Explore, discover, enjoy, and learn
The world is wide, and the roads are many
Dear readers and friends,
As we weather through winter, many of us find out thoughts turning to travel, and here at The Norwegian American, it’s time for our annual travel issue.
We’ve called this special issue “Explore epic Norway,” and that is what we hope you will want to do after reading it. In the vernacular, something that is epic is very impressive, spectacular, or awesome—all words we think describe Norway. With beaches and cliffs to the south, majestic mountains in the middle, lush green forest, and the midnight sun to the north, it is a country of beautiful, dramatic scenery. Add to that a vibrant cultural scene and some of the most hospitable people in the world—well, it is simply epic.
But this issue is not only a celebration of Norway as a travel destination, but is also an exploration of different ways of looking at travel in the world we live in today.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about sustainable tourism. There are environmentalists who maintain that we should abandon all unnecessary travel or even flight shame everyone to sailing with the wind on the open seas. One need only think of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s transatlantic journey a few years ago.
But getting a transatlantic sailing expedition together is expensive and resource-consuming in its own way—and certainly very unrealistic for most of us.
Instead, we prefer to look for more realistic ways to reduce our carbon footprint while out exploring the world. Here we were fortunate to connect with two of our favorite travel experts, Rick Steves and Matthew “Nomadic Matt” Kepnes.
Rick, a friend and supporter of The Norwegian American, knows Norway well, for it is there that he first got the travel bug as a teenager on a family trip to visit relatives. He has been going there ever since, and last summer, he visited Oslo to update his travel guide for Scandinavia. He shares how Norway has become a leader when it comes to sustainable tourism, and you will enjoy reading about what he experienced there. It is always a great pleasure to interview Rick, for his enthusiasm is never-ending, and his lifelong travel bug is contagious. He made me want to return to Oslo as soon as possible.
From Nomadic Matt, we are sharing tips on how to travel more sustainably, often in ways that will save you money. While we all have different needs at different stages of our lives, I am sure everyone will find some good practical tips for better travel.
One tip that I took to heart from both Rick and Matt is that slow travel can make for meaningful travel. You don’t always have to travel so far for a new adventure. I recently experienced this myself on a weekend trip to Tacoma, Wash., less than a hour away from where I live in Seattle. On my weekend trip, I discovered a maritime museum that opened up a new world for me, or I should say, helped me rediscover the rich history and heritage of our region.
And then, of course, we are happy to share some exciting Norwegian destinations and upcoming travel opportunities. This is a good time start planning and saving up for your summer vacation—or you may even want to make a booking now.
Our paper is about different perspectives and points of view, and once again, I have to mention that none of this would be possible without the efforts of our talented writers and the community that supports us. So many have so generously contributed to The Norwegian American over the years, expecting nothing in return. We are so sad to report that one of them, Thor A. Larsen, recently left us. When you read about his life, you will understand what a fine man and proud Norwegian American he was. We are so grateful for all that he gave us over the years.
At the time this paper comes to you, we will be approaching the season of Lent, which this year starts on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. For this, our Taste of Norway Editor, Kristi Bissell, shares a special recipe for delicious Hjerteboller—Heart Buns—which are perfect for both Valentines’s Day and Lent.
At the same time, whether you are religious or not we hope you will be thinking about what the season of Lent means. In the broadest sense, it is a time of introspection and reflection about what is important in our human existence and how we fit into the world around us.
The Norwegian American is always informed by an indelible curiosity for learning and life. We hope that you will explore, discover, enjoy, and learn with us on our great Norwegian-American adventure. As the old Norwegian proverb says, “The world is wide, and the roads many.” Happy reading and happy travels!
This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.