Category Archives: Small-talk

My blog became a book!

LavFODMAP front 72dpiI have been neglecting this blog for some weeks now. There are several reasons for that: I haven’t been traveling, but mostly because I have been consentrating around my other projects. Some are still secrets, but one is not secret anymore.

Some of you know that I was very ill when I left China last December. As a result I started the low-FODMAP diet with great results. Although I sometimes have been moaning about my stupid digestion-system, I am much better now. I am pretty sure the reason why I am better is that I follow this diet, recommended by most gastroenterologs in both Norway and abroad.

The low-FODMAP diet can be difficult in the beginning so I started a blog in Norwegian, with my own recipes and a diary to tell about my experiences. The short story is that I got a contract with one of the biggest and oldest publishers in Norway and the blog has now become a cookbook (with new recipes)!

Making food, going to my photographer and writing has been my mainfocus the last monhts, that’s why this blog has been neglected. However the book has now been sent to print and I can relax for some weeks before the release.

Since December is a quite month I have now booked two trips: To Prague with my best friend, leaving on Monday and to London with Mr. No-Backpacker the week between Christmas and New-Year. (Mr. No-Backpacker has been in China for five weeks now and has one more week left, so I am really, really looking forward to get him home AND to go to London with him.)

I have been to Prague and London before (we lived in Liverpool for a year 10 years ago), but not after I started the low-FODMAP diet. However I have heard that at least London (UK) is great for people with allergies. Fingers crossed I will manage Prague too!

Been there, done that!

IMG_8001

This is my last day in Athens before going back home tomorrow and… I’m not lying when I’m saying I’m looking forward to getting home. This trip has been challenging with migraine, stomache-problems from H%$#%#” etc… etc…(Although eating “safe” low FODMAP something went wrong with my stomache/digestion this time.)

I have always said that I will continue traveling as long as I can, and I stand by that. However I have, finally, come to the conclusion that I will not travel on my own anymore (unless it’s within Norway/Scandinavia and I really have to). Not because I’m scared traveling alone, but because I have just too many illnesses. Being abraod, having to discuss with yourself wether to call a doctor or not, when bending over in pain, is not fun and I have to admit that it makes me anxious.

Another conclusion is that I have seen the world, I have been to Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Chicago, Las-Vegas, Hawaii, all over Europe… etc… when I had the energy to explore. I don’t have that energy anymore and for me, the best holiday I can get right now is to travel to a warm place (helps my pain), plan to do nothing but relaxing and don’t stress with sight-seeing. I really want to see so much and at home I plan…. Unfortunately it usually ends in me being sad because I didn’t explore and it feels like I’ve let myself down. It doesn’t actually get better when everybody tells me what I should see and do… (People tend to forget that I have more than one chronic illness because I look quite healthy when I see them.)

Well… It feels like a relief to have taken the stand about how to travel in the future. It’s not a defeat as I thought it should be. Maybe because it’s more about reality than that I’m scared of traveling alone. I don’t know, I just know that I’m finished with being stuck at a hotel-room, in pain and alone!

How to use the discount certificate from KLM

2014-08-22 12.33.17As many of you know, I’m a KLM-girl all the way. At least I have been the last 5-6 years. When flying a lot it’s impossible to never be delayed or even get stuck somewhere in the world. It happens with other airlines and it happens with KLM. The good thing with KLM is that they always try to help, as good as they can. You usually get a discount certificate and/or a discount certificate to use at the tax-free on board. If you need a hotel they will always book it, althought the hotel can be in the middle of nowhere, they will get you there, they will feed you and pick you up to bring you to the airport the next morning.

I can’t remember when I got this certificate, but when I did som serious cleaning in my papers some days ago, I found lots of travel discount certificates from KLM. Most of them had been expired, but not this. I decided to try to use it when booking my flight to Athens, for October.

When calling I remembered why I hadn’t bothered with using the certificates: I had to call, listen to stupid voices asking me to press lots of numbers on my phone, and then, at last, get to speak to a real person.

When I finally got through (I had to call twice because I pressed the wrong number in the last session the first time….) I used 10-15 min. to find the right flight, get an e-mail to confirm the flight, telling my name and address, my card number, the number on the certificate and get the instructions on what to do with the certificate.

I had to send the certificate within 24 hours and with registered mail “and that’s why we will not charge you with any booking fees now,” I was told. The fee for sending the letter to The Netherlands with registered mail was 20 Eur. The calculation tells me I was left with 30 Eur. Well… it’s better than nothing, but I will make a note to have time for all this the next time I’ll use one of the certificates I still have!

 

No crocheting or knitting at a KLM flight!

