2013 Gratitude Project – Travel: The Nordic CountriesThis month will be a celebration of travel. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had over my nearly thirty years to explore the world. Click here to read about my 2013 November Gratitude Project – Travel
I ran out of time today with so many adventures including the Phoenix Reptile Expo, visiting ancient ruins in the heart of Phoenix (I’ll write about that soon), and folk dancing with friends. It has been a busy day without much time to write, so this post will be mostly images.
As you know from following my blog, I was the stage manager for the BYU Young Ambassadors for three years. You can click here to find out more about them. With this amazing group I toured Australia, Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Illinois and surrounding areas, and all over Utah and Idaho. We also had a tour to the Nordic Countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. I loved this tour even though I got really sick and a little frustrated at our venues.
Here’s why I loved it.
I got to know some amazing people!
Okay, these aren’t real people, but I did meet some fantastic people on this trip including a couple dozen host families who had talented children, introduced us to Eurovision and took care of me when I was sick. I also worked closely with some local crew members including a group of students who traveled with us through Sweden helping us set up and strike each performance.
I also got to know Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian trolls, Swedish Dala horses and Edvard Grieg through visiting their homes, and learning their stories. Perhaps the one deceased Scandinavian I most enjoyed learning about through his art was Bertel Thorvaldsen. So much that if you ever go bowling with me, I will use Thorvaldsen as my bowling name. He was the sculptor of the magnificent Christus statue and 12 apostles in a small Copenhagen church.
I also saw some magnificent scenery including the majestic fjords of Norway, cascading waterfalls on Hardangervide, beautiful Swedish and Finnish forests and more. As we drove over and under the fjords, I noticed several small rock islands only reachable by boat with a single little cabin or shack on them. I decided then that if I am ever uber-rich I will buy a little house in a Norwegian fjord to live in during the summer.
Traveling through four amazing countries took us through some fabulous cities too. My favorite was Stockholm. It felt like home. I really loved the old architecture in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Bergen. The old stave churches were absolutely stunning. However, my favorite church of all we saw was an old church in Stockholm with a metal spiral steeple. You could see it from all over the city.
Overall, I just loved my time in the Nordic Countries. The people were so warm and inviting, the culture fascinating, and the experiences unforgettable. I hope to return someday. In every country people asked if I was from there. I do have Danish ancestors and feel akin to Finland speaking one of the only other languages in their language family.
I am indeed grateful for my opportunities to travel with the Young Ambassadors. I am so thankful to experience new cultures and places. It just reinforces one of my life philosophies taken from Dr. Seuss – “a person’s a person no matter how small,” meaning that we are all people no matter where we come from. There are nice people and mean people, generous and selfish, quiet and loud people from everywhere. We are all of the same fabric even if our cultures, languages and histories may be different. We all want to be loved and find a little bit of happiness and peace in this life. I hope everyone gets a chance to leave their homes and explore different lands and cultures. This will only help the world be a better place.