Preikestolen, Norway

Winter has descended on us in an unforgiving fashion in San Francisco, and it's a doozy. While this year's winter is particularly colder than most, the slightly below average temps have us native Californians squawking and making farfetched comparisons of a San Francisco winter to temperatures of the Arctic Circle (and el Niño rains don't help either). Evidence: dramatic Snapchat videos of San Franciscans walking outside and putting the filter overlay that boldly displays the current temperature in large white font while telling their front facing camera how cold it is. Cue the eyeroll emoji. (I hope you've updated your iOS version to get the latest set; was that a very San Franciscan thing to say?) 

But everything is relative of course.

For the Californians that are uninitiated with perpetually wintry weather, I'd say that Norway may not be your ideal destination, but i's hard to stay away from the magnificent fjords and endless nature the Scandinavian country has to offer. 

And so my Norwegian adventure through different towns and cities continues. After staying in Stavanger overnight, I ventured to Preikestolen for an easy hour and a half hike up to beautiful views of one of Norway's many breathtaking fjords. This is my favorite part of Norway. Fjord after fjord of sharp cliff drop-offs of patterned granite with water weaving through underneath. If you go to Norway for anything, go for this. 

Or at least for that "edge-of-the-cliff" Instagram shot. Consider it a bucket list trip, and brave the cold for the sake of crossing it off your list.

Get to it. I believe in ya.

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Photos edited with Priime for Mac

2015/2016

First of all

Thank you. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback and support on my blog and photography work over the last year from friends, family, and strangers who are casually stalking my Instagram, which, don’t get me wrong, I take as a huge compliment. I could apologize profusely for the blog post radio silence over the past two months, but why stumble awkwardly through internet apologies? 

Where has the year gone?

Between working at Priime-- an experience that has been incredible and a constant source of inspiration so far-- taking care of my rascal of a dog, taking more time to be offline and physically present, and studying everyone else’s work around me, my online presence has admittedly dropped off a bit. As I immerse myself in incredible literature, I’m inspired but I simultaneously convince myself that I am not a compelling writer. As I shoot alongside other photographers who have produced stunning work, I shoot and edit endlessly but never am never satisfied enough to publish a damn thing. I try not produce work for the sake of rhythmically being in your face across all social media outlets. That’s not to say that doing so is bad at all— being top of mind, especially if you are your own brand and business, is crucial and necessary.

But it’s not so much how I usually operate. I want each piece to be as well-thought out as the next, but I also have the be more brave. There’s no way I can keep pushing forward if I hoard all my work to myself. I’ll bite the bullet, not worry to much about everything being impeccable, and push things out more quickly, et cetera. Promise.

Back to business

Let’s hit the ground running. I’m sitting on some edits and write-ups of the last travels I’ve done in 2015 from the tropical likes of Maui and Los Cabos to the more frigid landscapes of Norway, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Banff. 2014 was a hard year to beat as I clocked in 10 new countries within that 365 day span, but 2015 was incredible in its own right and was spent mostly in the mountains. Nowhere else I’d rather be.

2016 will be taking me to to more national parks around the US and Canada, back to some of my roots in Hawaii and Asia, as well as a few other locations I'm still hashing out. Can't. Wait.

Sharing soon.

Homes of Old Stavanger, Norway

After staying in the town of Odda, I moved onto the next city on my Norway trip. Stavanger is a beautiful port city and is one of Norway's oldest cities. Stavanger is known for its classic wooden homes dating back from the 18th century. The section of Old Stavanger in particular has clean, white painted houses stacked row after row along sloped cobblestone streets. Bright accents and pops of color from the doors, window panes, and plants livened up the otherwise stark white wood-slatted homes. 

The consistency of white throughout the streets of Old Stavanger is laudable. Even with white house after white house, there were still interesting elements that drew me in such as different colors and textures that made each house unique in its own right.

 

An emerald door here, a color-blocked wall there, and some windows lined with flowers to top it all off.

Old Stavanger is the absolute epitome of quaint and cozy.

 
Old Stavanger Homes

Odda, Norway & Attempting Trolltunga

Trolltunga is not to be missed if you're visiting Norway. At least, that's what the internet says. I casually threw Trolltunga into my itinerary and didn't think too much into it. After all, I would be hiking it in the first week of June. That counts as summer, right?

After landing in Bergen and taking a bus to the small town of Odda, which is near Trolltunga, my worries started to set in. Odda is tucked away in a valley, and I couldn't ignore the snow-capped mountains looming all around me as I surveyed the town's surroundings the day prior to my hike. The winter snow definitely hadn't melted yet, and I had an uneasy feeling that the Trolltunga hike would be tougher to navigate in snow than I had expected. 

The hike to get to Trolltunga is over 12 miles roundtrip, and the peak at an elevation of 1,900 ft. Determined anyway, I put one foot in front of the other and started the trek. After hiking for two miles, I was knee-deep in snow and was being hit by a snowstorm with no clear markers of how to stay on the trail. So I made a tough decision- one that I hate doing- I turned back around. I had made it this far flying into Norway to do this hike which boasted incredible views, but not even halfway through, I was met with a wild snowstorm that I wasn't at all prepared for. I'll never forget trudging through the snow as the wind whipped ice against my cheeks while struggling to keep on the unmarked trail.

This isn't your fluffy and uplifting travel story about how beautiful a location is and how you need to visit it. As much as I tried to trudge through the snow, I knew I wouldn't have been able to make it another four miles to get to the top of Trolltunga in a snowstorm. 

Sometimes you have to wave a white flag and appreciate how far you've gotten. C'est la vie. 

Don't get me wrong, though. Hiking Trolltunga in the snow is doable. In fact, my friend, Paulina Dao, totally did it. The mistakes I made? Not planning ahead of time in preparation for the snow, only giving myself one day in Odda (I should've stayed longer to better plan it), and not looking into getting a guide ahead of time. (Check out Paulina's "Snowshoeing Trolltunga" blog post to see what a success story looks like.)

But every cloud has a silver lining. With the extra time I had on my hands, I explored the quaint and quiet Odda and fell in love. Something about sweet, small towns always gets me. 

And there it is. As a travel blogger, I've been debating on whether or not I should post this story at all. I have no epic iconic pictures of me precariously dangling over the edge of Trolltunga with an uplifting quote to boot. But I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't share the hardships of traveling here as well as the successes. 

Sometimes, you travel and you can't control the elements. And sometimes, well, that's just fine. 

What I Travel With: Mophie Powerstation Battery

I'm a minimalist at home and on the road. I own few possessions and stay loyal to a very small handful of brands and items that I personally love. I share these items in the What I Travel With series. 

Need a boost?

You've been hiking and exploring for hours into your day. You're snapping away at incredible landscapes and new sights, when you get the dreaded low battery warning. This is hands down my nightmare, traveling or not.

Breathe in, breathe out, and remember that, oh yeah, I've got two Mophie Powerstations in my backpack. Yes, I ended up with two because I thought I lost the first one and ordered another one immediately. The brand loyalty is definitely there. I prefer the Mophie over other brands specifically because the Mophie is reliable and sleek. You know it's solid when there are knockoffs on Amazon. (That being said, avoid buying a Mophie on Amazon.)

The Powerstation made by Mophie is an external battery in for the rescue. Mophie offers a series of external batteries of different sizes and capacities for whatever situation you may need, ranging from an extra boost or heavy duty recharging all day on multiple devices. Personally, the standard Mophie Powerstation is perfect for me. 

As someone who travels solo often, I would never want to get caught lost in a foreign place without any way to connect to others or find my way back in case of emergency. Simple as that, my Mophies have been a lifesaver for me over and over again.