Saturday, 22 June 2013

KIA-ORA NEW ZEALAND

For the past year or so I've been posting inspirational quotes on Facebook, Instagram and on this blog. I've preached about following your dreams no matter what. Well I can finally reveal I'm about to live up to my teachings.


For the past 16 years I've been in full-time education. I've gone through primary, secondary and college in Norway and then university in the UK. For 16 years my life have been set and decided for me.
So I decided many months back I wanted to try something different, something completely crazy. Over the past year I've reading book in and book out about travelling. I've messaged several travel bloggers asking for tips and tricks. And I've managed to save up every singly penny I had left over. When I was a young boy I used to watch Travel Channel at my grandparents place, cause they had cable TV. The things I saw... I remember sitting thinking that must amazing.

HOW
It was one morning that changed my future. It was 07:30 on a chilly April morning and I was at home having breakfast before my physiotherapy. I sat there, sleepy as a sloth, eating oat porridge halfway asleep. Then I stumbled over this post from a Facebook page I've LIKED:


I read it. I liked it. Then two hours later, whilst in the gym, I ended up having a 20 minute phone assessment with their UK representative.

After this, the process of getting a medical examination, police certificate and visa started. In the beginning I wasn't sure if I wanted to travel that far away, but every single person I spoke to said do it.

HOST FAMILY/EMPLOYER
Four days ago I had an email of the Bartle family. She really liked my profile and my introduction video and wondered if we could set up a Skype chat. Half an hour later, we were on Skype. I got to talk to both her and her boys and we immediately clicked. We spoke for about 40 minutes, really about everything. The place, New Zealand, the kids, the job and about rugby and sports (with the boys that is).
She said that she love for me to be their Au Pair, so I said I wanted to consider it for a bit. Within 24 hours I had accepted.

GOING
I've now got a 6 month contract for a job in New Zealand and I'm leaving Norway and Europe on the 2nd of September 2013. I CAN'T WAIT. And this is where I'm going to live. Mt Maunganui, Tauranga.



Guess where I'll live? One street from the beach, meaning the beach will practically be on the doorstop.

WHERE
Mt Maunganui is about 2,5 hours away from Auckland. The boys dad lives in Auckland and they go up there every other weekend, so I can get a free ride every other weekend.


View Larger Map

Why now? Well, like I've told others who've asked that; I haven't got a mortgage/apartment contract. I haven't got kids. No one in my immediate family is dying. And Europe is a sinking ship... Why shouldn't I go?

Why New Zealand? Have you seen the place? Many say it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I actually believe them.
Also I've got a couple of friends down in that region, mainly Australia, whom I haven't seen for years and would very much like to visit.

So what is my plan?
- Leave in September
- Work as Au Pair for six months
- Travel round New Zealand for 1-2 months (I'll be living 30 minutes away from Hobitton!!)
- Jump over to Australia and travel and work for 2 months

Throughout the year I'll be doing freelance work, filming and taking pictures. I'm also in the process of setting up a new blog and have contacted companies for getting sponsorships and so far so good.

When am I back? I'll be gone for almost one year. I'm definitely back by August 2014, because then one of my closest friends in the UK is getting married and I wouldn't miss that for anything in the world. I told her that even if I have to crawl back from Antarctica, I will be there.

Aren't you scared? Oh yes, I'm really nervous. It's on the other side of the world for Christ sake. But I know that if I don't push myself, if I don't test myself, I won't experience anything and I won't be happy in life. Travelling the world has been my dream for years and years, so I just decided it's time I start following MY dreams and go out into the world MY way.


It must be somethings in my blood, seeing as so much of my family members have traveled the world either in the air, sea or on land. The notion of settling down, getting a house simply does not appeal to me, at least not yet. I'm young. I'm wild. I'm going travelling.

Let this inspire you. Never let anyone tell you what you can't do, because it only means they're scared to try it themselves. Dream big and do it. Regrets are for people who are afraid to follow their dreams.
Over the next few weeks, you'll see several things change. I'll be posting more about the job, about why I'm doing this, more detailed travel plans, the process I've gone through, how I can afford this as a student and much more. So stay tuned and thanks for following :)

This is one the songs I've listen to over, over and over again for months now. I've been wanting to do what she does in the video. Just totally smash everything and take off to somewhere amazing.

