It’s time for another between-the-numbers post, courtesy of Blogging 101!
Since I started this course last week, I’ve been making an effort to actively seek out the writings of my fellow bloggers, rather than simply waiting for them to come to me. One of my favourite finds has been travelmagnolia, whose blog I discovered while perusing the “Scandinavia” tag on the WordPress reader. I especially enjoyed her most recent post about Oslo, which reminded me of my own visit there a couple of years ago. Look, here I am hanging out on the roof of the Opera House!
This trip was one of many I made in 2012. I had applied for a sabbatical from my long-term job, and at the end of January that year, I walked out of my workplace with no intention of ever going back. Of course, I knew I would need to look for a new job eventually, but first I was going to have some fun with the savings I had accumulated after five years of working full time and living thriftily. A few days later, I was enjoying the sub-zero delights of winter in Berlin, with some friends who were based there at the time!
I also went to Moscow…
But my trip to Norway and Sweden stands out for a couple of reasons. For starters, I celebrated my 30th birthday in Oslo – a hilariously low-key affair in the room I was sharing with my travelling companions, in a budget hotel that our Lonely Planet guide described as “barracks-like”. We picked up cake slices from the 7-11 down the street, and washed them down with drinks from the duty-free at Dublin Airport. We were tired after a long day’s travel, and had an early start in the morning, so the festivities were short-lived, but I don’t think I stopped laughing all evening.
I also finally had a chance to see “The Scream”, a painting which eluded me on my first visit to Oslo in 2001. I can’t remember if it had been stolen (again!) or if it was just on loan to another gallery, but I entered the Munch room that time to find a postcard from the gift shop in the space where the painting should have been. Seeing the real deal was, understandably, a much more enlightening experience.
You will probably notice a surprising (for this blog) absence of Beasties from these photos. When I made this trip, there was only ONE Beastie in existence in the whole world – my prototype, Schnocks.
I’d love to say here that leaving my job and taking some lovely holidays to clear my mind was a miracle cure-all, and that when I got home I instantly dropped everything to start pursuing my long-held dream of making monsters full-time. But we all know real life isn’t so easy, so linear or so trite, and those of us who make things for a living are all too aware that it’s a long-term labour of love, not a get-rich-quick scheme. That said, making the break with my old, unsatisfying workaday life was a really important first step on a journey that’s still ongoing, and I relish every opportunity to remember the places I visited while I was trying to figure out a better, more interesting way to spend my days. So thank you, travelmagnolia, for letting me see Oslo through your eyes, and giving me the chance to share my own travel stories!
What about you, readers? Where in the world would you most like to revisit, and why?