Stavanger: Nørge

9th of February. At ease, Private. And yes, I know I misspelled Norge.

Maarten is a clever, thoughtful, insightful and kind person. His profile suggests that he can be a little strange at times, but I found him to be open, honest and without pretence. I can tell there are some sad moments in Maarten’s life, but he looks forward not back, and I found him to be a positive person. As a guest, he is interesting, knowledgeable, funny and articulate. I’d like to know how Maarten’s journey goes, and I hope it goes well. Good luck Maarten, and keep in touch. You are welcome here any time.

This kind of comments on my couchsurfing escapades make my day. Really. I know I will leave an impression of some sort or other when I enter people’s homes and although I hope for the best, I never really know what it is. In case you’re wondering, this "suggestion" in my profile is something I put in there myself, because I realize that my tendency towards the sometimes outright bizarre can rub off on me now and then. The very things that I enjoy, are corrosive to my confidence towards others. It’s something we all share; to a degree we are dependant on what others think of us.

That is why feedback is always appreciated. Positive or negative matters little, as long as it’s constructive and give me the chance to improve myself some way or other. And the building of confidence where you lack it is as good as it gets.

So far I’ve had nine comments, one of which is from a personal friend (thus valued all the more) and all are positive. Granted, you’d have to try hard to get negative feedback but some, like the above, go into detail and basically explain your good sides to yourself, and those interested enough to check those- like I tend to.
I suppose I can add this to the many things I want to thank this man for. He really was the ideal host and I hope I made that very clear when I put my feedback on his profile.

Or how a system designed for safety can be used as ego booster.


I jumped the north sea Friday the 6th, landing minutes away from my next stop and my current location: With a friend who I’ve known for years now.
It’s strange, it only seems like yesterday when I first stepped into her car, too tired to even notice the awkward silence. She was so friendly to drop me off a fjord down the coast and I walked my way back, taking me a couple days and returning just in time to celebrate new years with her. Good times.

It’s… a haven, for me. My home away from home, exactly what I needed at a time like this. And the warm person that she is, she has offered me to stay as long as I need or want. I’ll need a few days to figure that out, to begin with.
I love being here. Familiar faces, voices,… New ones too, of course. Among them, the first Belgian I (knowingly) met in a month. He’s from Antwerp so his accent is entirely different from mine, but it was a delight being able to have a decent conversation in Dutch again. And for once I could get back at the locals, speaking a language that no one else understands a word of.

However I have to be fair, Norwegians speak English as though they invented it. Even amongst themselves, to include me. I’m rather jealous of their accent. They seem to be ahead on us southerners on many subjects for that matter, I could only agree wholeheartedly with my Flemish colleague when he said that his heart broke when he went back home after a month here. However contrary to him, I didn’t get me a ride back to come live here permanently. Why not? Because I had a girlfriend at the time.

Times have changed now, and here I am again. Still loving this country, and its citizens perhaps even more.
So why not choose to stay? I don’t know. Or perhaps I do: I love my city, just as well. I love my job there. My friends. Everything but the rotten spot that drove me away – Ironically the exact thing that drew me back years ago. And personal change was long overdue anyway so if you do the math… It’s just not worth the trouble. Maybe someday, when I get tired of sunshine and the scales finally tip. But not today.


I was counting on making it back home by March but it’s becoming more and more evident that I’m not going to make it. I think it’s more plausible that I’ll be back closer to April, and that is if everything still goes according to the hardly existent schedule. But I did mention this in the very beginning, and I’ll say it again: Don’t wait up for me. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I can only give you my best estimate when asked, and even then I include that this could be week, months off target.


I’ve been quite passive the last couple days, literally doing nothing more than hanging around my poor friend’s house. As a result, my biorhythm is worse off than it was at home and believe it or not, I’m hung over. I can hold my liquor quite well, though. As long as there’s not too much of it. Yes, I am a wimp when it comes to drinking. I have no excuses other than just not giving enough of a shit.

All this will change tomorrow, because I intend to head out into the fresh Norwegian winter air and scale me a mountain. There is one nearby called Preikestolen (Pulpit rock), a major tourist attraction. In case you have a valid reason not to check out the link: It’s a 3.8km walk, covering 334m of height difference (technically more since parts of the path descend lightly) and eventually bringing you 604m above sea level, which you can then win back quite easily as the trail ends with an all but vertical drop. 600 meter down. This is going to make my 30 meter record in scaffolding seem like a walk in the park. It’s a pretty well maintained path so it shouldn’t be all that hard, but this is something usually done in the summer. It will be hellishly cold and windy, and if anything goes wrong I’ll be on my own. The view should cover the whole surrounding fjord and in theory, I should he able to hop down and land into the seawater. I don’t think I’ll try that though, I may get a cold and my camera isn’t waterproof.

Speaking of which, stay tuned for pictures. Better yet, my friend asked me to take her video camera so I might be able to include some footage, as well. How awesome is that. Maybe I’ll throw down the camera and with your face against the screen, you can feel what a near death experience feels like.


Map is updated (with the longest line so far) and I made a new photo folder for Scandinavia. That picture looks nothing like her.


One response

  1. Amber -

    "Maybe I\’ll throw down the camera and with your face against the screen, you can feel what a near death experience feels like."Your sick sense of humour always makes me laugh, Maarten. Somehow though I think if it wasn\’t you…I\’d just roll my eyes. Keep trekking.

    11 February 2009 at 05:45

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