We did it!

After much preparation and anticipation, it’s finally here – we made it across the Atlantic and have arrived at our second stop – Tromsø, Norway!

We arrived in Norway on the 22nd, and after a long haul arrived at our Airbnb accommodations in Oslo, which turned out to be a less than stellar experience. We were ecstatic to arrive today at our amazing cottage with a view of the water and ski slopes here in Tromsø – little luxuries like heated bathroom floors and a clean, operable kitchen are oh so valuable for us Californians trying to adjust to a new time zone, not to mention arctic weather and lack of daylight hours!

The view from our window in Tromso, Norway.
The view from our window in Tromso, Norway.

Norway is undoubtedly a beautiful country, even in the winter. Rolling hills, a beautiful skyline, and old-world architecture are given an ethereal, winter wonderland vibe when dusted with snow.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to venture out much while in Oslo as our waking hours didn’t mesh well with the city’s seemingly early curfew during winter time. That combined with the fact that Norwegian nightlife is not the wisest choice for those on a budget really limited our options.


Despite its challenges, Oslo did yield the opportunity for us to witness the daily changing-of-the-guards ceremonies at the Royal Palace while walking through Slottsparken, and watching youngsters sled and slide throughout the beautiful park cloaked in white powder.

From the front of the Oslo Opera House.

Climbing to the roof of the Opera House was another highlight, as was being issued a “warning” in the subway on the way to the Oslo central station.

But here, for my second post, I thought that I should focus on the many mistakes that we’ve already made at the start of our journey.

1. Overpacking

Everyone told us that buying an 85 L backpack (Chris’ pack) is a bad idea because if we have the space, we WILL fill it. We figured we would be smart enough to leave some wiggle room in this pack for adjustments, i.e., picking up items we forgot, shifting items from my backpack to his, etc.

It turns out, everyone was right. We filled both packs to the brim, and now it’s too heavy! We’re going to need to send stuff home.

The fact that it’s winter and that we started our trip in the arctic didn’t help the situation, since we had to pack multiple heavy jackets and cold weather items that took up a good portion of empty space in our packs. Once it warms up, we will be sending all of these items home.

Today, we plan to sort through everything we packed and decide which items we can do without for now.

2. Mismanagement of the dreaded jet lag

We made the fatal mistake on our first night of waking up at 3am local time, watching Netflix until 6am, and then proceeding to sleep until 1PM! This was totally unexpected and unplanned, and we have yet to find a way to beat it!

tromso sunset

We’ve been here for 4 days now, and we woke up at 1pm again today, even after setting alarms to try and get ourselves out of bed at a decent local time. It’s just not happening!

It’s difficult to get into a new rhythm when there’s no sunlight at any time of day – there is about a 4-6-hour window of “daylight,” during which the sun is nowhere to be seen.

If anyone has any tips, I’m all ears!

3. Paying too much for public transportation

Upon exiting the plane, we were so tired and eager to get to our destination that we ended up falling into the tourist trap of the airport express train at Oslo airport.

We paid around 360,- NOK (about $40) for both of us to ride the train just a few stops, when it turned out that there was a much cheaper, local train that stopped just at the front of our Airbnb.

This was poor planning on our part. But, now I know to research these small details ahead of time, because it’s obvious that the savings can definitely add up!


Thanks for reading! What was the worst mistake you’ve made while traveling?