The Oslo Trip

This trip has been in the making for a while. Spending time with one of my closest friends in Norway finally came around and it was a hell of an adventure. 

Arriving on the Wednesday afternoon in sunny Oslo was welcomed by making tofu spring rolls in the evening. A delicious meal that was enjoyed outside with Sofia’s room mate as well. “Shempe got” (if that’s how you spell it). The next day we headed to one of the islands near Oslo to soak in the sun at the beach. Swimming with jelly fish and winning a game of chess were nice surprises. Grilling our own burgers added to the feeling of a perfect day. 

We took a bus journey to the suburbs of Oslo to experience The Well on Friday. Scandinavias largest spa and sauna experience that is best done nude. Yes my friends, nude. Egos were left at the door whilst we took part in scrubs naked, swam naked and rested naked. The liberation in swimming without clothes is unreal, not to forget the hot tubs as well. This place was one of my highlights – not because of all the nakedness though. Reaching that state of serenity and mellowness naturally is something I’ve been aspiring for since. 

As well as partying and visiting the Scotsman pub for a cocktail, I did go hiking in the hills just outside of Oslo. The original plan was to go north but there are loads of better routes around frognersatteren. Grefsenkollen has the prime view for Oslo. So good it’s nicknamed ‘over oslo’, which is where the picture is taken from. I used the time in nature to read ‘walking with Einstein’ by Joshua Foer. A very good read for anyone interested in how to remember more stuff. 

Sofia and I completed most of the museums in one day. The contemporary art museum had a Chinese display on, insights from Syrian refugees were shown at the Nobel peace prize museum and routes of the famous kon tiki expedition resembled so much bravery. Learning about the kon tiki mission left me very inspired and wanting to learn more. Before I left Oslo I had to check out Under The Bridge festival. A unique venue with so much on offer. Live street art was performed in the midst of rock roll and techno music. Again next year maybe?

This trip couldn’t be complete however, without a call to the kids at the blind school we volunteered at in Nepal. Hearing their replies later on were something you couldn’t put a price on.
P.s. This blog marks the final day of some needed offline time from social media. This trip has had such a profound effect on me that I didn’t want any distractions to soak in the lessons properly. More time to have fun as well!

30 days in snowdonia

This is the tale of a hard earned piece of coursework, known as ‘the dissy’ (our third year dissertation assignment). A 30 day geological mapping project in the north of Wales. 6km squares had to be mapped with the addition of rock samples and notes. I couldn’t resist bringing a few crystals back with me however. 

So who was there in the cottage for the month? 

There was Jack, the youngest of all of us and therefore a ball of energy. Brodie, the Welsh guy who knows enough geology to set up his own mine. James, the sarcasm specialist and myself – the white boy who spent most of his evenings colouring a map. 

Every morning we’d climb into the car ‘just’ after 9 to get to the field. What I liked about the road trips was that there was such a broad range of music to digest from everyone. Jack would honour his Irish roots by playing the Dropkick Murphys, whilst James hit a soft spot within Brodie and I by slipping in some Chopin, Frederick Chopin that is. 

Expecting the unexpected whilst in the field was a necessity if we were to stay sane. Delayed lunch breaks and dense fog would dishearten our efforts but we knew we had to march on. “I’ll rest when I’m dead” was one of the cliches that came off the tongue by day 20. Brodie’s small legs would carry the group in the darkest hours. The banter was kept alive by James at the back of the line. Everyone had the roles in the field and in the cottage. Consistent team work was key. We’ve learnt about our weaknesses and strengths between each other. In fact, a lot of honest opinions were expressed which is always something to grow from, especially if there’s truth in them. Like when Jack told James how he felt about his complaints. James would later imitate his posh voice to his face with humourous effect. 

We did have our days when we almost went insane. It was inevitable when your entertainment for a month in the woods was from 3 other guys. Rounds of scrabble ended in water fights. Those silly moments ended up being hilarious and they will form the nucleus of conversations back in September. 

