Month 47: Travel Summary and Statistics


Phew! This past month has been an action-packed adventure crammed full of highs and lows; stresses and joy. What I can tell you is as I’m writing this post, I have the biggest grin plastered across my face. It feels so good to be finished with my book and back travelling again!

Amsterdam streets

Let’s rewind to the Netherlands first, where I kicked off this month on a frustratingly sad note. My main takeaway from writing a travel memoir? Don’t. Make. Travel. Plans.

It was the night before I was due to fly to Copenhagen when I received the final copy edited version of my book. There was something about knowing this was my final chance to make any changes that made me lose my mind. I wanted to scour over the book for weeks, making sure every word choice was perfect, but that wouldn’t be possible if I was going to be moving every few days.

My trip through Scandinavia was supposed to be all about celebrating finishing my book. I’d booked myself into a bunch of dorm rooms in party hostels with the intention of letting loose and making friends; I’d treated myself to first class train tickets across the region; and I’d planned out all kinds of fun activities to fill my days.

I cancelled my trip instead, and flew home to the UK. I was devastated, but this was my final hurdle and I needed to clear it. I didn’t want to spend my time in Scandinavia slouched on a bunk bed, battling to concentrate. I needed my book to be as close to perfect as I could achieve. I needed to feel proud of it.

Views flying into London

Head down; get on with it. I had a week in London and I worked non-stop. It was worth it, because when I handed in my final, final draft, I was bursting with pride. I had finally reached the point where I had fallen in love with my book and was no longer convinced it would receive terrible reviews. I can’t even tell you how amazing that feels!

Then, FREEDOM AT LAST!

Streets of Oslo

Luckily, I finished my edits just in time to buy a last minute overpriced flight to Norway, where I reunited with Dave and we began a whirlwind tour of the country. First stop, Oslo!

Oslo

And damn, I loved that city. You never really hear much about Oslo when people talk about Norway, so I fully expected to find just another European city. But it wasn’t.

It was bright and colourful and clean, with gorgeous houses, plenty of parks, and friendly people. If it wasn’t so goddamn expensive, I’d be eyeing it up as a potential base for the future.

Oslo park

From Oslo, we caught the Bergen Railway, which runs from Oslo to Bergen. It’s regularly voted as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, and it was by far the best I’d ever experienced.

Over the seven-hour journey, we travelled past shimmering lakes and crashing waterfalls up to snow-capped mountains and glaciers, scattered with tiny log cabins. It was so beautiful.

Bergen railway
IMG_8020

I arrived in Bergen expecting to love it, but left feeling kind of ambivalent. I don’t know, guys, there’s something about rain that always leaves me struggling to fall in love with a place. Did you know that Bergen is regularly claimed to be the rainiest city in Europe? It is. It so is.

Lauren in Bergen

The grey clouds made the colourful buildings look washed out, the cold weather had me shivering as I wandered around, and at one point, we got caught up in a hailstorm! In June!

Fiord trip, Norway

In an attempt to brighten our spirits, we jumped on a a half-day fiord tour to give us a taster of Norway’s spectacular scenery. And, well, I couldn’t help but compare it to Doubtful Sound in New Zealand, and it wasn’t as impressive. It was just so… grey. Damn it, rain!

I had fully expected Norway to rocket up to the top of my favourite countries, but I ended up disappointed. Maybe I did it wrong: I should have spent longer in the country and I should have got out of the cities. My friend Amanda was in Norway at the same time as me and her beautiful photos tell a different story to mine. I’ll make it up to you next time, Norway!

Bergen views

Dave and I flew back to London from Bergen and spent a week in blissful silence, catching up on work and staying still for a while. Well, still-ish. Because in a fit of madness, I signed us up for a 5 km colour obstacle race.

You know those 5 km colour races that everyone’s doing these days? It’s like that, but with inflatable obstacles! So. Much. Fun!

Also, I survived! But I also may have walked half of the course… with blue teeth.

Colour run before and after

I was back in the UK for more than one reason: it was my birthday! And OH MY GOD, LOOK AT MY CAKE!

Birthday cake

I had such a chilled out day, celebrating at home for the first time in four years. It was just what I needed after the mayhem of the past few months.

