A space to be ourselves

Words & Photography Katherine Heath-

Knowing who we really are is something many of us struggle with our entire lives. We form opinions on matters that we believe to be our own, but that in reality are a combination of facts and observations we’ve heard elsewhere. And, whilst it’s important to learn from others and take external information into account, it’s equally important to stay true to ourselves even if our thoughts go against popular opinion.

External influences, I believe, often play too big a part in our evaluation of ourselves and what we believe we stand for. Our thoughts are clouded by the thoughts of others and it proves challenging to draw a line between where ‘they’ end and ‘we’ begin. But, the more that we are aware of ourselves and the happier we are with ourselves the less likely we are to let the opinions of others shape who we are.

Our lives are fast-paced and in a world where we have instant access to a consistent flow of new information and varying opinions it’s important to take a step back, breathe and remind ourselves who we are when there’s no one else around.

For me, the opportunity to switch off and gather my own thoughts has always presented itself in nature.

I think the one time we are most ourselves, most in our own minds and most aware of what is truly ‘us’ is when we immerse ourselves in our natural world. The sea air, a miraculous tonic. The damp, unmistakeable smell of the earth after rain. The sheer power of the wind during a storm. The irreplaceable warmth of the sun. All things we have no control over and that instantly remind us how insignificant we are and yet how powerful we can be.

© all pictures Katherine Heath

More in our NL1 magazine.

More about Katherine here. Take care! Melanie Kettner

choices

Words & Photography Jeanette Lunde

Love changes everything.
It sounds like a cliche.
Still it´s the truth.

Love changes everything.

I travel.
Deep.
Inside.
This journey is taking me to places I never thought of.
Places I never dreamt of. Not because I did not know of them, but simply because I did not see them as an interesting destination to chose.

I was blinded.
Blinded by everything I once learned was good for me.
I know those who thought me did it all from kindness,
but they were blinded too.

So I change. I chose to change.
As a women, as a sister, as a mother, as a wife.
As a human having a body being a spirit.
I slowly change, moving forward by choosing love.

Its like being in the flow,
though some days are easier than others.
So much to let go of.
Pealing of layers, one by one.
Stumbling and finding myself going back to old patterns I thought I had said goodbye to.

But I have learned, that as long as I’m moving, I’m fine.
It´s when I stop I’m being brought in.

Oh,
And then those moments, the reward of inner peace.
The ultimate gift.
The purest light.

So how do I choose love?
For me it started with this urge for feeling fulfilled.
To feel joy for no reason.
To just be.
To have a deeper purpose in my daily doings.

I belive it was my soul calling me.
I believe we all are here for a greater reason,
and if we only live for what we can touch and see I belive we are lost.
I know I was lost.

But my soul kept on whispering.
I kept on taking these decisions that was outside the comfort zone.
I was willing to trust.
To trust the process of life.
The flow of the universe.
And I´m still working on that.
To trust and to let go.

Nature talks to me.
Sending small signals and messages of love. I have to focus, to be pure to see and understand.
They come in the most discreet ways.

Looking back I see how I took my choices of comfort. Where I put my energy, where I chose to worry, in the end hurt myself. Still I’m grateful for these lessons, it took me to where I am today.

Right now, sitting and writing this, I’m in Canada. Exploring this beautiful country with my family. Learning from the diversity this place has to offer. I feel my soul, heart and body are being nourished.

Being a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a college; I could go on.
It means that my choices affects everyone around me, maybe even you.
I believe we all are here to make this earth a better place, by choosing love.
In every moment, in this second.

I start with my thoughts.
The way I chose to think effects how I se the world.

So my mantra for today is;
Everything I do I do from love.

My purpose in life is so much greater than myself.
I truly belive that for everyone of us.

So I meditate.
I am vegan.
I forgive.
Every day I try to become a better version of myself.

My gift in return is less fear.
I feel powerful through compassion.
I radiate love.
I attract love.

