“Book the flights now, and I’ll be round to sort the hotel,” was the order I received over the phone from my girlfriend. The news was met with a wry smile on my part – half pleasing and half relieving.
It was always a given that starting a travel blog wasn’t going to be easy and would, at some point, involve me stepping outside of my comfort zone. In fact, I have no problem with that at all. As the one useful thing that the worst lecturer I’m yet to come across at university so far told our class one day: “to truly learn, you have to leave your comfort zone.”
So when I was met with the immediate challenge of finding a travel partner for the first jaunt I was also faced with the possibility of travelling alone. It was to be expected. After all, not everyone has the time and money to join me at every stop along the way, and even if they were the bearers of both, we would still be susceptible to nonsynchronous schedules.
I’ve never travelled alone before, well, internationally anyway, so when the time does come it’s going to be an interesting experience. But for now, it’s been put off, thanks to that call I received.
Before I even thought up Travelling Tom I had already booked trips to Belfast at the end of January/beginning of February, and Brussels for March. But I wanted to get it going sooner than that, and with university assignments ruling out November and December, early-to-mid January was the next-best option.
Fortunately, when it came to booking the holiday, Ryanair were in the midst of a 20% off sale and had return flights to Oslo, Norway for less than £35 per person. It was the perfect ammunition for my mission to persuade someone to go with me.
The only problem is that Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Price of Travel ranked the nation’s capital 48th out of 56 for expensiveness in their 2015 European Backpacker Index. Nearby Bergen, 190 miles to the west of Oslo, was only salvaged from being rock bottom by the slightly dearer Swiss city of Zurich.
So the selling point, clearly, was the flights. The target? My girlfriend, Gab. The game plan was simple – big up Norway and how we will have a good time, then try to remind her how cheap the flights at every opportunity. All whilst remaining totally inconspicuous. The idea was initially met with intrigue, but seemed unlikely due to limited holiday hours remaining.
So instead of moving on to ask someone else, I kept pestering. The tentativeness began turning into question asking, and the questions turned into research. Oslofjord, the Opera House and Holmenkollen Ski Museum must have had an effect, because before I knew it I was on the phone, about to fulfil an order to book a flight to Norway, and a hotel.