02 | ROGALAND
In search for waves we were bound for the known shores and manifold surfing spots of Jæren. A short swell over one and a half days combined with steady rain was what we were in for.
With the occasional visit of Stavanger for a hot coffee we steadily headed north to the hinterland and started to explore the fjordlands of Rogaland and were letting the plain region of Jæren behind.
As the change in scenery becomes visible from kilometer to kilometer, evermore steeper and higher cliffs were falling into the clear blue waters of giant fjords. Wind and rain as our steady companion, we were taking increasingly longer excursions into the wild vastness of Norway.
Behind every corner we find more spectacular and beautiful places awaited us. Continuously in awe of the forces and aeons of time that have shaped this landscape, we were soaking up the beauty of this place with every breath.
Fueled by pictures of iconic places I have seen online and that have shaped my perception of Norway and fueled my yearning to go there, we betook ourselves to the craggy shores of Lysefjord and the renowned cliff of Preikestolen. But soon reality and expectations collided at the huge and crowded parking lot where dozens of fellow hikers prepare for the four and a half hour walk to fabled cliff edge.
The sight of hordes of people who were chauffeured there with omni busses and stumbled over every non-standardized step of the trail as if it were the way to the summit of the Everest, swiftly wiped away my romanticized image of Preikestolen.
Waves of uneasiness overcame me as I saw fifty or more people that waited in line to take the „lonesome adventurer“ photo on top of the cliff. A mere illusion of adventure created by taking the right angle shot and some retouching.
It made me question the motivation and willingness to get to places like this. Undoubtedly you get rewarded with a breathtakingly beautiful view over rugged mountain tops meandering along the shores of a giant fjord, but permanent presence of cellphone pictures and instagram stories taking people kind of spoils the vibe.
Surely an adventure is defined by those who undertake it. And one mans Everest is just easy Sunday afternoon walk for someone else. Motivations vary from athletic challenge to esteem for the wilderness or just simple curiosity.
But I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that for a increasing number of people the desire to see this place was rooted in narcissistic self-representation. Clearly my motivations might have been a mixture of all the above mentioned aswell, but if the mere catalyst to do anything is getting a shot to impress followers on social media, the appreciation for what surrounds you is compromised.
To get away from the pack we climbed the peaks encircling Preikestolen and watch the razzmatazz from outside. Only fifteen minutes of walking made the masses almost disappear, so that soon we were sitting in solitude on a boulder, nibbling our vittles and counting the people on the plateau.
At nights we aimed for the end of the road and by day explored the sweeping sceneries that unfold behind every bend. Our path drawn by the craving of getting lost in the vastness of this place. As people along the way get fewer the pleasant feeling of peaceful solitude sets in. The way becomes the reward.
And while early morning hikes were whispering promises of solitary waterfalls in pristine settings it came to me that journey is not about succeeding but about daring.