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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going North

ADVENTURE....was a magic word for me when being 14yrs. 

But before I could hit the road on my own, I found my travels in the city library of my home town. I went down there every week and came home -- loaded to my shoulders with books. All of them were about traveling to distant corners of the world. I read about going around the globe, to South America, Asia and....CANADA.  

CANADA...that word meant more adventure to me than anything else. It meant the great outdoors, the never-ending prairie, the muskegs of the north and deep forests of British Columbia. I read every book I could find about Canada. I knew more about Canada than  about Germany. I started planning to immigrate to Canada before I was 15 yrs old.

Meanwhile, in my search for Canada-like places, I found Scandinavia. I did several trips with a tiny tent to the North of Sweden, Finland and Norway . Finding and enjoying the great outdoors – it always was the highlight of the year.

My first step from tenting to a mobile camper was a VW-Bus which I converted into a full-blown camper unit by adding a little propane stove, an L-shaped bench and a table which could be lowered into a bed-position. I also added a closet mounted under the roof. With that vehicle I thought I was in heaven.

1976: In heaven  with a green VW-Bus

1977 rolled around and I was about to finish my professional education. The idea of CANADA had never left me, so I applied at the Canadian Embassy. A couple of weeks later I got a very discouraging letter in the mail. Without enough knowledge about the English language and a current recession in Canada there was no chance for me.

The logical result for me was going to Scandinavia. I applied for many different jobs and one beautiful Monday-morning, I was still at college, the secretary popped into our classroom and wanted me to come to the phone. Someone from Norway was trying to get a hold of me. 

I still don't know how I ever made it happen, (my knowledge of Norwegian wasn't all that great..) but they had a firm job offer for me and I accepted it readily. 3 weeks later, I was on the road. I was going straight north, because that was what I far north as possible.

Read more tomorrow: Up North -- The first of 25 years 

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