Autumn walks and the final days in Rondane

The last few weeks I sacrificed the mountain tops for the White Birch woods, because the mountain is on fire with the autumn here. It is so pretty that I can sit down and stare at one spot for five minute and still not really comprehend what I am looking at. Blueberry plants have gone scarlet, leaves and grass is orange and the few, far spread pine trees offers a deep green contrast. It is the perfect season for packing my small bag with a thermos of hot chocolate or hot red currant sirup, a nice lunch, a book, my journal and my camera. I walk with audiobooks or music in my ears, occasionally stopping to take the ear plugs out and listen to rustling leaves or the clunking from small streams. Occasionally just listening to the silence and the solitude. These days the clouds are heavy, but a week ago the sun shone strongly and I wore t-shirts and fell asleep amongst heather. In my journal I wrote things like:

I sometimes forget how nice it is to be one’s own company, especially walking outside like this. When the nature is so magnificent it fills your heart and your head, and the sun keeps you warm. It is nice to do these easy walks, and not always push upwards on rocky paths to reach 2000m. Instead I walk for maybe 45 minutes before I find a nice rock to sit on where the wind is a soft breeze, where I can see the mountains behind me and the birches in front of me, and to my left is Furusjøen, it’s surface glittering in the sunlight, marked as a silvery circle in my photographs. I breathe and feel my shoulders come down, and all I do is read or write or rest. As long as I sit here no one comes past, it is just me here and I think back on this grand plan I had about these months between my studies and how I ended up here. Rondane is so beautiful and it is perfect for saving money, yet it is also very different from what I had hoped this time to be. I’m only waitressing, not doing anything I can add to my resumé when time comes to search for the right sort of jobs. It’s also almost over, and I don’t have enough money yet. Still, in these moments I feel blessed to be right where I am, and most of the time I’m grateful for this opportunity. I think that living in the mountains at least once in your life is healthy, and I’m glad I’m doing it now. There is a stillness and quietness to walk like this, sit like this, in being on one’s own that you don’t experience when you are around other people.

Today is my final day off, and then I work for six days before I go home. I will be at home for three nights before I fly off to California and Costa Rica and Cuba, and for my longest and scariest adventure yet. I am spending 10 weeks travelling on my own, and although almost four of these weeks are in California where I will stay with friends the whole time, it is the next six weeks that scare me. I am excited, beyond excited, to travel to these new and exotic places, but underneath it I am a little frightened. I’m frightened of what will go wrong and how I will solve it on my own. I’m frightened I’ll stay scared, and that instead of embracing the cultural differences I’ll see them as reasons to stay cautious and withdrawn. I’m also scared I will blow up my budget. But mostly I’m just excited to explore volcanoes, rainforests, tobacco fields, water falls, swim in temperate waters, and to practice Spanish. I am listening to Cuban music when writing this, and more than anything I think I’ll just love it.

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