5 Days Before My Solo Trip to Norway

Photo by Yuriy Garnaev on Unsplash

It’s Thursday afternoon as I write this. I’m leaving for Norway on Monday afternoon on a 2:40 pm flight.

Before about 20 minutes ago, I had nothing but the $300 round-trip flight booked for the 9-day solo backpacking trip I’m about to embark on. While yes, I do like to fly by the seat of my pants, if you will, I was starting to get a little anxious thinking about what would happen if I show up at the Norweigan airport, bag on my back, saying… “now what?”

I go through moments where 9 days seems like a long time and others where it seems like not enough to fit everything in.

And yep — by everything, I mean everything I don’t have planned yet.

Credit: KC Green

Planning

Every time I opened up a new tab to find train tickets, cracked open my guidebook to look at things to do, or even thought about booking an AirBnb, I’d get overwhelmed. In fact, I’m still overwhelmed.

There are so many opportunities, so many things to do, and so little time to explore them all. Plus, the money sitch is a bit dire for a grand adventure on a budget.

Today, I told myself enough was enough. At the very least, I need to figure out the first 24 hours upon landing in Oslo. If I’m overwhelmed now, from the comfort of my home, currency, steady wifi, and language, I know it’s going to be nearly impossible to figure things out while jet-lagged, exhausted, and surrounded by new things everywhere I look.

Looking for train tickets (NSB)

Step one: look for train tickets.

The small amount of planning I’ve done has led me to the decision to take a train straight to Bergen. Instead of wasting time being jetlagged for the first couple of days, I figured I might as well jump right into the transportation — it’s an 8-hour train ride and a great opportunity to sleep (hello saving money on a bed!).

The thing is, this train ride is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Because I’m landing at 11:30 am on February 26th, I had to make a decision: take a night train (and miss out on the views on the way there) which is cheaper and gives me a place to sleep, or wait a day and take one in the morning of the 27th.

Train departures and fares (NSB)

Ultimately, I decided to take the night train from 10:43 pm to 6:48 am. As you can see, I can save some money (and with an overall travel budget of $1,000 USD, every little bit counts) and get an included place to sleep.

And by extra place, I mean a standard chair — the bed compartment would’ve added an extra 1,000 NOK (or a little over $100).

In terms of the view, there are a few options for day trains on the way back to Oslo from Bergen. I’m hoping to make a stop in Flåm on the way back to Oslo as well, which is supposed to be incredible.

The Flåm Railway courtesy of Fjord Norway

So, here we are. Five days before my trip and I have a plane ticket and a train ticket. That’s a pretty good start, right?

I have about 9 hours to kill in between my flight landing and boarding the train. Part of that, of course, will be filled with customs, of course. I’m not quite sure what else I’m planning to do yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Packing

My backpack — all packed up and ready to go!

Last night, I did a test packing session. It’s my first backpacking trip — all my other solo trips included at least a suitcase — so I knew I had a lot to prepare for.

In other words, I had to realize how much stuff I can’t take with me.

The good news is I got my mini hairdryer and straightener in. Hey, we all need our guilty pleasures, even on backpacking adventures, right? Who knows, maybe they won’t make it to the final cut, but…they fit!

Anyway, one challenge is definitely going to be the weight of the pack, which is something I anticipated but didn’t fully realize until I walked around my apartment last night for 15 minutes with the backpack and felt like I needed to ice my back for an hour after.

I’m hoping my back will adjust quickly. Otherwise, we’ll see what happens.


This is just the beginning. Follow along with the trip and other travel adventures by subscribing to this publication and by following @ashhoff on Instagram.