Norway to Portugal Part 1: Why Norway, Packing List, and My First Hike

I have arrived and settled in Bergen, Norway as my first “digital nomad” location. I’d like to share some of my latest thoughts and experiences.

View from an old Bergen fort

View from an old Bergen fort

First, here is a timeline of where I will be these next 2 months.

Sep 6 — Oct 2: Bergen, Norway

Oct 2 — Oct 4: Munich, Germany

Oct 4 — Oct 31: Lisbon, Portugal

Why Norway?

The most common question I get is “why Norway?” I think that there are many great places in the world to visit and you don’t really need a reason to go anywhere. None the less, here are some reasons why I chose Bergen.

Reason #1 is hiking. The west coast of Norway is home to world famous fjords. Fjords are remnants of glaciers that left inlets with cliffs or steep mountains on the sides. I haven’t yet gone outside of Bergen, but I plan to see the fjords by both hiking and boat.

Reason #2 is that Bergen is off the beaten path. During my travels I have learned that my favorite places are those where there are the least amount of tourists. This place has a very small town, local vibe. Living here for an extended period of time is one of the best ways to get that experience.

Reason #3 is that people here speak very good English. Sure, that’s true in a lot of places, but if you’ve ever talked to a Scandinavian, you know what I mean.

Reason #4 is that the people here are tall. It’s nice.

Reason #5 is that I might have Scandinavian accentors? My name, Olin, comes from my great grandfathers brother, Olin, who died at 19 due to appendicitis. Before that, I don’t know where the name came from. In Old Norse, the name means “ancestor’s heir” (a humble meaning, I have to say). Old Norse was mainly spoken by those living in Scandinavia in the 9th through 13th centuries. However, the language was also spoken in Great Britain which is where the Olmstead side of my family traces our heritage back to.

Packing List

I want to take a step back and look at what I brought with me on this trip. I find it interesting to see what people bring on long backpacking trips. I like looking at packing lists online to find useful items and tips on how to condense baggage as much as possible.

So, whether you find it interesting or not, below are my itemized belongings. I added notes where I thought I should expand on certain items. This is also a reference for my future self 😃.

Clothing Bag



  1. 8 Pairs socks

  2. 8 Pairs underwear — Yes, I may be wearing a pair of underwear/socks more than 1 day 😮

  3. Seahawk quarter zip — Go Hawks

  4. Short sleeve collard shirt

  5. Long sleeve collard shirt — In case I need something fancy

  6. Fleece — A core item to layer with for cold weather

  7. Shell/Rain coat/Wind breaker

  8. 3 T-shirts

  9. 3 Long sleeve shirts

  10. Workout shirt

  11. 2 Tank tops

  12. Pants — I use one pair of pants that are great for hiking, going out, doing anything basically. They are quick drying, water resistant, stretchy, durable, and “stylish” (aka don’t look like traditional hiking pants but use the same materials)

  13. Shorts

  14. Basketball shorts

  15. Swim trunks

  16. Running shoes — Hoka Mach for those wondering

  17. Hiking boots — Merrell’s that have held up since I was in high school

  18. Sneakers

  19. Tortuga “City Backpacking” Backpack — I highly recommend this style of backpackif you are not needing any features of a traditional hiking backpack. For example, this opens like a suitcase instead of top down only. Great if you are just staying in cities and not doing any camping while abroad.

Day Pack

Everything else

Everything else

  1. Duct Tape — a small amount wrapped around a business card

  2. Twine

  3. Pen, pencil, extra lead, eraser

  4. Chapstick

  5. Tide-To-Go pen

  6. Flash drive

  7. HDMI to lightning cable

  8. Mints

  9. Business cards

  10. Luggage lock — for traveling through airports or locking lockers in hostels

  11. Bluetooth headphones

  12. Micro USB cable x2

  13. USB-C cable x2

  14. iPhone/iPad cable

  15. Mouse and mouse pad

  16. Portable chargers — one big and one pocket sized

  17. iPhone — for testing games

  18. Deck of cards

  19. Sun glasses

  20. Sticky notes

  21. Power converter and mini power strip

  22. Deodorant

  23. Go pro and accessories

  24. Go pro tripod

  25. Portable speaker

  26. Kindle

  27. Workout bands — still gotta workout!

  28. Lacrosse ball — for rolling muscles

  29. Knee sleeves

  30. Beanie

  31. Toiletries — toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, nail cutter

  32. String bag

  33. Chromecast

  34. First Aid Kit

  35. Headphones

  36. Extra Ziploc baggies — they always come in handy

  37. Water bottle

  38. Copy of passport — helps get you a new one if yours gets lost/stolen while abroad

  39. Inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, ear plugs

  40. Laptop charger

  41. Laptop

  42. Notebook — with dot paper

  43. iPad — for testing games

  44. Backpack — Patagonia brand

Not pictured:

  1. Supplements like vitamin C & zinc for preventing illness (ie. immune support), creatine for fitness, caffeine pills (cheaper than coffee and helps fight jet lag), generic version of Benadryl (used mostly as a sleeping aid to fight jet lag).

  2. Phone, wallet, keys, passport

  3. Myself

I’d like to elaborate on how I successfully fight jet lag because I hear other people who struggle a lot with it. When I arrive in a new time zone, at all costs I will sleep during the normal sleeping time of the new time zone. If I have to stay up when it’s normally my bed time, then I stay up and use caffeine if need be. If I have to force myself to sleep when it would normally be the middle of the day, then I take some sleeping aids and try to make myself tired by limiting sleep during travel.

Ok, if talking about jet lag was a little boring I’ll end with a beautiful hike I did in Bergen.


Walking distance from my Airbnb is the Bergen mountain hiking area. It’s a HUGE area that will take me multiple day trips to fully explore.


The trail I used had a steep climb. Not the casual hike I was expecting. However, climbing up rocks next to waterfalls was pretty nice.


Once I got to the first ridge things got a lot easier. There was a large area with lakes and flat trails. There were many more people up here that must have used the switchbacks near Floyen.


I then went up a little further and got above the tree-line to a beautiful ridge that might be called Kvitebjørnen. The trail kind of disappears as you hop from rock to rock. Sculptures built on peaks guide your way. It was a bit windy here but I got to see a good view of the water, towns and inland mountains.


I walked past a couple cabins that are available for campers. I also overheard that these can be used in emergencies. The weather can take a turn for the worst very fast and these are places for shelter and contain emergency supplies.


Oh yeah and I’m working! My room at the airbnb is very spacious with a desk and view of the water. I have been splitting time between there and going out to coffee shops to work.

Room in Airbnb

Room in Airbnb

View from my room

View from my room

It has been quite rainy here, luckily I’m used to it 😝 . Hopefully the rain clears and I can do some more extended hikes.

So that’s what I’m up to. Until next time, cheers!