Today's song: Avicii vs Nicky Romero - I could be the one
 

Monday, 10 June 2013

RUNAWAY VIKING: cause it's time for you to shine

Three years ago in last February, I made the decision of moving to UK and to Swansea. I wanted to experience a different culture, a different language, but above all, create a life for myself.
The three years that have passed since 2010 have been amazing. They have been the best three years of my entire life. For the first time I felt like I was creating a life for myself, a purpose. I've become accustomed to the local community. I've become a part of it. The people that I have lived with for the past three years have become like family.


I love my housemates with all my heart and we've all become quite close after living with each other for almost three years now. Oh my god, three years. Can you believe it? The years have just flown by.

Some of the amazing people I've met is the Rose/Scullion family. They are a loving bunch, who I've grown quite close to. Nothing like being invited up to a homemade Sunday roast by Rachel or attending the Christening of one of their beautiful children.



I've experienced a lot in the past three years. Fun, love and happiness, but also pain and heartache. It's that roller coaster of a life that makes you into you. I remember arriving in Swansea in September 2010. It took us two-three days just to get a basic understanding of the dialect. Kick starting the whole thing was Freshers, two weeks of partying and enjoying life. I remember going to my first pub shortly after arriving together with fellow students and student union staff. That first pint is a memory I'll treasure forever. I remember talking to the welfare officer Kaceigh, the university's own "mother". She was probably the most happy and giggly person I've ever met.


Over the past three years we've had some amazing fun. We've had amazing house parties, eventful nights out on town and lazy BBQs on the beach. We've cried, laughed and fought, sometimes all at ones. I swear, our lives have sometimes been like a scene from the Hangover films, cause random stuff just keeps happening.

In uni I've gotten to know some amazing people, many of which I class as some of my closest friends. Take my friend Laura for example (top left). She's getting married August 2014. Even if I have to crawl back from Antartica, I wouldn't miss that wedding for anything in the world.

Outside uni, I've gotten to work with some amazing people, both young and old. My job in the union have allowed me to meet some of the amazing students and events Swansea has to offer. I've worked as a videographer for Student Swansea Events for almost two years. And even though I felt knackered in the morning after finishing work 02:30 in the morning, I loved my job. I've got to meet and film some of the biggest acts in UK. I've danced on stage, I've interviewed artists like Rudimental and Tim Minchin and I've partied, sensibly of course.


Outside uni and work-work, I've volunteered for a charity and met some amazing kids. This part of my life have given me immense joy.

And now comes the dreaded summer... I can feel the country I ran away from three years ago is trying to pull me back. Of course I miss my friends and my family in Norway and I can't wait to see them soon.
But I'm so conflicted between UK and Norway... I feel that my "family obligation" is pointing towards Norway, but my "personal obligation" is pointing far away. I see it like this; Norway is my childhood, UK and the world is my adulthood. I find Norway odd now.

I love my family and friends, and Norway is a beautiful country, don't get me wrong! But the one thing I've come to dislike after moving is Norwegians as a people. Norwegians are often (on a general level) perceived to be a cold and rude people when you first meet them, which is true. Also, I just get so ashamed and angry when I read about Norwegians who go on strike to get 20 KR/£2.20 more an hour, so they can have 189kr/£21.10 an hour in total, when there are people in UK, Greece and Spain having to sell everything they own just to put food on the table... Too many Norwegians are spoiled and take stuff for granted.

I decided awhile back that I wouldn't be moving back to Norway, at least not for many years. The only thing for me in Norway is friends and family. That's it. (Which I'm going back to see in a few days.) Even though I feel really guilty for leaving my family, I still feel I need to explore the world MY way. It's MY life. I am the only person who should control MY life.

The easy answer to all of this, is that I have a craving for knowledge. And the fact that I like going to a shop and have a wide selection of food/clothing. I like being able to have a pint of Guinness when watching the rugby without having to pay £9.50 (Norway). I dream of living in a crazy country, live by the coast in a nice house/apartment and a thriving urban life.



