Browsing Category:


  • Travel

    72 hours in Norway

    On a whim I planned a 3 day Norwegian adventure for me and three of my co-workers. A fun filled 72 hours is definitely not enough time to enjoy this beautiful country, however we made the most of it! Our journey started with a flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam. We bought a standby ticket on Scandinavian Airways to get to Oslo. It was a long journey and we arrived in Oslo in the early evening.

    After checking into our hotel we decided to venture out into Oslo central for dinner and sightseeing. The long travel exhausted us, so after dinner we headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep. The next day our road trip from Oslo to Bergen would begin.


    Views from the Drive from Oslo to Borgund.

    Day 1: Our morning started out with a delicious breakfast of meat, cheese, breads, butter and milk at our hotel. We had two stops to make before we stopped for the night in Flam. Our first stop was at the Borgund Stave Church, one of few preserved Stave Churches still standing in Norway.

    After exploring the museum and walking around the church we headed to our next stop – the Stegastein viewpoint. I love a good adventure and driving across Norway is definitely that! The winding mountain road with switchback after switchback was utterly nerve racking yet so worth it! Just know, if driving this road isn’t your thing, you can get there via a bus and someone else can do the driving! The pictures do it no justice, it’s something you have to go see yourself.

    Day 1 Evening: After making our way down the mountain we set off to our final destination of Flam. We checked into the Flam Hostel and wandered around the town before stopping to eat at the Aegir Brewpub. We had a private 4 bed cabin but they have dorm rooms as well as camping on location. If you find yourself in Flam, stop by the brewpub for a good beer and delicious food. It’s got a cool mid-evil vibe.

    Visit Norway

    Day 2 Morning: We started our jam packed day with a coffee and pastry from the Flam Bakery before boarding a train. The Flam railway runs through the beautiful mountain of Norway and is such a scenic ride. We rode the Flåmsbana round trip from Flam to Myrdal which took 2 hours. The train makes a stop a long the way allowing passengers to get off and see a waterfall. You’ll find mysterious music starts to play and a mystery women dances up near the waterfall.

    Day 2 Afternoon: Once we arrived back in Flam we stopped at the Toget Cafe for some lunch. After lunch we did a little window shopping before boarding our boat for the Fjord Tour. If you visit Norway a Fjord Tour is one thing I will highly recommend. The views are tremendous and never get old! One thing I found fascinating are the houses tucked away along the route we took. How amazing to wake up to that view everyday! Next time I head to Norway I will definitely do some camping and kayaking through the Fjords. We took the Nærøyfjord Sightseeing tour that starts in Flam and ends in Gundvangen, with a return bus to Flam.

    Day 2 Evening: Once we arrived back in Flam from the Fjord tour we headed out to Bergen. We returned our rental car at the Bergen Airport and took the train to central Bergen and checked into our Airbnb. After getting settled into our accomodations we walked around the neighborhood we were staying in and had dinner at Peppes Pizza. We headed back to rest up for the next day exploring Bergen.

    Day 3: It was our final day in Norway so we got an early start exploring the city of Bergen. We started by walking down to the Bryggen area to catch the funicular up to Mount Floyen. At the top we stopped for coffee and a snack while we sat and enjoyed the view of the city. We wandered around the top before hiking back down. Once at the bottom we wandered around Bryggen the UNESCO listed old town. This area has shops, the fish market and restaurants and cafes. We did some shopping (best purchase were some very warm mittens that have been very useful in Minnesota!) We enjoyed a drink with a view so we could rest of feet a bit!

    Day 3 Evening: After a mountain hike and wandering around the city of Bergen we stopped for dinner at Olivia. On our ride up the mountain on the funicular we chatted with a local who recommended the restaurant and it was amazing! After dinner we stayed to watch the sunset over Bryggen before heading back to our accommodations. One day of exploration around Bergen isn’t enough, so I’ll have to make my way back! We decided on the earliest flight out of Bergen back to Amsterdam – standby flying life!

    Norway is an amazing country. It’s beauty is never ending and it should be a must visit on everyones list!

  • Travel


    Applying for a working holiday visa and ultimately backpacking Australia for a year is still the best decision I’ve made.  I learned a lot about myself and it opened my eyes to the world more so than any other traveling I had done before it.  I often get asked what I gained from that year in my life or what I learned, and here are the five things I took away from my year down under!

    Five things I took away from one year backpacking in Australia:

    You’ll meet people from all over the world
    You might expect to be immersed in the Australian culture right away, but the truth is you’ll first be meeting people from all over the world. Staying in hostels, you’re likely to meet a mix of people, a large population being from The UK, Canada and Europe. What I found is that it wasn’t until I started my first job in Australia that I really met Australians. It is a great experience meeting all the other likeminded travelers. Everyone has been there longer or shorter time frames than you so there is plenty to learn from some and plenty to share with others!

    You’ll learn how to handle a variety of situations
    Every day and every situation won’t go according to plan and backpacking forces you to be adaptable. You’ll learn all of the problem solving skills you may have not known you had in you. Most unexpected situations will likely be a good story to share. Meeting so many travelers will also give you some insight on potential situations you can avoid, or know how to handle when they come up.

    You’ll be challenged
    There are times you might be hungry, exhausted or frustrated and that is ok. That’s just a part of the journey! One thing I learned was that buses running in smaller Australian cities (and I’m not talking about greyhound) won’t stop if not enough people are booked. You won’t be notified and the customer service line closes at 10pm, so when the scheduled 2am bus doesn’t show up, you won’t be able to find out why until the next morning. These kind of challenging situations will be difficult at the time, but also make you realize what you are able to handle.

    You’ll learn a lot about yourself
    You learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, how to deal with being homesick, all of the things you may have never thought you were capable of. Solo backpacking really forces you to take a deep look into yourself.  You’ll learn what you can and cannot live without, what is important to you and maybe what you thought was important but isn’t as important to you anymore. Maybe you’ll find a new hobby or passion. Backpacking in another country for a year makes you realize how capable you are. What could be better than figuring it out while out on a great adventure?

    You’ll get in shape
    Carrying a heavy backpack can seem a bit daunting at first but before you know it you’ll be a pro carrying that backpack around. You’ll be doing a ton of walking taking in all the sites of each city. I was amazed at how often I opted to walk 20 minutes into the city center from my accommodation instead of taking expensive transit. Not only did I get to see more, but all of the walking helped me drop some weight over the course of a year. Being so active, carrying a heavy backpack from place to place, who needs a gym? Just remember to drink plenty of water, and have some fruit and veggies once in a while!

    Most of all what I learned from a year in Australia is that it was the best decision I had made. I have memories and friendships I will never forget and lessons learned that will forever stick with me.

    Useful Travel Information:

    You’ll find companies offering assistance in finding jobs for those on a work and travel visa as well as offering packages for all of the amazing adventures you could possibly imagine. They can be found all over every major cities CBD as well as hostels having in house travel resource companies on property. You’ll find plenty of hostels for cheap accommodation, many offering bars/nightlife on site.

    UltimateOz is great resource to connect with prior to arriving in Australia.  They have a package that includes accommodation for your first week in Australia and group activities. This package also includes setting up a tax file number and bank account needed for working in Australia. This package also gives you access to a job posting resource for 12 months.  Head over to and see all of the great things they have to offer.  Another place I used often was Peterpans Adventure Travel. They can be found close to hostels and the CBD in the major Australian cities.