It’s often said that people who travel long term are running away from something. I say, that they’re either running away from something, or they are looking for something.

There is always a reason behind why you leave on a long journey. Always. Often though the true reason, only gets revealed during the journey itself. There is a great quote that comes in my mind about this:

Chapter 3: The Return 13-09-2015

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
– 
Martin Buber

Whenever you go to somewhere new, you can’t help but gain new insights, new prospectives on the world, and your place in it. When travelling, you are exposing yourself to different cultures, new people, strange places and fresh experiences.

We gain a different kind of perspective when we remove ourselves from the familiar and into the unfamiliar. By the end of my most recent journey, I realised that that was the main reason why I left. I needed new insights.

After more than 2 months of travelling, seeing the beautiful landscapes of Scandinavia, meeting so many wonderful people, I gained what I needed. A clearer outlook. New insights of a remodeling of the business I am creating.

I reconstructed Inner Picture Stories

Which I am proudly to reveal here.

From now on Inner Picture Stories has been divided into two sections. Let me explain!

On www.InnerPictureStories.com  you can find all your Travel & Wisdom related articles, tips, tricks, resources and so much more! Definitely check it out it, it has been through a huge redesign, has been taken apart and reconstructed and it looks fantastic!
And, we have this website! Which is the personal website of my photography career. Here you can find my personal blog posts, my portfolio, the shop and the photography service I offer.

If you are finding inspiration difficult, surround yourself somewhere different, somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be for 2 months like I did, it could be for just a couple of days. When you need new insights, it’s all about influencing your thoughts with new visuals, and your emotions with new feelings and experiences. If you feel you are going round in a circle, stuck in a rut, leave everything behind for a while. Travel.

So without any further delay, let me share with you the photo’s I took over the last month in Sweden and Norway and of course I’ll share with you some fun and interesting facts I learned while traveling through these countries. Let’s start off with Sweden!

Sweden – The Journy Through The Northern Lands
Sweden – The Journy Through The Northern Lands
Sweden – The Journy Through The Northern Lands
Sweden – The Journy Through The Northern Lands

Fun & Interesting facts

– Sweden pays high school students $187 per month to attend school. I should have gone to school over there…

Modern high school entrance

– The world-famous discount furniture chain IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943.

– Do you know Snus? It’s a smokeless tobacco product in Sweden, very very common to use in Sweden. It doesn’t exactly taste very good, yeah I tried it…

– The astronomical lens is a Swedish invention.

– The sun rises at 3:30am in the summer and the sun sets at 3:30pm in the winter.

– Pippi Longstocking is from Sweden! Did you know that? I thought she was from Belgium! I’m kidding there, but I had no idea she was form Sweden.

 

Norway

Norway – The Journey Through The Northern Lands
Norway – The Journey Through The Northern Lands
Norway – The Journey Through The Northern Lands
Norway – The Journey Through The Northern Lands

Fun & Interesting facts

– Ever heard of Cloudberries? They can only be found in the sub-Arctic landscapes of Norway, Sweden, Canada, Washington State and wow they are delicious! I found a whole bunch of then climbing alongside a mountain in Norway. Was definitely a great snack at that moment.

– Norway has won the largest number of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals of all countries in the Winter Olympics.

– All prisoners in Norway have internet in their cells. Not a bad luxury.

– Norway was originally called “Nordweg,” meaning the “Northern Way.”

– Norway owns an uninhabited frozen island located halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

– Apparently in 2008 Norway knighted a penguin. I didn’t believe it at first, but, it is true.


Alright, I am gonna end it here with the penguin, it can’t get any more amazing than a knighted penguin can it?

If you are planning to travel through Scandinavia I hope you are aware, it is pretty expansive, especially Norway. One beer there costs around 10 euro, felt like I was drinking solid gold beer or champagne! One time while I was eating a pizza in Norway with a friend, he told me he had a pizza further north in Norway which cost him 40 euro… and I thought the one we were eating was expensive.

Anyway, besides that, Scandinavia is an amazing piece of the world you should definitely see. You are still able to live fairly cheap, as I did by sleeping in my car, tent loads of times and through couchsurfing.
If you are planning to head over there, I would definitely recommend you to go to Norway. From the three countries this one stood out for me the most. Big mountains surround you everywhere, Fjords that will leave you speechless and beautiful landscapes everywhere you go.

I definitely see myself returning there, maybe even sometime in the near future…!

Chapter 2: The Crossing 19-08-2015

 

Over a month has passed and I have just crossed the border into Sweden. It’s time for the next chapter to begin! From pretty drunken nights, to battling with thousands of mosquitos in the wilderness, it has been a pretty great and fun trip in Finland. Let me share with you 3 wonderful things:

First of all I want to share with you some of the stunning pictures I was able to take of this beautiful country.