I think it's just a bit unusual feeling, not having school anymore. I mean, I've been in school for the last 16 years, which is crazy. So I think it will some time getting used to, not being in uni/school.

The question every graduate HATE, which people always asks, is "What's your plans now?" and often they'll throw in a suggestion what THEY think you could do. How do I know? Jesus... Let us get our bearings first will ya'.

So what are my plans?
Well, I've tried keeping them hidden from my family, but that made nothing better, so here we go.

I've got two major plans:
1. Travel for up 12 months, working holiday.
2. Get a job in Cardiff, London or Bristol

That's my plans, both of which I've been working on for many months. I've applied for a job in a different country (secret), which I really hope I will get. After having traveled/worked around the world, I think I would like to try my luck in Cardiff, Bristol or maybe London.
Source: Backpacking Mate
I think I need to travel more and/or live in another country in order to be able to appreciate Norway more when I maybe return in a few years. So hopefully in 5-10 years from now I'll be the most patriotic Norwegian there is! I'm leaving for Norway in a few days, but only for the summer. After that, only fate knows what will happen.

If you're considering studying in a different country, I've only got one thing to say: Do it. Don't look back and go. You will be a bit scared and people will try to stop you, but you must never let them. Because when people are afraid of something they don't want you to do it. Those people you should never listen to. The brightest minds in the human history were odd and people told them to stop, but guess what? In the end the shut other peoples negative opinion out. That's what both you and I need to do.

Fear only makes us realise that something is worth it. Fear of the unknown is what makes it all so exciting. Pushing yourself to the limits of your comfort zone is the only way to live. The cultural and languages experiences you get from living in a different country are HUGE and will benefit you later in life. The people you meet and the friends you meet, will benefit you hugely in the future. You'll be able to view things differently to those people back home-home.

Live, laugh and love, but above all LIVE

I never thought I'd make one of these, but now I have. Just a tiny selection of photos from my time in Swansea.



Owl City is one of my favourite artists, right up there with Pink and Katy Perry. Let's be shooting stars.

Today's song: Owl City - Shooting Star

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

FALLING LIKE ALICE 2: Picture perfect country

My three years are up. Time to move on into adulthood. This thought is now going through many graduates at the moment. What's going to happen after graduation? It is scary though. It's time to go. But where?
A choice that many international students like me face after finishing their degree, is where to live. What is home? Where is home? This something I tried to explain with the Third Culture Post a few weeks back. Basically my conclusion was; home is where you are, where you are apart of a family and/or other social group (like friends).

And I'm starting to realise, I need start trying to remove things from the equation. UK or Norway, that is the choice. My mother said to me that Norway is more home because that's where I lived for 19 years, but I've come to disagree with that. Those 19 years were, to me, my childhood. Even though I was working from the age of 14 next school, making my own money, I was never fully independent. I acted independently, which something I always have done, but I was still living at home. My "grown-up" life, to me, started when I crossed the border in September 2010.

However when I think of the choice I have to make, I feel sad, borderline heartbroken  There is one thing that is truly making this choice for me really difficult; family. More specifically, the youngsters of my family. I have several sisters and cousins I greatly care about. Of course my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties etc. mean something to me too, but they are grown-ups. They can understand and handle me living in another country for a while. When I leave Norway after holidays, it's not the grown-ups I miss, it's the youngsters.
THAT is the single biggest reason, why my choice is so hard for me. If I didn't have six sisters and five cousins, I wouldn't even think twice about the choice. I would have stayed here or traveled all over.

And some might think this is silly, letting stuff like that influence you. But in the end you have to remember this; they are family. And family never leaves you. One simply needs to stop over-thinking it and just live in the moment. (Oh if only I could listen to my own advice...)

Source: knittingiris.typepad.com

Of course I have friends I care about in Norway, but them I see either through visits (in Norway or UK) or through social media/messaging. But besides those two factors, and maybe snow, I feel no need to reside in Norway at the moment. I don't see a big future for me within Norway. For example the media industry is small and Norway is borderline a god damn picture-perfect Hallmark card. I like fixing stuff, to mend something. Norway isn't broken. I know it sounds weird, but I don't see Norway as a challenge.