Then, Cornwall! Have you been following along with my Cornwall road trip over on my Facebook page? A lot of you have been surprised to discover the UK has beaches that look like this:

Beach in Cornwall

And I was, too!

Over the past week, I feel like I’ve seen more of my home country than I did in twenty-odd years of living here! We based ourselves in St Ives, Perranporth, and Wadebridge, packing in so much driving and walking and eating, letting writing fall to the wayside for once. My highlights included having four cream teas in a week, wandering around the cliffside Minack Theatre, walking parts of the Southwest Coast Path, visiting Tintagel Castle on a sunny day, and so much more! I can’t wait to write more about this trip!

Minack theatre
Tintagel castle
Beach in Perranporth

Onto the statistics for the month!

Month 47 travel map

Countries Visited: 3

The Netherlands, Norway, the UK

Places Visited: 14

Amsterdam, Bergen, Boscastle, London, Mousehole, Oslo, Padstow, Penzance, Perranporth, Port Isaac, Rock, St Ives, Tintagel, Wadebridge

Distance Travelled: 3554 km

Highlight of the Month

Receiving an email from my publisher to let me know that my book had just gone to print. OH MY GOD, THIS SUDDENLY FEELS SO REAL! MY BOOK IS BEING PRINTED!

Lowlight of the Month 

It has to be cancelling my trip to Denmark and Sweden.

Oh, and also, Dave fell on top of my head during our obstacle race. I ended up with mild concussion and used it as an excuse to walk the rest of the course.

Incident of the Month 

Bad things come in three and this month filled my quota! First, I managed to pour boiling water from a kettle onto my hand while trying to fill up a hot water bottle. My fingers blistered and peeled, and that night, I couldn’t sleep because it was burning so hot. In fact, I spent about six hours blowing on my finger to cool it down.

A few days later, I had such a bad reaction to the pollen that my eyelids swelled shut. I couldn’t see anything for several hours, and they remained red and puffy for days. I’d somehow managed to forget I ever suffered from hayfever while I’ve been travelling, but Cornwall has had me sneezing for days.

A few days after that, I was rummaging in the boot of the car when I felt like I’d electrocuted myself. It was such a sharp stabbing pain. When I pulled my hand back, my finger was covered in blood and it was already dribbling into my palm. AHHH! It turns out I somehow managed to slice the top of my finger off (!!) with something sharp in my backpack. I still have no idea what it was! A razor?

Money Spent

Accommodation:

  • Oslo: $41.43 over 1 night: $41.43 per night
  • Bergen: $266.90 over 4 nights: $66.73 per night
  • St Ives: $96.05 over 2 nights: $48.03 per night
  • Perranporth: $69.26 over 2 nights: $34.63 per night
  • Wadebridge: $44.86 over 1 night: $44.86 per night

Note: I travel with Dave and these accommodation prices are my share — the rooms are therefore double the price listed here. This month, I didn’t have any accommodation costs while I was in Amsterdam, London, and a few days in Cornwall, thanks to generous friends and family!

Transportation: 

  • Flight from Amsterdam to London: $83.66
  • Flight from London to Oslo: $211.04
  • Train from Oslo to Bergen: $50.97
  • Flight from Bergen to London: $140.91
  • Petrol money on the road trip: $94.42
  • Train from Lelant to St Ives: $4.72
  • Parking in Cornwall: $18.21

Food: $621.83

Activities: 

Bergen fiord trip: $50
5 km colour obstacle rush: $47.27

Visas and Entrance Fees: 

Entrance to Bergen art museums: $12.78
Minack Theatre entrance fee: $7.08
Tintagel Castle entrance fee: $7.08

Cancelled Trip Costs: 

Flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen: $104.47
Copenhagen hostel cancellation fee: $34.95
Train from Copenhagen to Stockholm: $87.45
Stockholm hostel cancellation fee: $17.93
Train from Stockholm to Oslo: $46.77

Total Amount Spent: $2160.04

Month 48 travel map

The Next Month

I’m so unbelievably excited about my next month of travel! I’ll be finishing up my Cornwall trip in a few days and then heading back to London to cram in an extra week of catching up with friends. Then I’ll be all about getting back to my travel roots!

