Travel to the ends of the earth—and back
“All travels are a detour home”
Dear readers and friends,
All my bags are packed, and I’m ready to go … This has been my motto for many years: I love to travel. I would be the first person to maintain that travel can be life-changing, opening up new perspectives and leading to new self-realizations. Travel has also played a critical role in rebuilding this newspaper, as we’ve gone out to visit new places and forge new relationships to share with you. Its value cannot be underestimated.
“Travel to the ends of the earth,” is the overriding theme for this issue, and as you will learn, Norwegian travel is taking tourists to places once considered beyond their reach, including the Arctic and Antarctic. Of course, there are also many exotic destinations to visit in Norway as well. While we can only visit a few of them with you now, we urge you to get out and explore more.
Many years ago, when I was working as a private English tutor in Vienna, Austria, I had a well-to-do student who had traveled to all parts of the world. When I asked him where he was going next, he told me he had booked at trip to Antarctica. When I asked him why, he said, “I’ve been everywhere else … at least I can say I’ve been there. Maybe I’ll get to see a penguin or two.”
I remember thinking that this was a terrible reason to take a trip—and I still do. While I would never want to stop anyone from having a good time, travel without real purpose seems frivolous, especially in today’s world. There are environmental concerns of serious measure to be considered. So, while sharing exciting travel destinations with you, we are also addressing some of these issues, as Norway leads the way in many arenas.
The Viking legacy
Today, tourism is an important part of the Norwegian economy, with visitors coming from all over the world to see Norway’s majestic mountains, deep fjords, and all the natural beauty Norway has to offer, not to mention the richness of its cultural life.
But historically, there has always been a a look outward from Norway as well. Already in the Viking Age, foreign lands were discovered and explored. It is somehow no coincidence that Norwegian travel companies lead expeditions to polar regions with their long legacy as great seafaring adventurers, offering excursions that are exciting, educational, and environmentally sustainable at the same time.
One of the leaders in the world of travel is Viking Cruises, founded by Norway’s Torstein Hagen in 1997. With its own approach to cruising, this award-winning company has set itself apart from the competition, and with their 25-year anniversary just passed, it seemed only natural to feature it in this special travel issue.
And, of course, no travel issue would be complete without an article from our supporter, Rick Steves, a leader in the industry and great Norwegian American. Rick highlights some of the Nordic countries’ many maritime museums, where you can learn more about the history of seafaring Scandinavia.
We are so incredibly lucky to have so many talented contributors to our newspaper, so many that space does not even allow me to give a shout-out to all of them. At the top of the list for this issue is our intrepid travel editor, Cynthia Elyce Rubin, who not only explores the world with us but offers a unique look at Norwegian-American travel history.
Looking toward spring
As I write these words in the middle of the winter season, we are preparing to enter the Lenten season, as we look toward Easter and spring. There are arts and crafts to enjoy (please check out our Barneblad), and then there are the marvelous fastelavnsboller. Even if you already have a recipe, I urge you to try Taste of Norway Editor Kristi Bissell’s, so easy to make and so delicious. Kristi also takes you on an at-home food tour of Norway, with the new tradition of Norwegian tapas—so delicious, too!
Exploring the world
And remember, if you’re not able to travel films are an excellent way to expand your knowledge of Norway and the Norwegian language, while also enjoying some good entertainment. We have been fortunate to partner with Films of Norway, based in Stavanger, and we encourage you to check out their offerings at filmsofnorway.com.
With the worlds opening up again with the lifting of the pandemic, it has been great pleasure for our team to put our 2023 travel issue together. And even if you’re not able to travel right now, you can still dream and make plans, or simply enjoy some “virtual travel” from your armchair.
This month’s quote reads, “All travels are a detour home,” a quote that alludes to the educational aspect of travel as an embarkment on a journey of knowledge and self-development. We hope that you will enjoy our travel issue and perhaps learn something along the way.
Wishing you happy travels—god tur!
This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.