© all pics Jeanette Lunde

More about our contributor Jeanette of our Volume 2 here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired by hygge

Words & Photography Rowan Collins-

Funnily enough, our friendship started with porridge. In 2016, we met through an online group for the university we were both about to join, when Liv reached out to me with a recommendation for a porridge café in Copenhagen, where I was about to visit. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but a year and a half later, after one of the busiest and most exciting weekends of our lives hosting our first porridge pop-up, we would be in Liv’s bedroom crying with laughter, remembering that was how it all started.

We are lucky to live in Norwich, a small city in the East of England with a wonderful community of independent businesses and creatives. Inspired by this and our love of porridge, we had a dream of opening a porridge café. A cosy space where people could come and enjoy slow mornings with their loved ones, and eat some wholesome, seasonal food. We talked about our idea again and again, and last year decided to run it as a pop-up for one weekend, just to see it come to life. Here, Norridge was born. What we didn’t realise was that the pop-up would end up feeling like just the beginning, and that we would go home with heads of full of ideas as to how we could expand Norridge into something bigger.

During that first pop-up, we were touched by how supportive our city’s community is, and how important that support is to our business. We want to celebrate that special community and bring it closer together, and we hope that through more pop-ups, wellbeing events and creative workshops we can do just that, at the same time collaborating with and supporting other independent businesses and creatives.

Outside of community, one of the biggest parts of Norridge is hygge. It’s become a bit of a buzzword over the past couple of years, but it’s something everyone can relate to and probably experienced before the term made its way across the world from Denmark. To us, porridge is inherently hygge. It’s warm, creamy, sweet, and there’s a certain slowness in the making of porridge, particularly when it’s made on the hob, that makes just about any morning more hyggeligt. We are passionate advocates of making a little more time in the morning, if you can, to make a proper bowl of porridge and take the time to sit down and enjoy it, preferably with a blanket and some cushions near a window with natural light, or with a few candles lit during the darker months.

We are also hugely inspired by the slow living movement. We live in a world that is increasingly fast-paced and demanding of our attention, so now more than ever there is real value in slowing down and taking a break from our ever-busy schedules. Cooking is one of our favourite ways to do this, but we also love spending an hour or so in one of Norwich’s wonderful coffee shops or settling down at home with a beautiful magazine and a cup of hot tea. We hope that Norridge can be a space that will encourage people to slow down and take some time for themselves, and provide a rest from our ‘always on’ lifestyle.

Finally, seasonal and plant-based eating is a huge part of what we do. We’re both veggie lovers through and through, and we get excited by all the varieties each season has to offer. One of our favourite things is walking home with a tote full of fresh veg wrapped up in paper bags, ready to be made into something delicious. This is really important to what we do, and as Norridge grows we hope to continue working with local, in-season produce to encourage people to do the same at home.

© all pictures Rowan Collins

Excerpt of our NL1 magazine!

 

silentia

Words & Images Petros Koublis-

A landscape is an illimitable state. It’s not restricted within the visible area in front of our eyes, but it extends in an undefined distance, reaching for the limits of our interpretation over ourselves and the world around us. It is because every landscape can be eventually defined as the vast open field where our thoughts and feelings are meeting with the outside world. It’s both an imaginary field and an actual reality, a perpetual state and a momentary revelation.

From the view outside of our window, to the far end of the Universe, it is one continuous landscape without limits. It flows undisturbed, dissolving into infinite forms that take the shape of everything we have ever seen, dreamt or imagined. Our world is celestial, sharing the same origin with the space that embraces our skies.

Mountains and seas, the most familiar forms of our immediate experience still carry within them the magic of distant worlds, for this is one, inseparable landscape. Nature has given us its own symbols, its own little natural monuments that awake inside of us this primitive memory. Everywhere around the world, every culture carries these natural symbols in a more abstract or specific way, having shaped mythologies of cultural, religious or simply emotional narratives linked to their surrounding nature. Everything is part of us in an emotional level that goes beyond our present state, as it reaches back to a forgotten memory of our origin.