2014-08-27 17.55.05The last month I have started to do some crocheting again. When I was younger I loved to do knit, croche, sew, everything creative. When I got my illness I found I couldn’t do anything with my arms/hands without getting pain. I tried doing some easy crocheting some weeks ago, and it looks like I can handle it, as long as I take it easy.

I also found it was a perfect timekiller when flying. Because my friend did crocheting on the plane from Amsterdam to Cyprus and the flight-attendant even told her how beautyfull her work was, I didn’t think it was illegal. You are also allowed to take the crocheting-needle and knitting-pins (?) through security…  I was wrong…

On my flight from Amsterdam to Helsinki I was told to put away my crocheting (it’s actually kettle-holders) during the whole flight but they didn’t tell me why. I asked over twitter today and got the answer that it’s illegal to use sharp objects on KLM-flights! I will of course follow their rules, but still think it’s strange…. You are allowed to bring it through security, but not allowed to use it in the air?

I have a friend who is a flight-attendant at SAS, and he said they allow both knitting and crocheting at their flights. Different airline – different (strange) rules!

Helsinki airport to Tampere, with train

Getting from Helsinki airport to Tampere is easy, but it takes some time. Because the price vary a lot (between 25-50 EUR), depending on the time you are traveling, I would suggest to book the train in advance.

The easiest way to get from Helsinki airport to the main railway-station is to take the airport-bus. It goes every 20 minutes, cost 6,60 EUR and takes 30 min. There is free wifi on board. For those of you who dislike to take a bus because there’s no toilet there, there’s a toilet at this bus! However I didn’t try or see it, but at least there is one.

We had booked a comuter-train and didn’t know we had to sit in the front, but luckily we paied attention to the speaker and changed train at the next station. Be aware of this!

The train has a toilet in the back, but I am not sure if it worked or not.

 

 

Road-trip in Norway, Bergen – Oslo – Bergen

As much as I love flying I also like the freedom of taking the car and drive. We have been on several road-trips from Norway, through Europe and to Italy, France and Spain. Usually Mr. No-Backpacker is the chauffeur while I drive the odd hours when he is tired. 

This road-trip, beginning Thursday, from Bergen to Oslo and back home to Bergen will be different in many ways. Mr. No-Backpacker is not going with us so it will be me and our son who will divide the driving in between us. This is also the first road-trip after young Mr. No-Backpacker got his driving-licence. Quite exciting to have a son who can drive eh? Although the most exciting is that he will not go back to Bergen with me as this is also his moving out to study in Tromsø, the very north of Norway.

To return back home alone, driving 8 hours from Oslo to Bergen, is going very far out of my comfort zone, a big step. I like to drive, but I have never driven more than two hours by my own. However this is something I have been thinking of for a long time, that I want to challenge myself to do it and now is the time.

I know a lot of women who take the car beween Oslo and Bergen without doubts and I have always envied them. Not because they actually do it, but because the know they can do it, they know they are not dependent on others, and I think that is the feeling I want to get too. I travel all over the world on my own so why not driving alone too?

 

Do you dare to bring your own car to France?

IMG_8286Some years ago friends of us were living in France. When they were visiting us in Norway they told us they had sold their car because they were fed up with being anxious of being hit by either other cars or even trolleys at shopping-centers. They said that people just don’t care about their own car, or others. They simply drive until they hit the car in front/back of them. I couldn’t believe it, but I do now…

An hour before the above picture was taken I saw the “French trick” in action: A car reversed until the car in the back rolled and moved around 20 cm!

Our initial plan was to drive our car to Toulouse, but I think I am now happy we didn’t! (However we have had road-trips to Italy, France and Spain, and never been “hit”, so we might have been lucky?)

I have seen parked car like the above in Spain too, so I take it the “French trick” also apply to the Spanish drivers, and maybe Italians too?

Soon to be expat in Hangzhou – China!

IMG_2315From a marked in Beijing

I’m writing “soon to be”, but we are not moving before May/June 2015. However, time flies and in my mind I have started to make a plan. Mostly because we are going to Hangzhou in November and I want to prepare if there is anything I can do/check/bring/whatever regarding the move 6 months later.

“Moving” is not true either. We will be in Hangzhou for Mr. No-Backpackers sabbatical (in Norway the university professors have 1 “free-year” every 7th. year) and the stay will last around 14-15 months. I don’t know where we will live, but it looks like we will have an apartement close to, or at, the campus at Hangzhou Normal University.

Although we have both been to China before, it’s going to be very exciting to stay for such a long time and I must admit that I am also concerned about it. Mostly because of my health-problems. Will my stomach go bananas? Will it be possible to find low FODMAP-food and will I be able to comunicate my needs? What about all my medicines and what if I need a doctor and prescriptions? And at last, since I will not be working: Will it be difficult to get a network, something on my own, not only Mr. No-Backpackers?