I’ll be travelling solo for the rest of the month while I visit a brand new region in Eastern Europe: The Baltics. I’ll be kicking everything off in Riga, then heading up to Tallinn and Helsinki for four days in each place. From there, it’ll be onwards to Lithuania via a few stopovers in Latvia and Estonia (any suggestions?), and then I’ll be finishing up in Poland! For this trip, I’m going to be staying in hostels, working solely on Never Ending Footsteps, prioritising activities over writing, and remembering what it feels like to travel how I used to in the early days. I can’t wait!

Also, also, also! I can’t believe I’m going to be celebrating four years of travel next month!

Have any tips for Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or Poland? Let me know in the comments!

Looking to follow along with my travels through my monthly summaries? You can read the previous month’s summary here, the next month’s summary here, or head on over to the monthly summary page to read from the very beginning!

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39 Comments

  1. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    It’s so good to see you healthy, happy and on the road again. Your positivity shines through in your writing! Also Lithuanians are mental (in a good way) you’re going to have SO much fun there.

    • June 24, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, thanks so much for noticing, Francesca! :-) I’m definitely in a much better place now.

  2. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats on finishing your book. That is a huge accomplishment.

    Also, I love how you round everything up each month. It makes traveling full-time feel almost possible! I can’t wait to hear about more of your adventures.

    • June 24, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you! It’s definitely possible, but I know that I wasn’t convinced it was before I started doing it :-). Feel free to drop me an email if I can help with anything at all.

  3. Jonny
    June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Congratulations Lauren – I am really looking forward to reading your book. I’ve followed your site for a couple of years now and it’s one of my favourites – and I think your articles are even better written now than previously…another possible advantage of becoming a published writer? :-) So I take my hat off to you – and enjoy your summer in the Baltics; you deserve it! Jonny

    • June 24, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Jonny! I’m excited to finally get back to writing on here again after so long away. I think my writing has improved, too — bashing out something like 100,000 words in the space of a few months definitely helped! :-)

  4. Aisling
    June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Congratulations on the 4 years of travel and a belated Happy Birthday!

    Myself and my friend went to Riga for the Christmas markets last year! Its a lovely little city! We stayed in a hostel that was owned by the nicest people I have ever met. I was sad to leave! Make sure you go to Šefpavārs Vilhelms (its a pancake place). I got a pancake and a cup of tea for only 40cent!!!!!

    Cant wait to read this book!!!

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Aisling! I’ll hit up the pancake place now :-)

  5. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Oh my goodness, Cornwall is gorgeous!

  6. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Your pictures look wonderful! That stinks about the mild concussion and other bad things that happened though. An early congrats on 4 years of travel.

    • June 25, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Michelle! I’m pretty used to having terrible luck by now — it’s all part of the travel experience for me! :-)

  7. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    That cake is amazing! A lovely present to celebrate a birthday and getting a book published.

    The colour run looks fun- I am taking part in one next week and am very excited!

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      How was your colour run? Where did you do it? And yep, the cake was so perfect for celebrating having everything finally finished :-)

  8. June 24, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats on finishing your book. Your blog is always such an entertaining read. I can’t wait to read your book.

    • June 25, 2015
      Reply

      I really appreciate that, Alouise! :-)

  9. June 25, 2015
    Reply

    Bummed to hear that you didn’t love Norway as much as you expected to. But I totally get it – we were there at an AWFUL time, weather-wise (and yes, I have heard that about Bergen). Even though the photos in that post of mine look nice, the reality was that it rained a lot for me, too! You’ll need to go back and go to smaller cities like Trondheim and Alesund, and get to Geiranger! I think then you’d probably like it a lot more. :)

    Also, YAY Poland! One of my favorite places in Europe!

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      I couldn’t believe it when it started hailing in June! Definitely bad timing for weather, but at least you got some beautiful photos out of it! :-)

  10. June 25, 2015
    Reply

    I just found your site, love it!

    That’s awesome you finished your book. I’m currently writing my first one too and the process is so daunting. But that cake is AMAZING.

    P.S. beautiful pictures!!

    • June 25, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! Good luck with your book — I think I’m traumatised for life after finishing this one! :-)

  11. SukHui Lee
    June 25, 2015
    Reply

    I guess I was really lucky that when I was in Bergen (or, Norway) it was sunny and dry all the time! Norway is indeed beautiful, give it another chance! ;) And!!! Cornwall photos are astounding!