Norway is a beautiful country, the fjords, the forests, the mountains and all that is beautiful. It is absolutely stunning! I've come to love my home country after I moved, to appreciate what I have. The peacefulness and nature (except in Oslo...) is great and really fills ones soul with joy. But the one thing I've come to dislike more and more, is Norwegians. Yes you heard me right. I've come to see how spoiled some Norwegians are and how lucky we are to come from Norway. Contrary to what others might say, Norway was never really hit by the financial crises. Norwegians spending has increased exponentially since the world went to hell in 2008. No other nation in the entire world has that many card transactions per citizen. However, each year you find Norwegians complaining about "low" pay and too "many" hours work per week. And even though Norway has Europe's cheapest petrol, we still complain over the prices.

So why do I want to travel and live all over except Norway?
I want to see the world. To see different cultures. I want to be free.

Me as a baby, always driving around to new places. Think I was about 1-2 here. Look at those curly golden locks 'ey?
Growing up, I traveled round a bit. Every single Easter from the year I was born until I turned 18, my family and I went to Sweden. I went to Greece for the first time when I was seven years old, after my dear mama had been saving for months to take us on holiday. In a few days I had managed to pick up a few BASIC Greek phrases. Why/how? Well basically because when I said something in Greek I'd get some cocktail accessories like an umbrella, fancy straw etc.. I still remember that holiday and treasure the memory dearly. I remember running into the veranda door, because the glass was shiny and polished. I remember looking at the weird looking drachmas (Former Greek currency). Since then I've returned to Greece four more times (and my mother well over 20 times). I went to Legoland in Denmark with my grandparents and to London with the family when I was 12 years. This list goes on, France, Italy, Monacco, Germany.....
Every time I went I felt a thrill, a happy and adrenaline filled sensation going through my body. It was something new. Something different.

Monaco 2008: Visiting my great auntie and great uncle who's got a lovely holiday home in southern France.
I grew up with Spanish, Italian and Greek food. I watched BBC as a child in addition to Norwegian channels. I read the Times, The Guardian and BBC News as a teenager. I prefer English fiction (books) over Norwegian any day. 90% of the songs I listen to and the films I watch are in English, 5% is other languages and 5% is Norwegian.
Point with all this rambling is that I feel addicted. Addicted to try something new. Something different than what I know.

So I've decided to look into jobs here in the UK. Because I need to try. To try to make a life for myself, here. If I simply go back to Norway, it would please my family and friends, but not myself. I don't see a future for me in Norway right now and I'm not ready to come back just yet. Because in my head I'm terrified of two words "What if?". What if I had stayed for two years in the UK? What if I had found the perfect job? What if I had tried a little harder? I will drive myself insane with the "what if"s.

So today I've registered with several job sites and will be spending the Sundays for the next two months applying for jobs. I'll probably look in Norway, but my main focus will be UK.

Besides, I simply love crumpets and Welshcakes. You can't get that in Norway, haha!
Haven't seen it, just was the first thing that popped up on Google. Besides, it sums up the message.
Always have a back-up plan, so you have something to fall back to. Though my mama taught me to be spontaneous and adventures, she also taught me to think ahead. For example when I broke my leg; 10-15 min after I'd broken it, whilst I was still lying on the snow, I had managed to call my housemate with instructions of what to pack and cancelled a meeting I had. Now I'm not saying that you should plan every single thing in your life, god knows I haven't...FAR from it. Most of the happiest moments in my life have been pure coincidence. Like UK, pure coincidence, but I'll leave that for another time.
What I mean is that you should have an option you can explore if your first choice doesn't succeed straight away. Like if you're looking at getting a job with BBC; either you don't get it or you get fired/made redundant after 2 months. Isn't it then nice to know you have a VAGUE idea of what you could do?

It's not like I'm worried that I won't have anything to do and end up on the street come August/September. I've applied for year study in athletics, English, pedagogy and arts & crafts at several universities in Norway (Stavanger, Oslo and Volda). That's my back up. If I don't get any job by August in the UK, I know I can go back to Norway and study athletics for a year. It might not be my first option, going back to Norway, but it sure beats living on benefits in UK.