Luckily it looks like the weather is better in Hangzou, than at home, in the wintertime. The cold months here in Norway is not good for my joints, tendons and body in genereal, so that is a good thing. If I get a multi-entry VISA I will go home every now and then and that will solve the problems with medicines and prescriptions. We also have Chinese friends in Hangzhou, people who have lived in Norway and speak fluently Chinese and English, so I bet we will be taken care of if anything happens with me.

All in all, I think my main-concern is that I will be lonely and without a network on my own. I have been searchin the internet and it looks like there are several Norwegian companies operating in, or around, Hangzhou/Shanghai. Because of that I assume there will be a small’ish community with Norwegians relatively close to me. I’m on the mission to investigate this topic further.

No, I don’t have a plan on using my time in China only with other expats, but I know, from when we lived in Liverpool, that it can be great to get help and ideas from other expats.

Have you, or are you, an expat? Please tell me about it in the comments!

My questions and nominatitions for the Liebster Award

liebster

The blog-post about the Liebster Award came out to be very long, so I decided to divide it into two. Here is the rest, with my nominations and my questions.

I would like to nominate the follwing bloggers:

Anette from The Travellingmunk

Gordon And Paula from Contented Traveller

Marie from Seriously Travel

Stig from Stigs World

Bente from Travel With All Senses

Karen from Bewithced by Italy

And here are the questions:

1. What do you do, besides writing your travel blog?

2. What is your favorite place/country and why?

3. Are there places you would never go back to, why?

4. Are you an adventurous eater, what is the strangest things you have eaten?

At a Chinese wedding, not sure WHAT it was, but it tasted good!

At a Chinese wedding, not sure WHAT it was, but it tasted good!

5. Do you collect anything when you are traveling?

6. What is the most luxurious hotel you have ever stayed at?

7. Tell me about a journey that you remember better than others!

8. If I was going to your city, what would you recommend me to see, do, where to stay etc?

9. Do you miss anything when you are traveling, what?

10. What is your next destination(s)?

Happy writing my fellow travel-bloggers!

 

 

 

 

No-Backpacker has been awarded to the Liebster award!

http://i2.wp.com/wordingwell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/liebster2.png

No-Backpacker was, reasently, nominated to the Liebster Award. I was nominated by the lovely Antonette from the blog We12travel. Thank you Antonette, it’s an honour to be nominated by you!

I have tried to figure what this Liebster Award is about as it looks like there are several versions. The essense is that the award is similar to the good, old chain-letters and the point is to get to know relatively new and small bloggers. You will be nominated by another blogger and you pass the nomination further to one, or as many as you feel for. When you accept the nomination, you have to thank the blogger who nominated you, answer a set of questions (10 or 11), make new questions and pass the questions to the one, or those, you give the nomination to.

liebster

Here are my questions and answeres:

1. What is your earliest travel memory?

I am not sure if it counts, as the ”journey” was only an hour away, but it is still my earliest travel memory: Every winterholiday I spent at my grandparents cottage in the mountains with my mother, father and two brothers. The weather was not alwyas the best (remember I’m from Bergen, the most rainy place on the earth), but we managed to have fun and “kose oss” (read the description of “kose oss” in my friend Satus blog,  To Destination Unknown.) Although it was raining and snowing, we went out skiing, both country-road skiing and slalom. At that time we didn’t have piped water, but we survived perfectly well and I have very fond memories from those winterholidays.

2. Who would you never travel with again?

To be honest, there are nobody I wouldn’t travel with, as long as I get my own room. I am quite social, but really need som personal space too, that’s why I only share room with my husband.

3. What’s the most luxurious place you have ever stayed at?

The reason why I have used so long time to answer my question is because of this. One should believe a person who love luxury would know the answere straight away, but I didn’t. However I think one of the most luxurious hotels I have stayed at must have been The Capital Hotel in London.

Molton Brown toiletries from another great hotel!The hotel is small (member og Small Luxury Hotels of the world) and has the old charm. Everything felt luxurious: The toiletries offered was Molton Brown AND Korres. I got macarons from Ladure and fruit as a welcome-gift and the atmosphere was personal and caring. I remember when I left in the morning and the door-man asked me: ” When will I see you again?” First I thought it was quite strange to ask, but when I answered he said: “It’s  good to know so I can look after you!”

PS. I got an upgrade to a big suite…. Still I think I would have voted this to be one of my most luxurious stays because of the personal service given.

4. And what is the least luxurious place you have ever stayed at?

That was easy! Our old car, when we were young and went on our first vacation on our own. The plan was to go to Sweden (from Norway) driving my father in laws old car and sleep in a tent. So called camping… (Oh yes, I can hear people laughing now, me in a tent?)