There are limits to our perception, therefore we are not able to fully perceive what is essentially mind-independent, free of form, shape and definition. We are bound to keep addressing the phenomenal version of reality, limited within the confines of our understanding. Through Mythology the human spirit could philosophically approach those remote areas of a system much bigger than what we are able to perceive. As if through myths, our spirit is able to overcome the boundaries of the mind and expose our intuition to a much greater reality. Mythology preserves the meditation on the unconceptualized form. In fact. mythology could be considered as the linguistic effort to describe the inconceivable. This is how mythology became the mother of poetry, just by effortlessly negotiating the memory of experience.

© Petros Koublis with kind permission

Excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MAGAZINE VOL.1

 

farewell letter to the arctic

Images & Words Alexander Kopatz-

I am leaving. I thought this day would be much further in the future, but I am leaving the Arctic. After seven years of living and working at almost 70 degrees North it is time to say goodbye to the Arctic. I feel sadness at the thought of leaving and I wonder how I will cope with not being in the environment that has impressed me and resonated in my soul and heart more than anything else before. The Arctic is so special to me because it helped me discover something I thought I did not have, my visual creativity. After finishing high school in Germany I struggled to find out what I really wanted to do in life. I was torn back and forth by the choices of doing what most people thought would be best: finding “a good job”, which meant to go into business or law, or pursue my interest in science and study biology or chase my passion for design and architecture. In the end, as I believed I was not talented enough to get into art school, I went and got a degree in biology.

During my studies and later in my job as a researcher studying brown bears I moved from one place to another, never being too long at one place. With every move to another place I had to leave a part of my life and, sadly, also friends behind. But I also made new friends at the new places, keeping busy with getting to know everything, going to parties, having what is commonly referred to as a “social life”. And then I moved to Northern Norway and my life changed drastically: all of a sudden I was at a very remote place with little possibilities of “going out”. And the remoteness was not the only thing that was extreme, there were also the extreme conditions in nature. The sun does not rise above the horizon for two months in winter and in summer, it does not set for two months. Temperatures may vary hourly, depending on season, and cover a scale of minus 30 degrees Celsius in late winter and less to plus 30 degrees on a few occasions in summer.

First, I was a bit afraid of settling that far North. But when I arrived in the Arctic, with the Barents Sea in the North and Russia right at the doorstep in the East, with only about 70,000 people inhabiting the county of Finnmark, Norway’s largest county, larger than the Netherlands, I discovered that it is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The light and the landscapes of Arctic Norway immediately blew me away, cheered me up and rewarded me with beautiful views when I was working in the field to study brown bears. The distinctive landscape was probably the first thing I noticed when I started to explore the surroundings. On the one hand, there are the refuge areas of forests with their short growing pines and birches, on the other there are the coastlines and alpine areas dominated by rocks. And although I struggled during my first winter up here, I found the polar night strangely attractive. For two months there is no sunrise. Light and darkness are out of balance. But the remaining light often creates fantastic ambient light with colors of pink, orange or blue dominating.

© All pictures Alexander Kopatz

All these impressions stimulated my senses and mind. After I shot the Northern lights for the first time with my camera, I was hooked trying to capture the wild beauty of the North. Getting outside into the Arctic constitutes a stark contrast to the office nature of analyzing data I have to do in my job. In the solitude of the forests and the tundra, I discovered my creativity, something I thought I did not have. I still would not consider myself an artist, but being in the field with my camera has become an important part of me. To me, it is like meditation.

