Last Post: The End of the Ride
After a long silence, I decided to write the last entry of this season. Im writing this last post exactly at the same location when I wrote the first entry on this blog… a long… long time ago. Yes, Im finally home. Im now inside my room in my homesoil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia… and finally now, Im enjoying the heat, my aircond is still not working as usual! Im sweating while writing this! I feel so comfortable to finally sleep in my own bed in my own room. No more sleeping inside the warm sleeping bag covering myself from the deadly -30c in the Arctic. Instead, I covered myself with the thin blanket from the blood sucking mosquitos. While looking at the window, I saw exactly the same view of what Ive seen for many many years since I was a school kid, nothing much changes… except that my neighbour’s houses are getting bigger than there are less trees. Its funny to think that Im home after a long time being a nomad, yet sometimes I do close my eyes, take a deep breath and start to imagine that Im breathing the fresh air in the wild mountains of the Arctic. My mind is still there somewhere in the northern mountains. Norwegian landscapes are magical, the Norwegian fjords are legendary and the snow-capped mountains look really grand and when the northern lights show herself, dancing in the sky under the stars… it feels like you are in a huge Hollywood movie set in some Disney fantasy movies. Yet I still feel a bit of regret because I don’t have enough time to cover the whole length of Norway. I only rode almost half of Norway. I missed all the grand superlong fjords downsouth of Norway. But still, I feel so lucky to be able to get the best experience staying 88 days in the Scandinavia peninsula.
My ride ended in Trondheim of Norway. I had to cut short my ride in Norway because of visa restriction. I flew out of Europe 2 days before my 3 months visa expired. The last part of my ride, I wasn’t so lucky with the weather. It was cloudy and raining most of the time, covering the incredible view of the magnificent Norwegian fjords in the north. And the wind keeps on blowing against me. I felt less energetic due to less motivation, since I knew that Im gonna end my ride halfway in Norway. But the best part of my ride in Norway is actually the people around me. I was given the best hospitality from its people. I consider myself really lucky… and my crazy idea riding bicycle alone in the Arctic region in the middle of winter was really a good choice! On the road, I was the only cyclist who braved the harsh cold Arctic winter which makes me special to the locals. People were waving at me along the road and I even get a free ferry ride from Andalsvagen to Horn while I was riding towards the end point to Trondheim. I never paid full price for accommodation in Norway. Its either I get a very good discount or most of the time, I get to stay in hotel or cabin for free. Upon reaching Trondheim from Steinkjer, I received an email of invitation from our Indonesian sister who got my contact from one of my silent blog reader to stay in her small village up in the mountains near Hommelvik. So I took the opportunity since its very rare to meet our brothers or sisters from Indonesia in the middle of nowhere in Norway! And when I was there for 2 days, I got to meet even more locals who live in the small village in the mountain and get to share the stories of my journey with them. And basically I ended my cycling journey there since it was only some 45km towards Trondheim and the road was downhill all the way to end my journey in Trondheim.
When I reached Trondheim, I was greeted by my Malaysian friend who is on a vacation there. It feels really good to finally meet another Malaysian after for so long. I spent a few days there in my friend’s house, Erik, a very nice and friendly guy and the only Norwegian man who speaks Malaysian-style English hehe. After spending a few days there in Trondheim, I then took a train back to Sweden, to Uppsala then to Bjorklinge and stay a day there with Fredrik and family. It feels like Im in a totally a different world, it’s the same place but with totally a different look. The last time I left Bjorklinge was in the middle of February, which is in the middle of winter. The snow was everywhere and thick and it was really really cold. But when I got back there, it was totally different, I can enjoy walking barefooted on the grass and its so green and brown, compared to a few months ago when it was white and blue. No more wearing layers after layers, just a thin cotton shirt will do.
Surprising, on my 3 months traveling here around Scandinavia, I spent less than I ever expected. This is the most expensive region to travel in the world and Norway being one of the most expensive country in the world to live. But somehow, for the whole 3 months… I managed to spend less money than a normal tourist would spend a week traveling here. And this is possible because most of the people that I met along my way didn’t treat me like a tourist… but they treated me like a family, like their own brother or son! I am sooo glad that I crossed path with these people while I was biking in the Scandinavia. Some of them let me to sleep in their home, some let me to stay in their hotel for free or very good discount, some cook delicious food for me, some bought me clothes, food or a coffee, some made me smile and laugh, I met so many of good people. Before I came… we were complete strangers, but we met, learn how to pronounce each other’s name and became a family. We will definitely keep in touch, as I will never let the good ones go away easily in my life :) And I learn a lot from these people.
This journey really taught me sooo many things. It has changed me a lot! I started to learn on how to appreciate things… everything…. even the bad ones. Traveling, living my life on the road has taught me to embrace everything that comes to me, the good luck and the bad. I realized we usually forget to appreciate things that we get easily and often. In this journey, I appreciate so deeply everytime I had the chance to take shower, everytime I get the chance to sleep in a proper bed under a roof or get to eat good food… and I even appreciate the most basic thing in this life, breathing normally. It happened a few times while I was camping outside in the forest at some -20c or -30c, where I couldn’t even breath normally since my nose were filled with ice! My nose were so painful and I was struggling to breath through my mouth instead. And as we all know… breathing through our mouth for a long time, it will make our mouth feels so dry. And when its dry under extreme cold condition, it really hurts. So Ive been through the situation where I was struggling even to breath. Now I really appreciate it whenever I can breath normally again. Sometimes I even close my eyes for a moment while taking shower, thanking the creator of the universe for letting me to enjoy this very moment right here, exactly the place I should be and right now, enjoying every single drop of water that run through my skin.
Living on a bicycle also has taught me to be less materialistic. I know that if I buy more things, I will suffer more since I will be carrying heavier load on my bicycle. I just need to live simple. The less I carry, the easier I can cycle… So its actually better for me to possess less things. After a while I realized that I don’t actually need so many things to live. I realized if we want to feel rich, we don’t need to possess so many materialistic things, but instead to be grateful… and thankful. Feeling rich is more like a state of mind really. I don’t know how to put everything that I learned through my journey into words, nobody will understand. Some things, can only be taught by experience, not through reading or listening. Its just not enough… So sometimes we really have to go out there and experience it firsthand. That’s all for this season. Thank you so much for reading. I hope some of you guys will get inspired, learn a thing or two or even at least enjoy reading and looking at the pictures. May peace be upon all of you… The End.