    • June 25, 2015
      Reply

      You were lucky! I don’t think we got a single dry day while we were there, which was surprising for June!

  12. June 25, 2015
    Reply

    also, here you can find some of my recommendations: https://www.likealocalguide.com/warsaw Don’t miss Neon Museum, it’s the best! I will also let guys from PolaWalk know you’ll be around, it’s so cool to do a tour with them :)

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Kami! Thank you so much for the recommendations — the Neon Museum looks amaaaazing! :-)

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Also, would be great to meet you when I’m there! I’ll be arriving around the 15th July.

      • June 30, 2015
        Reply

        ah, that can be tricky as I’m going for a day to the seaside on 16th and then on 17th for the weekend to Wrocław. But let me know when you know more details and we will try to figure something out, if not meeting then I will give you all the tips!

        • June 30, 2015
          Reply

          Ah, well, fingers crossed! I’ll drop you a message when it’s nearer to the time, or if my dates happen to change :-)

  13. June 25, 2015
    Reply

    CONGRATULATIONS on the book! That is such a huge accomplishment. Can’t wait to see the finished result!

    And also, I am a total weirdo from California, but I loooooove rain. I would have loved your trip to Norway! Haha. Let’s trade next time and you can spend a week in SF?

    Also, GAH. Those injuries/incidents sound horrible. Be careful! :)

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you, Maddy! :-) Hahaha, I don’t really mind rain — I just hate that it always ruins my photos by making everything look grey and washed out.

  14. June 25, 2015
    Reply

    I live in Estonia and could show you around. Just write me an e-mail in case you’re interested :)

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you for the kind offer, Janika! I’ll drop you an email now :-)

  15. June 26, 2015
    Reply

    It was a pity you had so little time in my lovely country, Norway. Welcome back another time!
    On the other hand, I spent very little when I was speed-touring Poland and the Baltic countries two years ago. Read up on it beginning with this article: http://www.sandalsand.net/poland-and-the-baltic-countries-2013/

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Hopefully, next time I’ll be able to spend much longer in Norway! :-) So far, the Baltics is incredibly cheap for me — I’m loving it!

  16. June 26, 2015
    Reply

    quite remarkable what you have done for 4 years lauren..!…
    I really like the photos you post on this article ,, a very pleasant experience for you of course…
    congratulations lauren..!!

    if you ever come to indonesia..try existing tourist attractions in our country,,like Bali or http://tempatwisatadibandung.info/

    thanks for sharing lauren..!

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you so much, Dian! :-) I certainly never expected I’d still be travelling when I first set off. I visited Bali back in 2012, but I’m itching to return (and to see other parts of Indonesia, too!)

  17. June 27, 2015
    Reply

    Oh wow, this is weird… I was in Chiang Mai around the same time as you last year, then I realized you must have been in Myanmar one week before me… and now I’m finding out you were in Norway (and followed pretty much the same itinerary as me) last month… And guess where I’m going in a few days? Yup: Riga-Tallinn-Helsinki!!! How funny!

    I was lucky to be in Bergen on the one yearly sunny day btw and it was really pretty…but then I got caught in heavy rain in Oslo the next day!

    • June 30, 2015
      Reply

      No way? That’s so funny! Maybe I’ll see you somewhere in the Baltics? Feel free to drop me an email with your dates!

  18. Aga
    July 5, 2015
    Reply

    Regarding Poland trip: there are few places which are a must. Starting from top Gdansk my second favourite place in my country; while you there you should try to go to Hel – where see come from 3 places; than you should travel to Kraków – most beautiful city in Poland with Wawel Castle, church and beautiful old town. While you there you should definitely got to Oswiecim – where is one of the biggest nazi concentration camp – Auschwitz- Birkenau and also you should go to Wieliczka Salt Mine.
    If you have time I would also go to Zakopane – biggest mountains in Poland – you should see Krupowki which is centre of Zakopane, take Gubalowka cable and ground railway on the top; go to Koscieliska’ valley:-)
    Poland is beautiful.

    • November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Amazing tips! Thank you so much for sharing them with me, Aga. Now I have tons of places to visit when I return :-)

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