Moving from the mountains and space in Norway to the metropolis of London, Marthe Holkestad reflects on never really knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone
Being a small town girl, I used to think that to experience the world I would have to travel far and wide. I thought it was all about the sunny beach paradises or the vibrant cities. I never really understood why hoards of people chose to travel to the coast of Norway to see the deep blue fjords and the mountains that rise above them. I didn’t appreciate what I on my doorstep, until I moved away.
When I was a child I had to go along with what my family did, from sailing to hiking. As I grew up, I hated it. Now that I’m slightly older and wiser, I miss it.
On grey, stressful days I feel as if I can’t breathe in London. There’s something about being above the city and not constantly surrounded by it. Despite parks and empty streets, (or as empty as they get in London), there’s a low din of constant sounds from sirens, cars, aeroplanes and people everywhere. You’re never really alone.
I miss being able to walk and clear my head, and to just feel alive. I miss going running and hearing nothing but the occasional bird tweeting, or just other people doing the same thing as me; escaping the stress of everything I should actually be doing.
Not to sound like a depressed, anti-social human being, but there is a luxury in being alone, surrounded by nothing but silence and fresh air. However, that feeling is not all I’m longing for. Spending hours in the mountains with friends or family is something I value highly. Everywhere else we are surrounded by TVs, computers and that thing we call a smartphone, which is otherwise known as the time thief. It’s wholly satisfying to get away from all of that and just be; to be alive, to be active and to be happy.
Standing 1,343 metres above sea level, looking down at the rest of the world, listening to nothing but my own breathing, I have a sense of peace that I can’t find anywhere else.
It doesn’t really matter where in the world you are – go hiking. Most countries have mountains, so climb them. Try to experience something other than the beach or the shopping malls the next time you’re travelling – you won’t not regret it.
All photography by Marthe Holkestad