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A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway


How does remote work fare when your vehicle and accommodation are a self-built camper van? Combining work responsibilities and adventure in the heart of nature is entirely possible with a bit of planning. Join us as the familiar vanlife adventurers from previous Halti blogs, Kirsi and Teemu from Vanlifefinland, spend a month in the fjords of Western Norway in the summer of 2023. What route did they take from Finland to Norway, and how much did the trip cost in total? Answers can be found in this blog post.

Planning Started 5 Months Earlier

The adventure in Norway began at the start of the year when Kirsi got the opportunity to participate in an Erasmus exchange through her studies. In January, an excited message from Vierumäki popped up on Teemu's phone: "Should we go to Norway this summer?"

With that, they set out to find internship opportunities. The nature guide had the chance to work with local wilderness guides, and the internship search led to SUP Norway in Western Norway. Extensive experience in the sports field and SUP instructor training secured Kirsi an assistant guide position for two six-day SUP tours in the Nærøyfjord. Once the internship was confirmed, they started planning the month-long van trip together. Remote work and trust from his employer allowed Teemu to join.

Once the dates for the SUP guiding trips were confirmed, it was time to book round-trip ferry tickets between Finland and Sweden. The schedules and prices matched best with the Turku-Stockholm ferries, for which they purchased tickets. In addition to the travel tickets, a cabin was booked for resting. The travel day went smoothly with the opportunity to relax in the cabin.

The Journey from Finland to Oslo

Packing the van required more consideration than usual, as we had to bring both of our SUP boards, clothing for various weather conditions, a backpack, food, and other family members' luggage.

We always pack very minimally for our trips, but the changing weather conditions in Western Norway forced us to bring clothing for all kinds of weather. The storage spaces in the van were quite full this time.

We started driving on the night before Midsummer's Eve towards Turku, where the ferry departed for Stockholm in the morning. The next destination was Oslo. The ferry arrived in Stockholm at 7 PM local time. Watching the clock and using the park4night app, we considered potential overnight spots along the way. We managed to drive 300 kilometers through Sweden towards Oslo.

We arrived late in the evening at a suitable overnight spot by Lake Vänern. The large parking area had other camper vans, whose presence created a sense of security in unfamiliar places—especially when arriving late at night.

In the morning, we continued our journey to Oslo, where we stopped for a couple of hours to enjoy the sunny day.

Next, we headed towards a village called Lærdalsøyri. There were many roadworks in Oslo, which made driving in the city challenging. We navigated the entire trip using Google Maps, which calculated quite a detour as the best route, even though there was a motorway nearby.

However, as we drove out of Oslo, we saw many long, stationary queues on the motorway. Even though Maps' route choices can sometimes be puzzling, this time the route was quite good.

We had one day for hiking before Kirsi's work started. We headed to Lærdalsøyri for the night. There were two routes to get there, but we chose roads 7 and 52 even though they were a bit more winding than the other route. Kirsi had visited the village of Hemsedal during her middle school years, so we decided to drive through it. And since we were in no rush to reach our overnight spot, why not enjoy the scenery along the way?

After Hemsedal, we started seeing more and more mountains on the horizon. In Lærdalsøyri, we had our first encounter with the world's second-longest fjord, Sognefjord. We were sold—what a stunning place we had arrived at! We went to bed admiring the colors painted by the sun on the sky, the clear water, and the mountainous scenery.

The journey from Stockholm to Lærdalsøyri in Norway took about 24 hours, including overnight stops and leisurely breaks. We spent around €230 on diesel for this trip.

A Day Hike to the Summit of Molden

On the first day at our destination, we hiked to Molden. Norwegian hiking destinations, trails, and shelters can be conveniently found on the UT app, where this route was listed as "Topptur til Molden - frå Krossen." We drove to the parking lot via a narrow mountainous dirt road, but we didn't encounter any other cars along the way. We only saw sheep on the road. The parking lot had plenty of space for cars and even had a water toilet.

Summiting Molden was an extremely rewarding experience! The route initially had a steep ascent through the forest, with the terrain being quite rooty in places and rocky at the top. The views, especially above the tree line, were incredibly breathtaking. In Norway, hiking trail difficulty levels are categorized into four levels—green being the easiest, blue intermediate, red demanding, and black very demanding. The Molden route was marked blue, or intermediate. Trail markers were sometimes missing from the rocky areas, and the phone signal was not always reliable, so it's wise to bring a compass and a map just in case.

Norwegians are accustomed to navigating nature and mountains, so when planning a hike, it's best to allocate more time than the UT app's suggested duration for the route. This was something we noticed multiple times during our trip.

halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway

A Month as a Digital Nomad in a Travel Van

Kirsi went on a week-long SUP trip as an assistant guide, and Teemu started his daily routine doing remote work on his computer.

We built the travel van ourselves and wanted to keep it registered as a cargo van, so there is no separate seat in the back—just a bed and kitchen countertops.

Work ergonomics initially concerned Teemu, so we brought along a camping chair and a tray table, which ultimately went unused. After a few days, Teemu found that sitting on the bed was the best way to work.