More of this essay in our NL1 magazine!

kerlingarfjöll

Words & Images: Michael Schauer –

There are a few places in this world that look so surreal, you are unable to process that they actually exist just like this. Places that come with all the bells and whistles of a meticulously planned A-list movie production – lights, fog and all of that, yet they… just are. Perfect in their own right.
Iceland is known for its wonderfully surreal nature – be it the volcanic landscape, the enourmous glaciers or the hot spring trails – hence it served as a backdrop for many movies and shows. Game of Thrones, Interstellar to just name two of them.
The black sand beaches and waterfalls alongside the ring road in Iceland tell a thousand stories of beautiful moments and memories with every day the sun sets and rises anew. Yet they have been seen so often.

It might come off as ironic that the road leading up to one of the most unique and surreal places starts right where one of Iceland’s most iconic natural tourist attractions lies. Right next to the famous Gullfoss waterfalls a barely noticeable road – the F35 leads the way to Iceland’s cold and barren heart, to a radically different landscape. A few miles into that road, the lush green quickly dwindles and the colors of the land begin to take on earthen tones, a familiar but fascinating dress allowing a glimpse into what is yet to come. It is sparkled with sapphires as we pass the lakes Sandvatn and Hvitárvatn while the wind is getting harsher and temperatures begin to drop under the zero degree celsius mark making it all too clear that this is a different Iceland than the one we left behind at Gullfoss. A few miles after that, the road vanishes. All that you can follow now are the gravel tracks between the piles of rocks left and right which barely leave enough space for two cars to pass each other, let alone the enormous Arctic Truck models with wheels taller than a grown adult.

After entering the gravel road a gauntlet of bumps and potholes begins, a challenge for every car and driver but reviving and a more than welcome relief from the always straight and always crowded ring road. For two full hours there is nothing but the gravel on the road and the dust left behind.
But then… it is there. Kerlingarfjöll lying right before the eyes. The most surreal landscape leaving an impression never to be forgotten. Sulfuric steam boils out of the countless hotsprings, clouding the place in an everlasting fog and the same earthen colored gravel hills but now smoothly polished from a receding glacier, divided by rivers, paths and a small bridge. It is a painted world. You are alone in wind and silence. It is exalting.

© all pictures Michael Schauer with kind permission

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

The snow dancing in the wind

Words & Images Morgane Erpicum

I woke up before dawn, awkwardly ensconced in my sleeping bag and our many blankets. I wiped the condensation from the car window and looked out, eager to start the day.
The night was a deep royal blue over winter’s thick blanket of snow. The silence was absolute, save for Doug’s quiet breathing next to me and the gentle stream flowing close to the car.
The wind suddenly picked up, blowing away the dark colours of the night and the cloud cover. I sat there, intently watching the sky turn to lavender, then to the softest of pinks.
“How is that for winter light?” He said, sitting up and tucking his messy hair behind his ears.
“Everything I could have hoped for”, I replied, grinning.

When my husband and I first started telling people we were moving to Iceland, the reactions it triggered were quite extraordinary; they ranged from utter amazement to horror. Amongst the raised fears (and a good load of misled preconceived notions), one issue seemed to arise more often than not. “How are you going to survive the winters? You do know you will be in the dark from October until February, don’t you?” they asked us, their eyes wide with shock.
While we appreciate the fact that their questions stem from concern and love, we have always approached the issue serenely. Fair enough, neither of us are used to living at such latitudes, but we both do come from the greyest and wettest areas of Western Europe. We have spent several weeks in Iceland, both at the beginning of winter and in the midst of it. Every single time, we were struck by the quality of the light and the uncanny realization that we had had more sunshine over the course of one week in Iceland than during the entire length of winter in Belgium.

“Shall we move on?”, he asked, stretching his lanky body as much as the confines of the car would allow him. I acquiesced while putting on the many layers that would help me brave the icy wind. We quickly packed up the back of the car, hopped in the front and started driving.
By then, the sky was painted peach pink and vermillion orange. It was February, and the sunrises and sunsets glow beautifully for incredibly long stretches of time at this period of the year. Sometimes, it almost seems like the sun wants to take full advantage of the shorter daylight by showcasing the most incredible kaleidoscope of colours.
We cruised along the snow-laden Ring Road, westbound through the Fjords, taking in the scenery and its many powdery nuances.


