Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it or not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m in ecstasy to walk through the brilliant green forest of Mount Floyen on this gorgeous fall day!
I could take the funicular to the peak, but it goes partly under the mountain, whereas by hiking I can see the harbor and town below me as I enjoy the glimmer of sunlight filtering through the trees.
It’s about an hour hike up the mountain. As I approach the peak – just a few switchbacks left – creatures carved in wood suddenly appear to the side of the path. I see a sign: “Don’t disturb the witch hunter!”
At the viewpoint on top, I join people gathering to look down over the harbor – a grand view. But my vote for enchantment goes to the magical mountain forest.
When I return from my beautiful hike, I stop back at the hostel. As I enter the shared room, I quickly realize my Australian dorm-mate (I’ll call her Liz) is dealing with an emergency. I overhear an anguished female voice crying out over the speakerphone, “Of course I am worried!!” As I stand there, unsure whether to stay or leave, Liz shares, “I’m going to have to fly home tonight.”
I leave the room for a while so she can have privacy. When I return Liz is sitting quietly. I neither want to pry into her business, nor leave her alone in case she needs to talk. After all, she is far from her friends. I am willing to be the stand-in friend in this difficult moment.
Just that morning we had eaten breakfast at the bakery around the corner. She had shared her excitement around finally being on her bucket list trip to see Dublin, Bergen, Oslo, and Kraków.
While I was on my walk, she found out her husband back at home will undergo emergency surgery in a few days. She is trying to book a flight home. She wonders if she can stop off in Belfast to see her adult daughter – “at least to have a hug…”
As she sits with the family news I hear her say, “Oh well, we’ve had a good life…” She is preparing for the worst, while allowing herself to feel gratitude. “I hope there is more, but it’s been great…” Liz is also acknowledging sadness that she will miss seeing the old city of Kraków. “I was going to take this trip last year, but I had back pain…I should have just gone.” I admire her for holding her family close and answering the need, while not pushing away her own dream.
The hostel we are staying at is wonderful – close to the mountain and the harbor, with a view of the hill, a lounge and kitchen, and friendly folks. A woman from New Zealand who is traveling solo for 5 months is busy planning her next whitewater excursion. I meet travelers from all over, each excited about seeing spectacular Norway with their own personal travel dream in play.
I can’t forget Liz, though, and think about her for days. Here was an opportunity she had seized, and suddenly her course is reversed. It could happen to any of us. A month later I visit the enchanting city of Kraków in her honor – a story for another time.
I am also very grateful – for health, life, family, friends, chance conversations with amazing people, for choices and opportunities, and for this sunny day.
The next day I return to what is before me – the pleasures of exploring this beautiful port city.
Does this story help you hold your own dream closer? Let me know in the comments!
See you on the road!