The villages on the eastern side of the Sognefjord near Gudvangen quickly became familiar. We found places with good internet connectivity and spots where it was impossible to work due to a lack of internet. Parking spots for working were often found at gas stations and local villages.

High up in the mountains, the internet often didn’t work very well. We had a router from home with a Finnish internet subscription. We ensured the subscription would work in Norway well before the trip.

To the south of the western part of the Sognefjord is Bergen, the rainiest city in Europe. In the mountains, weather conditions change rapidly, so we had to check weather forecasts using different apps.

The van’s solar panel batteries power the fridge, lights, laptop, and phone charging. Driving the van also charges the batteries. On days with little driving and cloudy weather, the van’s batteries didn’t charge enough to keep everything running.

On sunny days, it was possible to work anywhere with a good internet connection. When Teemu had tasks that required extensive mouse use or during longer periods of cloudy weather, it was better to work in a café. There were six such days during the month. In a single day, you could experience almost four seasons.

Although wondering about the weather and searching for parking spots might sound challenging to some, Teemu felt that a month as a digital nomad in Norway was far better than a typical remote workday at home. The best part was being able to take lunch breaks outdoors, enjoying meals while admiring the Norwegian scenery.

halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway

Best Places of the Trip:

• Nærøyfjord - A fjord in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, which, along with Geirangerfjord, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.

• Tindevegen - A 32-kilometer road that winds through stunning landscapes from Sognefjord to Jotunheimen. Jotunheimen is home to the highest mountain peaks in Northern Europe.

• Barrel Sauna in Lærdalsøyri - Teemu and our French friend Lucas enjoyed a pleasant evening sauna with a beautiful view of the fjord.

• Molden Hike - We did a day hike to the summit of Molden. The round trip is about 10 km.

• Lustrafjord - A beautiful fjord at the foot of Mount Molden. The water is turquoise and clear. We also saw seals in Lustrafjord.

• Låtefossen - A 165-meter high waterfall right next to road 13. A picture of the waterfall can be found at the end of this blog.

• Bøyabreen Glacier - An impressive glacier off road 5. After a short walk, you can safely admire the glacier from below.

halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway

Meanwhile, Elsewhere: A 6-Day SUP Adventure

While Teemu was working remotely, Kirsi served as an assistant guide on two six-day SUP trips.

Participants on the trip came from all over the world, including Australia and the USA. The trip was a six-day all-inclusive adventure for the clients on Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. During the day, they paddled to the next campsite, where they set up tents for the night.

Along the way, they marveled at the beauty of the fjords, waterfalls, and other natural wonders from a perspective that is hard to experience when traveling by boat. During quiet moments, they also spotted porpoises and seals with the clients.

Most of the journey was on Nærøyfjord. On two days of both trips, they paddled on the larger Aurlandsfjord, which is a branch of Sognefjord that stretches from the Atlantic to Jotunheimen.

During the month-long trip, Teemu and I also visited Geiranger, often hailed as the most beautiful fjord in the world, but I found Nærøyfjord even more impressive.

Adventuring by paddleboard and sleeping in tents amidst Norway’s stunning landscapes was a dream come true, even though it was work. The people were friendly and continuously admired the scenery throughout the trip. Some were camping for the first time, some were experienced paddlers, and some were complete beginners. Everyone managed the trip excellently.

The landscapes surrounding the fjords are so beautiful that it’s impossible to capture all their beauty in photos, videos, or words. It’s worth seeing them in person with plenty of time.

TIP! From Gudvangen, drive deeper into the fjord to the village of Bakka, where the road ends. Along the fjord, there are also piers where fjord cruises stop upon request. From the piers, you can continue your journey by hiking or paddling. Such piers can be found in Dyrdal and Styvi. On the eastern side of the fjord, you can hike the Royal Postal Road from Bakka to Styvi.

halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway
halti world blog: A Month of Remote Work and Adventure in the Fjords of Western Norway

How Much Did the Travel Cost?

When traveling by car in Norway, it’s important to note that there may be tolls and ferry fees along the way. Most toll fees will arrive later as an invoice in the mail, while some small road tolls are paid on-site. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the ferries along your route and get Ferrypay, which helps you avoid paying on the ferry.

The cost of food in the summer of 2023 was quite similar to that in Finland, so we haven't listed food expenses below. The travel costs were as follows:

  • Ferries: €192
  • Tolls: €48.30
  • Ferry fees: €43.50
  • Car fuel, approximately: €600 - €700
  • Total: approximately €983

Overall, the trip was a very positive experience for both of us, and the summer of 2023 became one of the most memorable summers. Teemu was able to get all his work done as effectively as he would have at home or in the office. The different environment refreshed the mind and positively impacted work efficiency, making it easier to create a distinction between work and leisure time.

We got to see fjords that we had previously only admired in pictures. They were indescribably beautiful in person. After the workday, it was amazing to go paddleboarding or hiking and enjoy nature in a different landscape than at home.

If you’ve been dreaming of a similar trip and get the chance to go, take it! Plan ahead, keep a relaxed attitude, and follow the weather forecasts to have a great experience that you'll remember for the rest of your life.

Follow Vanlifefinland’s journey on Instagram!

Also, check out our previous blogs: