From Texas to Lofoten with Kayla
Kayla came to stay at the Arctic Coworking Lodge back in August. She instantly enjoyed the inspirational community and mountainous landscapes - so much so that she extended her stay 2 months more than originally planned. We asked her a few questions, and she described Lofoten brilliantly. Read all about her stay below.
Photos are taken by Kayla herself - follow her on instagram for more.
Why did you choose to visit Lofoten?
Norway has been at the top of my list for quite some time, specifically Lofoten, simply because it looked so unbelievably beautiful. I mean, if you Google “Norway” one of the first photos you see is Reine - and it doesn’t even look real. It’s like a magical fantasy dream-village.
Earlier this year I started to get serious about becoming a digital nomad. One of my first Google searches was “coliving Norway” and up popped Arctic Coworking Lodge. Honestly, at first I felt like it was too good to be true. But—spoiler alert—it wasn’t.
How is the expectation vs reality?
Where do I even begin... I don’t think there are words in the English language (or probably any language for that matter) that can accurately describe the majesty that is Lofoten, but I’ll give it a go.
(TL;DR - Lofoten is like if Middle Earth and The Vale had a love child, but better.)
You come here expecting it to be beautiful, but you can’t even begin to grasp the magnitude of its beauty until you see it with your own eyes. Even then, you can’t believe it’s real. My first experience of Lofoten was taking the bus from the Evenes airport to the Lodge. It was hands down the best bus ride of my life… three unforgettable hours winding through fjord after fjord, my face glued to the window, my jaw never leaving the floor. Then I got to the Lodge and still couldn’t believe my eyes.
And it never gets old. With every weather change—which happens fast and often—it’s like you’re seeing it all again for the first time. You feel like you’re in a fairytale dreamscape. Between the steep cliffs that literally rise straight from the sea, the emerald beaches, the rainbows (there are SO many rainbows, y'all), the dramatic sunsets and sunrises, the stars at night, and the northern lights, you’re constantly having your breath taken away.
So, yeah, safe to say reality far exceeded any expectations I had.
How important is finding a community for you on your travels, and what do you think of the community at Arctic Coworking Lodge?
Community is essential for me, especially as a solo traveler. When it comes to community, I think it looks a bit different for travelers—we create lifelong friendships with people from all corners of the globe after only having spent maybe a few days with them. You could cross paths with them years later and it’s like no time has passed at all. There’s nothing like it.
At the Lodge, I feel like we’re more than a community—it feels like family. I felt it the minute I arrived when I was handed a plate of curry from the dinner they made earlier. Family dinners are a regular occurrence, but whether you prepare your own meal or share with others, you’ll never eat alone and you’ll never go hungry.
We also get together every week for a family meeting where we each share what we’re working on, challenges we’re facing, or goals we have for the coming week. As we go, we provide feedback, encouragement, advice, or ideas for one another. It’s honestly one of the coolest things we do here and I always leave feeling so inspired.
You might understandably assume that the best thing Arctic Coworking Lodge has to offer is its location, but you’d be wrong. It’s family.
Have you been able to keep up with work?
I’m really new to this whole digital nomad thing. I’d be lying if I said it was a perfectly smooth transition but being at the Lodge has really helped me settle in to being a remote worker.
Before I got to Norway, I traveled around the UK for about a month, going in and out of hostels and constantly searching for cafes or hotel lobbies to make my office for the day. It may sound whimsical and cool but in reality, it quickly became exhausting and, at times, overwhelming. I thought I’d escape the stress I felt from the “conventional" life back home, but I just replaced it with new stress and it was killing my productivity and motivation.
Then I came here—where the good vibes and good coffee are in endless supply—and I could feel the weight lift off my shoulders. This is the first coworking/coliving space I’ve stayed in and being here has definitely helped me adjust to life as a digital nomad. Everyone is on their grind and focused on getting shit done, all without sacrificing time to explore. As a result, the Lodge inherently fosters a productive, creative environment that produces constant inspiration, both personally and professionally. Combine that with the reliable internet, coffee, workspace, and comfy beds provided by the Lodge and you have literally everything you need. To quote the greatest R&B trio of all time, Destiny’s Child, “Much success, no stress, and lots of happiness."
What was it like being at the Lofoten Surf Festival?
In a word: hilarious. It's easily one of the best days I’ve had here. For those who aren’t familiar, it's an event put on by the Lofoten Surf Center in Unstad every year. There was a surf competition with costumes (!!!) followed by a 70’s disco-themed party where they gave out awards for things like best costume and worst wipe out.
My personal experience was particularly amusing…
Stian and Ingvar, unbeknownst to me, signed me up for the surf competition. I was a bit surprised by that news seeing as how I’d only surfed once 15 years ago, but obviously I couldn’t back down. The day of the festival, I had my first real surf lesson in the morning (better late than never), made my mummy costume out of a sheet at lunchtime, then just went for it in the competition that afternoon. You can just imagine the hilarity that ensued… The minute I stepped into the water, the strips around my legs fell and effectively bound my legs together. The waves were huge and I could barely walk, much less get on my board. I think I lasted a total of 5 minutes. It was amazing and I’d do it all over again! (But maybe not as a mummy.)