In the next post I'll compare complete expenses of living in Norway and UK, incomes and life. They say people in my home country earn well, but do they really? Stay tuned Norwegians, you might be shocked.

Now this song has been stuck in my head for days! I listen to it way to many times a day. Enjoy!
Today's song:  ♡ How to be a heart breaker? - Marina and the Diamonds 

Friday, 22 March 2013

FALLING LIKE ALICE

Life is one of the many greatest miracles in the universe. It it a symbol of existence. It is a symbol of growing. We start our lives crawling round and having grandmas going Peek-a-boo! Who's a cute baby? Yeah? Who's cute baby? and pinching our cheeks. Gradually we start walking and exploring the world. We get independence (and bruises from falling over). When we're around 5-6 years old, we start school. About 12-13 years later, you've just graduated from college and now face a major choice; do you go into the real world or do you opt in for the safer option of 3, 5, 8? years of university. Many people opt for the three or five years approach. After university there's no turning back, the real world is coming. You're stood on the edge of the university's door and in a minute you're about to get a gentle push in the tush.



After that "tush-push", many students might feel like Alice, after she's fallen down the rabbit hole.  Everything is new, weird and scary, but at the same time a bit exciting.

I'm at the "just-started-crawling-into-the-rabbit-hole" stage. It's not long before my "tush-push" comes. And that's when the scary bit comes. Coming up in May, I'm turning 22. So for 16 (!) years of my life I've been in school. For 16 years, the life has been laid out in front of me. Decisions have been made for me by society. Then all of a sudden, it's not anymore. Many people find this idea daunting, the idea of not knowing what's next.

For the past weeks, maybe even months, I've been trailing the web for motivational speeches. To find something that will give me an indication how I can find my path, or "destiny" if you like. To find out my dreams.
When you're in year 10 of school and are about to start college, the standard approach from the school guidance counselor is to say Okay, write down your interests, beginning with the one you like the most. The top three should be you top three school choices. Done. Often that is the case. But how do you define interests? And what is the difference between interest and passion?

Life coach Jessica McGregor Johnson defines the difference as follows:

A passion is something you can't live without - When it is missing from your life, you feel a hole and it nags away at you. You constantly wish that you were doing, living, being, or having it.
An interest rouses your curiosity - An interest is a more intellectual thing; something that you want to discover more about. It ‘peaks your interest’.
(Source: Careershifters.org)


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. - Henry David Thoreau


Ever watched TED talks? They are AMAZING! Don't know what TED is? Long story short, TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design". It is a conference that meets every year. People give talks about many things, for example, science, art, and business.

I watched this talk by Tony Robbins today and it was really good. He spoke about the basic needs and dreams of human and how these can be achieved. It's talks like this that makes me think; What do I want to do?

Your parents, family, university and society as a whole, has got an opinion how you should live your life. Your parents and family want you close, in a secure job and see you establishing a life. The university wants you to work within the industry you've have got a degree in, promoting their course.
And the society has got a ton of social conventions of how things should be. It tries to dictate how to live the "perfect" life and what conventions you need to abide by to get there.

That is the reality for many graduates (and also people in general). We let others dictate our life. We let other people decided for us what we should do, based on their past decisions. I'm STARTING, to realise that I need to stop letting other people decided for me and only let them guide me, if needs be. Sometimes what you want, is completely different from what your parents and family want for you and that can be hard. You're afraid to hurt them. To push them away. This sometimes results in a compromise, a compromise which consists of your parents/family's place, structure and type and your fading dreams and wishes.
That feeling can be destructive, on your dreams and your life. For me, I need to stop thinking what everyone else wants and find out what I want. That's it. But that's easier said than done. I've got people I care about both here in UK and in Norway. I feel home in both countries. Having to choose between them is probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my life.

NEXT TIME: Looking into the cost of living, job market and possibilities in UK and Norway. The result might shock you. And yes, I have got a plan, even though it may not seem so. Maybe all this, can inspire you.

Today's song: Avril Lavigne - Alice