s a solid investment. So people go full out. A basic beer in a bar will set you back $8-10, which to me is insane having just paid no more than $2 for delicious beers in Poland (not to mention $1.50 beers in Slovakia, which are even tastier). Having been ruled by Denmark for 400 years, I’m surprised they never developed a drinking culture. That’s all we do in Denmark in the winter. Bars are warm, and you can’t shut a Dane up once you get a drop of alcohol in his veins. That’s one of my favorite things to do in winter, actually. Just sit in a bar with friends over a beer or two for a few hours. But I’m glad I’m having a bit of a detox right now.

After dinner, Margunn needs to pack up a bit for her trip to Minsk the following day. So I go for a walk and sit under the bridge again for a while, drinking in my last night views of Europe for a while. I don’t get a sunset because it’s too cloudy, but it’s still a nice place to be. I’ll absolutely miss Europe while I’m in Hong-Kong. At this point, it’s just become comfortable. I have a community, and things are starting to make sense. Not to mention, my room is extremely comfortable. But the opportunity to live in Asia for a semester is too good to pass up, and while I may be a bit reserved in excitement now, I know that being in Asia will pick me right up again. I go to bed, for my last night in the old land.

Margunn has to get up for work again, and I have another mission to go on. I grab a coffee then head to the bus stop. No hitchhiking this time, I’m on a schedule. I want to see my first Stave church.

Ever since I saw a photo of Borgund stave church, I’ve wanted to visit one. It’s truly unique, Viking-esque architecture and it’s just plain badass. Margunn tells me there’s one kind of on the way to the airport, and I jump at the opportunity to go. It’s two buses and a train ride away, but the whole journey only takes about 1:15. I walk up a forested hill and am greeted by a black dragon building peering over the treeline.


This may not be Borgund, but it’s freshly tared and ready to go. Fantoft Stavkirke is a reconstruction, but it is certainly beautiful. It was one of the church burnings done by Black Metal musician Varg Vikernes in the early 90’s, so the one standing brand new but wonderfully done. It’s swarming with tourists and covered in security cameras, and the steward came up to me aggressively to ask if I needed something. Guess I may look like a Hedonist, ready to take down another church.

But all I could do was marvel, and enjoy a church I’ve so longed to see in person.





That lady needs a good dragon face licking.

Yes, it’s raining. Yes, my feet are absolutely drenched today. I’ve gotten my feet wet every single day, and I’ve run out of socks. So I’m a bit stinky and cranky as I write this in the airport.

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But now at least they’re dry, and I’m sitting at a nice lounge for a coffee shop hoping the barista doesn’t kick me out. In total, I’ve spent $106 for five days in Norway. Had I spent on hostels, it would have been $266 total. Had I spent money on public transport, it would have been $315. Then there’s eating out, which I won’t even bother adding. Even $106 feels like a lot, as that same money could probably last you 4-5 days in Poland or Georgia with meals, beer, and a hotel room included. Regardless, the experience of hitchhiking and couchsurfing around Norway has been an amazing experience. I’ve gained far more experience doing this little excursion and ended up spending about the same amount as I would have if I had taken a flight from London or Germany. And who can say they’ve gone fishing with Chechneyan’s in a Norwegian fjord? This entire semester has been the wildest, most travel rich few months of my life. I even made a wee little map to show:

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Here’s every trip I’ve taken from January 1st-August 2nd. It’s been seven months of sleeplessness, laughter, and meeting some truly unique and inspiring people. I can feel a difference in myself, just in situational maturity and courage, along with more practical things like how to haggle in French with Moroccan taxi drivers, hunt for truffles, or pick up a ride in Norway. Now, I head to New York City to meet my cousin and to meet up with my momma, who’s graciously flown up from Florida to spend the week with me in the big city. I’m excited to be back in the US, simply because it feels nice to speak American English and make cultural references that people understand. But I’m ready and excited for the next adventures that await.

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Thank you for reading, and for baring with all of my nonsense. I hope you’ve enjoyed so far, and there’s much more to come!