We soon reached a pass, climbing further and further into the mountains and the clouds.
As we took a turn, we got engulfed in fog, which submerged us in a milky mist indistinguishable from the snow. We slowed down, mesmerised by the white slivers streaming across the asphalt.
“Are these plumes of steam coming off the road?” he said, focused on driving.
“Nope”, I said, in awe, “it’s the snow dancing in the wind”.

© all pictures Morgane Erpicum with kind permission

excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MGAZINE print edition Vol.1!

More about Morgane here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner

a glimpse of the world…..

Words & Images by Elmoon Iraola-

I grew up in Northern Norway in a little town named Kirkenes, which is only a few minutes away from the Finnish border. Kirkenes is surrounded by a beautiful nature and flourishing wildlife. The winter there is long, and at times harsh to be honest. The days feels shortened due to the absence of daylight. Despite this, there is a beauty in the serenity and peacefulness winter brings, unlike anything else. And let’s not forget about the northern lights, the captivating aurora borealis. Seeing the lights high above your head dancing with such grace almost makes you believe in magic. This reveals how beautiful the world truly is.

Spending my youth up in the North gave me unique experiences and treasurable memories, but this would just be the starting point, as my hunger to discover the world increased with the years and I moved to the capital city, Oslo. I was honestly curious about urban life which gave the feeling of “rush” in the daily life. Shortly after, however, I began yearning back to nature and its calmness. I firmly believe that the landscape of my hometown had a greater impact subconsciously than what I initially thought. I had sincerely developed a higher appreciation for being out in the wilderness than ever before, but my studies forced me to stay in the big city. This is the reason why I’m inspired to explore new places, in Norway and beyond.

So I decided to discover more of the vast landscapes in the West of Norway, that is known for its many fjords, and that’s for a good reason. Glaciers, the creators of the deep and captivating valleys carved out these creations through erosion over several decades. After experiencing everything from the mesmerizing fjords, the powerful Vøringsfossen and to the turquoise waters in Lovatnet, I went on to explore Lofoten and Senja in the North. Standing before the mighty Segla in Senja and the mountains in Lofoten left me in total awe. There is nothing more powerful than to stand amongst these giants. The overwhelming feeling of humbleness is almost addictive to put it mildly. Nothing makes me feel more grounded, calm and connected to nature. But the most powerful experience so far is without doubt my visit to Iceland and the Faroe Islands last year. The first visit made such an impact that I simply had to return shortly after. The raw, unique and fierce landscapes stole my heart away and left me completely speechless.

Witnessing Drangarnir in the Faroes for the first time was such a surreal moment for me. On the day of the hike it had been pouring rain all day with fog so thick that you couldn’t see much of the surroundings, and there was no stopping the wind. My friend and I concluded to venture on with extreme caution. I found the last part of the hike to be somewhat sketchy as the trail was extremely slippery. The view we were rewarded with was inarguably worth the difficult hike. Finally, seeing that place with my very own eyes was a special moment which I find challenging to describe. The emotions I was experiencing standing there before Drangarnir are inexpressible.

© all pictures Elmoon Iraola with kind permission

Excerpt of our NL1 magazine.  Take care! Melanie Kettner

vittra – the scandinavian light

Words & Images: David Hjortsberg-

Elusive.
She comes and goes as she pleases. Luring me into comfort and then ripping her beauty from under me when I least expect it. She lingers on too long and appears too suddenly, catching me off guard and full of wonder. She is a singer and a song, a painter and a canvas, a dancer and the dance itself. She transforms and restructures even in her absence. Me, and everything around.