I loved being in nature every day but I’ve learnt how important it is to mix up a routine. Repetition kills time. How do I know this? Those 30 days blurred into one day of laughter and pain. Growing pains, that is. 

Project Articulate #22, volume 2

RAMBUNCTIOUS

E.g. Noisy or without discipline. 

The weather on my bike ride yesterday was calm compared to the rambunctious thunder we had the other day. I swear it’s meant to be summer over here in the UK. Clearly, June has other ideas. 

The bike had a huge puncture in it from the day of the storm so I used my dads one to cycle to hungerford. The town that I grew up in for 18 years. The town famous for the largest gun massacre in England. That town I used to call home. 

I haven’t been there for a while so it was interesting to see how the place has changed. No longer is the post office opposite the kebab shop. It’s hard to recognise anyone there these days and the bridge has finally been refurbished. 

No matter the change, it’s always good to go back where you came from. 

Project Articulate #21, volume 2

SENTIMENTAL

E.g. Nostalgic or emotional.

I heard that word last night whilst watching ‘Unstoppable’ last night. One of my favourite Denzel Washington movies.

The bit where Will looks at Frank anxiously and he responds with “Hey, don’t get sentimental on me. Makes me think I’m gonna die!”

I’ve watched a lot of great films recently. American Pie 2, The Bucket List, Forest Gump, Yes Man, Eat-Pray-Love and others that I’ve probably forgotten. Some life-changing films in there that I’ve never seen before.

My favourite one out of all of them was probably Eat, Pray, Love which was probably the most sentimental of them all. It’s also based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read another one of her books called ‘Big Magic’ but the great thing about a film is it’s a quick version of a book. Time is on your own terms when you watch a 2 hour film, unless you’re Tai Lopez and can read a book in a day.

Who knows – maybe one day I’ll make a film.

Project Articulate #20, volume 2

TORPID

E.g. lethargic or lazy.

A torpid day that was only involved sending some mail at the most. I sent a letter to Zoe in Australia, although I forgot to write her name on it – really sorry.

Here’s the weird thing about sending letters. They’re glorified for making their way across continents and oceans even though we can guarantee that they’ll make it there safely anyway. They’re romanticised out of proportion for the effort they show but surely it’s just as meaningful to send a text. After all, at least you can get a quicker reply.

“They’re a waste of paper, ink and are out-dated and ….”

I could go on but that still doesn’t take away the emotion it creates on a persons face. That moment is priceless and well worth the effort. A sense of surprise that can’t be measured.

Project Articulate #19, volume 2

HORTICULTURE

E.g. Gardening.

My parents threw me in the garden whilst the sun was out in the morning. They’ve changed the front so there’s some nice holes in the ground. Unfortunately that means we can’t play basketball much anymore. If they keep the holes then we could play golf instead. Keeping a spot for the cats to chill in the sun is a necessity as well

Regardless, it should look nice when it’s all finished. I feel like my parents do it because it gives the house re-sale value. A bit like how Arsene Wenger buys footballers for Arsenal FC. 

Project Articulate #18, volume 2

PERISHABLE

E.g. subject to decay or destruction.

At 10AM my dad arrived at the front of the house with his red ford focus. He’d already put the back seats down so I could fit my bike in with a few boxes and bags. We left quickly and talked about driving lessons as he’d seen a school just as he entered the city. We discussed my plans for the summer as well which felt productive. He helped me think about food ideas for my geology fieldtrip as I need perishable food.

The rest of the journey felt like a breeze as we listened to some blues/ rock music. A couple of Rolling stones tunes got him tapping his fingers on the wheel and I thought that it must have triggered some good memories from when the songs were first released. Music is powerful in that way because it can bring back memories. I wonder what kind of things he was doing when he first listened to those songs at a young age.

Road trips are fun. I mean you feel like you’re getting stuff done because you’re moving but in reality it’s just passive. Opportunities to listen to music, observe your surroundings and talk with a good friend are few and far in between. It’s why I need more road trips.