68 Degrees North

Imagine parking your hostel on wheels directly at the beach, being surrounded by white peppered mountaintops and  the only sound you hear are the waves whispering in the background. Add to this incredible landscape the warm light called the arctic glow, while surfers enjoy their sunset session in the Arctic ocean. Imagine being there and somebody says; “..is that the Northern Light there..? ”

It’s day three on the Nomads Bus and we stare into the sky that just came alive. Alive is not even the right word, the sky exploded with green and purple rays of light, dancing in the sky. What started as a barely visible green curtain moving in our direction, slowly turned into a mesmerising storm of rugged beauty. It’s powerful and I’ve never seen it this intense. I never felt so much connected and disconnected at the same time, leaving me with an immensely powerful feeling of desolation. For a while I feel like time comes to a standstill and I can walk around in a World unknown to me, looking at it  without being part of it. I don’t know, I can’t seem to find the right words that do justice to what I see and I’m not the only one. People stare, jump or are just totally baffled with what’s happening in the sky. A scream of happiness brings me back to the green reality and I remember the words of Val; “You can only come to Norway and leave the bus after you took a photo of the Nomads Bus with the Northern Lights..”.  I guess it’s safe to say I could go home after that night.

A few months before this trip, Tim and Val invited me back to the Nomads Bus and they told me about their plans of spending the summer in Norway with their guests. Last year’s trip with the Nomads Bus was a life changer  and it was a no-brainer to join them again and follow them with my camera. This time I joined them from Tromso to Trondheim and yet again, it was an adventure never to forget.

For a week the bus passed an incredible backdrop of jaw-dropping fjords, colorful fishing villages and we had many micro adventures on our way. We had lunch at white sandy beaches and caught our own fish for diner. We hiked, biked and did longboarding on the Arctic circle. We drove for hours with a bus that blended in perfectly with the yellow coloured forests. We camped at wonderful spots near the ocean, lake sides or at Trevarefabrikken, were we had a wonderful ocean view (thanks guys for the nice local beers and the good talk I had about the important things in life).

We’ve seen many great things on our way. One of my personal highlights was seeing the Lofoten. I’ve seen many beautiful places in the world and for years I’ve been dreaming of going to the Lofoten in Norway. Lofoten is known for the dramatic scenery with sharp mountain peaks, sheltered bays with untouched beaches and countless fjords. Imagine waking up and have breakfast on the roof of the bus, surrounded by a wonderful world of impossible beauty. Did I already mention the Northern light and what it does to you when you see it? We saw it 4 days in a row and in the end, Lofoten really was a photographers dream.

The Nomads Bus evolved to an even better place since last year. My ride with Val, Tim, Fenna and Lewis made me reflect what a year I’ve had and what a year I’m having at the moment. It’s nice that a ride with the bus put your feet back on the ground and to realise what’s important in life. My roller-coaster started with a nomination for Red Bull Illume and I’m still immensely proud of that nomination and the exposition that is traveling the world at the moment. Now, a year later, my camera took me to different countries and I could experience fantastic adventures and meet so many great people because of it.  It was an intense summer, doing crazy alpine climbs in the Alps that made me feel alive, to siting on an icebreaker sailing up north direction North Pole. I think that trip changed me the most but during my trip with the Nomads Bus I had time to think of it and let it sink in. Seeing what an impact we as humans have and realizing we need to change our behavior and the way we look at life in order to keep our planet healthy.

Working together with my buddy Jitze was another highlight. For years we are trying to do a film/photo project together and this trip was just one big ride of fun. The trip started with two bottles of rum and getting shitfaced on the first night and from that moment it was just a ride of pure gold. It was great seeing him working with so much passion and commitment and I can’t wait to see his movie and do more projects together. I just leave the bottle rum out  I guess.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the guests on board of the bus and the nice people we met during our trip. I’m having great memories (I think..) of the first night playing Jungle Speed with 4 Indians, an Ozzy lost in Tromso, two Belgians on a roadtrip and a crazy Dutch guy. Also a thank you to the Dutchies on board and the two wonderful Croatians Antun and Sandra (I’m still missing something, not sure what, but sure enough you guys took it..). Aaawwwwooooooeeeeeeeee

Last but not least, a big shout to Tim, Val, Fenna and Lewis for having me on board again. You guys have inspired me again in many ways and I’m thankful for every moment I had with you guys. It’s great to see how Fenna is absorbing lessons of life from two loving parents. The love for each other, the love for your guests on board and the way nature is always part of your adventures is something I’m taking with me for a long time.

In case you want to be part of the Nomads Bus, have a look at their travel plans, this winter they will visit the alps and in spring they return to Norway. Make sure you visit them!

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