Alright, coffee is starting to soak into my systems; time to blog. I’ve been putting off writing these; however, that flows beautifully into a transition, as I also put off packing for my study abroad trip to Norway. Maybe not the smartest idea because, as I began packing the night before, I realized I was missing several things (socks, hiking boots, and a power adapter); but my flight didn’t leave until six PM the next evening, so it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal.

     It did, however, add to the stress as I was hit with several unexpected complications the morning before my departure. Noah, my good friend who was also going on the trip (his dad was one of the faculty leading the class), sent me a text. He had left several hours before I would and was kind of giving me updates on his travels.

     Important detail, I had never received the Covid vaccine because I had never needed it. During the three months leading up to Norway, I had been continually assured that I wouldn’t need the vaccine because neither the US nor Norway required it for international travel…. So it was a slight shock when Noah told me that they were checking for proof of vaccination to travel through Amsterdam before getting to Norway. 

     A chaotic scramble followed, during which I tried to find a place in Tuscaloosa where I could get a J & J vaccine (the only one-dose version), only to realize, after an hour of searching, that no clinic in the county offered it. Then I had to run about buying all the stuff that I might need if it turned out I could somehow figure out a way to travel legally, and all the while, my flight time was creeping nearer and nearer.

     I don’t want to spend too long going over details, but eventually, in regards to my vaccination status, Bono’s line from “Beautiful Day” proved true: “What you don’t have, you don’t need it now,” and I got through on an exemption for students studying abroad. That was quite a relief. But the fight wasn’t over. My travels were long and treacherous: having to stay awake for almost twenty-four hours, almost missing a connecting flight in Amsterdam due to airport delays, and running about a mile in the wrong direction.

     But never, in the midst of the chaos, did I sincerely find myself thinking, “man, is going to Norway really worth all this trouble?” Because (well, to be honest, it was because my motivation wasn’t derived from the desire to travel, but rather the desire to be with my friend). But, squashing honesty for the sake of grasping at some larger theme, good things don't come easy. It’s a cliche thing to say, but hey, from my experience so far, it’s been true. 

     Ultimately, I think all those complications and the crazy flight added to the enrichment of the experience. As I sit in this neat Norwegian cafe recording my experience with a subpar writer’s voice,  I can better appreciate the fact that I’m five-thousand miles away from home because of the barriers I had to go through. Was it worth it? Definitely, the beauty present in the moment after finally landing in Oslo and seeing Mr. Parker and Noah at the hostel alone was worth it. I needn’t mention the adventures that followed.