I have been following her all of my life. Sometimes knowingly – with a childlike curiosity. Sometimes – as a silent passenger alongside her. But always with a certain fascination; however subconsious it might be. She plays a part in all my childhood memories. Setting the mood, amplifying the details, acting as the storyteller in what I am trying to recall.

When I close my eyes and think of home, of places that genuinely make me feel at peace and harmonious, she is the ultimate bearer of truth. The maternal caress. Everything she touches connects me to this place and the men and women that walked here before me. She has a certain class and grace that is unlike anything I have seen in this world.

She brings me back to the places I love, again and again, showing them to me in new ways every time. Always soft to the touch, with just enough strength and warmth to invite in new ideas to the familiar scene. She holds my hand and keeps me company, never letting me feel alone in the dense forest and the cold vast landscapes. Her presence smoothes out the sharp edges of the city and her radiance drenches out the noise of the busy soundscape.

Her fabric shapes my thoughts and my sentiment. She picks me up and she brings me down. Keeps me calm and gets me excited. Lets me reflect and look for answers to questions deep within. We are one and the same. We dance together in joy and in grieving. And when she goes into hiding for long periods of time, as do I. Only to emerge when the nights grow shorter and the days longer. She is the healer and the protector of life, and the comforter of the weak.

© all pictures David Hjortsberg

More of this poetic essay in our NL1 magazine!

 

in the deep north is a place

Words & Images Linus Bergman-

In the deep north is a place. A place very different from others. This is a place where rock formations, hundreds of meters high, meet the sea.
It’s a place where nature almost feels untouched.
In summer the sun never leaves, in winter it never shows. Blizzards of snow. Rain running wild. Foxes playing in mountain corners. Deer carelessly walking man’s road.
Some people call it home, some people call it a dream.
This is the place known as, Lofoten.

It was once known for its fishing. Nowadays the biggest income is tourism. Which is not surprising, cause it doesn’t matter how many times you travel to this place.
The tiny red cabins, with the snowy mountain peaks as a backdrop. With four seasons in a day.
It will make you speechless.
Every time.

I visited this place many times in summer, experienced the serene beauty of the midnight sun, before deciding I wanted to know what’s left when the tourists are gone. What I noticed through the years, is that the place has lost its empty roads , as they are often too crowded with cars and tourist buses even in winter.

Lofoten is still a place that is distant but not unknown to people throughout the world. In a way, it remains mysterious. Lofoten has not yet been a part of commercialization as much as other parts of the world. I hope this stays that way.

Not that I mind and don’t want people to experience this beauty, but I have a belief that we need places like this, that are not yet “normalized” and explored fully. Land that can be a part of one’s fantasy. For young people to still be able to dream of exploration like I did in my younger years, to realize that the world is still a place for which questions can be asked. This may be its greatest value for the generations to come.

I grew up imagining our world as still unexplored. I loved to hear stories about adventurers and places untouched. I used my fantasy to travel to distant places. As I became older my thoughts went from Tintin to explorers like August Andre, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and thinkers that made me realize that the world within is just as big as the one “out there”, like Lao Tzu.

Recently while writing in my journal, I got an understanding of why I choose to travel to this far away places, why I sit in the car for 30 some hours alone. It’s stillness. It’s silence I’m looking for, and not the silence you imagine while standing alone on a mountaintop, but rather the silence and stillness within oneself. Even though one can find it anywhere, I noticed for myself that these trips to Lofoten and places similar give me a chance to experience myself.

Oslo, big cities are common at this stage of life. Music, cars, people, advertisement and phones are all a part of our daily and usually hectic life. While they are useful, it’s easy to switch on autopilot, forgetting that moments in a room alone while doing nothing, or standing in nature with no thoughts,  are necessary for our souls. These moments let us become a bigger part of ourselves. As the Nordic paradise has done for me.

So the “Nordic Paradise” is a project for which I hope people can take a break, maybe for minutes, maybe for hours, to experience silence for a brief moment.

© all pictures Linus Bergman

Essay of our NL1 magazine!