The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
Raw sharpenner/skyfilter/detial extractor/tonal contrast/sunlight/blurry/darker
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia
The Journey Through The Northern Lands – Scandinavia

Secondly let me share with you a piece of awesome advice for traveling.

Couchsurfing

There you have it, Couchsurfing. Ever heard about it? Yes. Ever tried it? No? Why the heck not?!
Couchsurfing is just such a great tool when you travel for 3 major reasons: 

  1. You are able to find a free sleeping place.
  2. You can meet other travelers through the website.
  3. There are events that you can join!

Check it out if you haven’t done yet – Couchsurfing –
When you travel, Couchsurfing is just the perfect website as it has everything enabling you to get in touch with locals and other travelers.
Try it out! You’ll see how engaging and how much fun it is. Couchsurfing can definitely add to the whole experience of your journey in so many ways.
It certainly has for me so far!

And last but not least, I want to share with you some fun and interesting facts about Finland which I’ve learned over the past month!

 

Fun & Interesting facts

– Ever heard of The Moomins? Well, these guys were created in Finland!

– Lakritsi, is a candy originally made in Finland. Many people don’t seem to like it, however the liquor they made from it is pretty good!

– The company Nokia is from Finland.

– Did you know that there are more sauna’s than cars in Finland? It’s true!

– Finland is the global leader in heavy metal bands. Explains why I heard so much rock/metal on the radio…

– Finnish people drink more coffee than anyone else in the world.

– Finland has the best education system in the world.

– The amount you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn.

 

With this I close off my chapter on Finland and begin the next one on Sweden and Norway.
Ohhh and one final thing, if you decide to travel through Finland in summer time, be aware. There are some crazy mosquitos out there, seriously, some very crazy mosquitos. Be prepared!

Chapter 1: The Beginning 24-07-2015

 

Today I am finally in Helsinki. Ready to begin my journey through Scandinavia.
The route I took to get here was quite a different one from the one I had planned.
However, what happened, reminded me again of an important fact: In life things go wrong, and when you travel, a lot of things go wrong.
However that is exactly the beauty of traveling. You are forced to use your instincts once again; you learn how to problem solve; you learn that things will go wrong and to accept that and act on them.

I had planned to go to Finland by driving through Russia as I wanted to see a bit of Russia itself.
When I approached the Russian border, I passed through the first security checkpoint without any problem – all looked good. The next checkpoint – no problem either. They checked my whole car, asked me some questions, filled in my data in their system and off I was, ready to go to the next one.
But then, when I approached the third and last checkpoint, the security guy asked for my passport.
I gave him the same one I had given at the other ones. However, he told me it was not the right one – yes, I know, you can laugh, I did not know that I needed my international passport to get through. It was pretty ridicules that I didn’t take it with me. I know.
However the lesson it taught me in this early stage of my journey was one which I appreciated so much.
It reminded me again that things will go wrong, and that it is an art to stay focussed in these moments and come up with another plan no matter what.
I might have made a fool of myself, but a fool who at the moment they said I couldn’t go through started to act.
Right from the moment when he told me, my brain was already creating a new plan. What are my possibilities? Which other ways are there to get to Helsinki? I felt disappointed for sure, we all feel disappointed when life hits us in the face and tells us we can’t do something we want to do.
However life is filled with thousands of these moments.
The skill is to forget what could have been and figure out a new plan, a new approach to make it work.
The faster you’re able to do that, the faster you’re able to move on and continue.

Instead of driving through Russia, I drove up to Estonia and booked a ferry in Tallinn.

We need these turning points in our life. We need these points in our travels, as they create the final outcome, they create the journey. These moments show us who we are, and when you come to think and look back at these past moments you smile as you’re reminded of the stories they’ve made.

The Announcement

 

On the 16 of July 2015 I will set out on a brand new adventure!
I plan to travel for 2-3 months through the northern lands – Scandinavia!

The idea of this blog post is that each month I will bring out updates, with formative travel information about Scandinavia, cool stories, adventures and of course beautiful pictures.
But wait! There is more! The map you can see on top is an informative, interactive map, which means it will be constantly updated – with cool emoticons! So you will be able to see where I’ve been, where I am now and where I’m going next, so you can tag along.

This way I want to present to you in a fun way the idea of traveling and the possibilities that come with it, all without necessarily spending much money. All you really need, are some guts.

Some additional info.

What my journey will look like:

In short, I will start off in Belgium (since I live here) From there I’ll drive to Finland, Sweden and Norway. It creates one big loop, which ends by leading me back to my home country Belgium. I’ll be using some of the features and ideas that I explain in my article “How to travel cheaper”, so if you haven’t read that yet,check it out for more information!

Traveling with:

-My car

Features I will be using:

-Hostels
-Blablacar
-Couchsurfing

What I am taking with me:

-My backpack
-Camera gear
-Tablet
-Cooking gear
-Tent – sleep bag- sleeping mat
-Regular clothes
-Good clothes for different weather conditions

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