Day 10 Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway
We turned in our camper van in Leknes and began the search for a ride back to our Rorbu in Sakrisøy, a 53km ride. Our plan was to rent a car and drive back ourselves but it was a Saturday and all the car rental locations were closed. We could take the bus but would have a 5 hour wait which at this point in our journey was unacceptable. So we decided to exercise our only remaining option short of walking and try to hire a taxi.
I’d had trouble getting my phone to make calls in Norway but was able to get the taxi dispatcher on the line. After she rattled off something in Norwegian I told her we needed a cab, where we were, and where we were going. In perfect English she responded that a cab was on the way. Sure enough in less than 10 minutes they’d arrived.
Now before we dropped off our van rendering us without transportation, Julie looked into the cost of hiring a taxi for our return trip to Sakrisøy. The taxi service gave her an estimate of 700-800 Kr (roughly $100 USD). When we asked for help at the local tourist information kiosk we were informed it would be closer to 1,000 Kr. Expensive, but still much cheaper than hiring a rental car for several days, more pleasant than waiting 5 hours in a bus stop, and definitely better than a 53 km walk.
Enter the Cabbie
When we got into the cab the driver asked us where we were going. When I told him he acted like he’d never heard of the place so I gave him a couple more names of nearby towns, all of which seemed more foreign to him than they were to me. This raised a huge red flag for me and Julie. At this point another cab arrived and he pulled up beside it. The two overweight cabbies had an exchange in some language that was neither English nor Norwegian. At this point we pretty much knew what was about to go down.
Our cabbie turned off the meter, looked back at me and said, 2,000 Kr for a ride to Sakrisøy. I heard him perfectly clear and responded accordingly.
“1,000 Kr to Sakrisøy?”
Slightly annoyed he reiterated the inflated cost. Julie and I took one look at each other and we were in agreement, “Nope.” We told him no thanks but his price was too much, opened the doors and left the cab before he had a chance to respond.
Facebook to the Rescue
Fortunately we had arranged a backup with the attendant at Arctic Campers. Heidi is a super fit vagabond from Austria, former competitive triathlete with a Masters Degree in Sports Science who speaks 6 languages and lives out of her VW van with her dog Peggy, surfing the frigid Norwegian breaks, bouldering on immaculate granite stone, and otherwise living life on her terms.
Heidi told us if all else failed she’d give us a ride after the last customer returned their van. This was all well and good but as I mentioned above, I was having difficulties making calls in Norway. All of my attempts to call Arctic Campers were failing and I didn’t have Heidi’s personal cell. Shit…
We were fortunate to be inside a coffee shop with free WiFi but they were closing soon. If we couldn’t make this connection we’d be spending the next 5 hours in a bus stop waiting to take a 2 hour bus ride back to a town near our Rorbu. Then we’d have to hike it the rest of the way. This was to be our first night in our awesome little fishing hut and I was not interested in exchanging it for QT at the Leknes bus station.
I figured my best bet was to take advantage of the reliable WiFi network and reach out to Arctic Campers through their Facebook page and explain the situation we were in. Their page donned the little green “Very Responsive” badge so I was optimistic. Sure enough, just minutes after messaging them they responded and gave me Heidi’s personal cell number and told me they would also inform her of our predicament.
I tried calling the Austrian number but again… no luck dialing out. Fortunately Heidi had an iPhone so I was able to send her an iMessage that went through first go. She told us that the last drop off was running several hours late but she’d be happy to give us a ride back afterwards. Super pumped and feeling very tech savvy 🙂 we walked the few miles back to Arctic Campers to kick it with Heidi and Peggy until she was off work.
Freedom and Discipline
What could have been a miserable situation ended up being one of the best times on our trip. We had such a great time hanging out with Heidi, admiring the lifestyle she’s adopted, her commitment to living on her terms and prioritizing experiences above everything else. During the course of our conversation she said something to the effect of not wanting to work very much. I knew this sentiment well, because I too don’t want to work very much. I also called bullshit because earning a Masters Degree and being a sponsored athlete takes a hell of a lot of work, much like starting and running your own business, getting your MBA, or leaving your corporate job does.
Heidi smiled and responded with her thick Austrian accent that she’d been told one time by a Yogi that her words were “Freedom and Discipline”. I assume this is like a mantra of sorts, a simple rendering to help one focus. I’d never thought about it that way but it was true. Her discipline, my discipline, Julie’s discipline, the Herculean efforts we’ve made to earn the things we’ve achieved, they’ve all been done with one goal in mind.
Everything Julie and I do, is done so we won’t have to keep doing it later. We work all the time now, so we won’t have to work at all later. (Or at least we’ll have the option to not have to work later).
Looking at Heidi’s life packed into a several clear containers and her VW van reminded me of the time I did the same and lived out of my Toyota pickup truck. I only made it about 2 months before realizing that I was not ready to sacrifice creature comforts like hot water on demand. I also knew that my adventure was more than just exploring the wilds. I knew that business ownership would also define my life’s story.
Discipline. Sacrifice. Commitment.
No matter how you slice it, that’s what it takes to live on your terms. It would be easy to look at someone like Heidi, living in a van, and say they were lost, lazy, and leading an aimless existence with no direction, and to steer clear of that lifestyle. You could just as easily look at my life, working long hours, studying, learning, growing a business and say that I had it figured out and to follow my example because it’s a noble and honorable path.
But at this point, in my eyes, Heidi is far beyond us because she owns the most valuable asset of all, TIME.
Time is a finite resource, with an unknown supply and you can never reclaim it once it’s gone. The sooner you can control your time the sooner you can control your life. And I think that everyone should be striving to be in 100% control of their life. Because when you’re not in control you have take overpriced rides from scammy cabbies, sit in uncomfortable bus stops far from home, and you miss out on rich experiences like the one we shared with our new Austrian friend, Heidi K.
Leknes & Sakrisøy, Norway Slideshow