Somewhere south of Bodø in Middle-Norway, I was gradually woken from a dream because my tent was getting hot. This was an entirely new sensation on my trip so far, and I couldn’t quite figure out the cause. Perhaps I was on fire, I pondered, still half asleep. After a couple minutes an alternative theory arose. Could it be? I peeked from under my sleeping mask. Yes!
Summer had arrived!
The sky was blue and the sun was shining. After six weeks of cold weather, this was amazing. Instead of needing to wear a jacket and gloves immediately upon departure from my sleeping bag, I went about my morning activities comfortably shirtless. My laundry from the previous night had already dried in record time. Breakfast seemed to taste better. Birds sang more cheerful tunes.
As a principle, I believe it’s not ideal to allow external things like weather affect your mood. Finding deep contentment from within, regardless of conditions, seems greatly preferable. However, I am clearly not in such an advanced state of mind - a beautiful warm day felt fantastic. I put on some sun lotion and moved even lazier than usual, to avoid sweating.
I was heading south along the somewhat quiet coastal route between Bodø and Trondheim. The road circled long fjords with turquoise water, sometimes crossing the sea via a series of bridges and ferries. Several people had recommended this road to me, so I skipped my earlier plan of riding through the Saltfjellet National Park on the inland highway.
By the evening the long shadows of the mountains were draped over the villages. I was calmly descending along a curving road without having to pedal for minutes. The still warm air was gently hitting my face. In a forest clearing a large moose raised his head, gauging if I would pose any danger.
In addition to finding summer, I had reached the land of sunsets. It was still bright enough to cycle throughout the night, but for a few hours the sun dipped below the horizon. What a welcome sight. The last time I’d seen a sunset was in May back in Finland. I stopped to admire the changing palette in the sky, from yellow to orange to red and purple.
I was once again struck full force by the freedom given to me. A profound sense of joy and belonging returned. After many years of simply drifting through life with no purpose, I feel fortunate to have such a clear direction. And even better, the chance to make it happen. I don't know how many people can say the same. Now it’s just up to me to make the best of this opportunity.