Sounded nice when we planned and the sun was shining and actually, the sun was shining when we drove from Norway to Sweden. I remember we didn’t have aircondition in the car. The heat was close to unbearable and I sat with my feet waving out of the window to try to cool myself down! (I said we were young, didn’t ?) )

The sun was shining until the tent was put up. Then it started raining. Not a little bit, but it was pooring down, thundering and lighting. The first hour it was really romantic to sit in the cozy tent, listening to the rain and warming eachother. The hour after the first hour and the rest of the night was not at all cozy as the tent started to leak…

We were not only young, we were also quite poor. After the wet night in the tent, we very quickly decided we didn’t want to pay the fee for having the tent at the camp. We parked the car outside, slept in the car and woke up early in the morning to shower at the camp. I forgot to tell that the car was not in the very best condition: Only one door could be open!) You get the picture don’t you?

Every morning, after the shower, I was relieved we had not been caught, how embarrasing would that had been!  I can’t remember how many nights we did this car-camping, but I think it was 4-5. I can assure you, it was NOT luxurious!

5. What would you like others to memorize about your blog?

IMG_6784

That we are all different and have different perspective on the idea of traveling. For many people, my way of traveling would be unbearable boring. I wished I could see and experience more, but because my body not always agree with me, I either have to accept that I can’t see everything or just quit traveling. I have decided to do the first: Travel and conquere the worl in my own way. It’s not the numbers of experiences and tourist-sights that counts, but if you have enjoyed what you did!

 

 

6. How did you start blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing and I have had more than one travel-blog. My first serious one was written when I went to Seoul 38 years after I was adopted from Korea to Norway. That blog was mainly for family and friends because they wanted to follow me on the trip. The purpose of the trip was visiting the orphanage I lived in before I arrived to Norway. Quite exciting! (I have copied it to this blog, but it’s in Norwegian. Instead of translating it, I will write a resume of the trip later.) However it was only reasently (in December) I started “No-Backpacker”. The older posts are from other blogs I have had.

7. How do you think of ideas what to write about?

Usually when I am traveling.

8. If you could travel to 3 countries for free, which ones would you pick?

Korea: I want to see more of the country, not only Seoul. I would also like to go to North-Korea and I know there are organized trips from both Seoul and from Beijing.

image

 

Japan: Although I have been there there several times, I still want to go back! I love the country, the poeple, the food (although it might be different now after I developed my food-allergies…), the culture..

 

America – to go to New York. I admit it, I am a city-girl! I love shopping, cafes, high heels and the “hustle and bustle” in a big city. I have never been to New-York, but I know, deep in my heart, that it will be one of my new favorites, if I only get there!

9. Have you ever forgotten something really important when you left home and how did you solve it?

Once, when I was a teeneager and still lived at home. My mother and me had booked a trip to Mallorca and we were longing for sun as it was already autumn, cold and rainy at home.

We, at least I, had packed and prepared for many days to be sure I didn’t forget anything. When the day of departure finally arrived I was excited and just a tiny little bit stressfull, as I was afraid I had forgotten anything (you know the usually “what have we forgotten? – of course nothing.)

At the airport, before check-in, somebody asked us if we had remembered the passports. “Sure,” I said and looked at my mother, whome suddenly began looking in her bag, more and more anxious… “We don’t have the passports,” was her reply after several minutes. This was before the mobile-phone and my brother, who had driven us to the airport, had left.

Needless to say we were both starting to sweat. And then, suddenly, from the middle of nowhere I saw our dog (he was always in the front, sometimes I am not sure who was walking who, the dog or the owners, but that’s another story)! At first I thought it was another dog, but when I saw brother in the other end of the rope it was clear, he was back! Luckily it was not only the passports we had forgotten that day, but my mother still had the car-key in her bag! My brother drove back home, the fastest he could. (And yes, he still remembers that hazardous driving.) We got our passports when the boarding started and had a wonderful holiday. None of us have never forgotten our passports again!

10. What is your favorite place in the entire world?

IMG_0419Tokyo! In Tokyo you get everyhting in a melting-pot. New, old, Japanese food and food from every corner of the world, you have the new technology and the old tradition, the busy city and the calm in the Japanese gardens, the tall hight-tech buildings side by side witht he temples etc.. etc.. And of course, for a clean-freak like me, Tokyo (and Japan) is one of the best places to go. There are places and even countries I would never dare to eat sushi, but in Japan I had no problem with buing it even on the street. I just knew, because of the Japanese culture and tradition, that it would be fresh and clean.

OK, I am finished with my answeres, now I have to make up new questions and find somebody to nominate. Do you want to be nominated, why should I nominate you? Or do you know anybody who deserve to be nominated? Please tell me either in the comments, at Facebook or Twitter (Remember that it has to be a relatively new and/or “small” blog.)