How to go to Lofoten, the hard way (pt.1)

How do I get to the Arctic Coworking Lodge? Surprisingly, even though we are stowed away here in the beautiful far north, it´s pretty easy.

You can get more info on that here.

This write-up is not about that though. It´s part one of a mini series where we write about alternative ways to get to Lofoten.

These past few weeks we were honoured to have a couple of digital nomads at the Lodge, who were not traveling in your typical digital nomad way - and we just had to share!

Sam Billingham´s story

Drone shot of sam on his bike

Drone shot of sam on his bike

Sam Billingham started off in Birmingham, and then went to Copenhagen - a total distance of 1459 kilometres.

From Copenhagen he boarded a plane to Tromsø. From Tromsø he travelled all the way to Lofoten – which is a distance of 482 km.

That is a lot of mileage. A lot of us would be afraid to set off on such a journey in a car. But Sam did the whole trip on a bike!

So Sam – how does the digital nomad lifestyle fit with bike touring? Did you get your work done en-route?


Sometimes running on ridges is a better option than working

Sometimes running on ridges is a better option than working

Nope. Life doesn't always go according to your plans. That's as true for cycle touring as it is for pretty much everything in life. I had grand ideas of cycling for a few hours, setting up my tent and still having a couple hours each day to make progress on my projects with my laptop. What ensued In reality were many days where I spent over 12 hours out on the bike. Multiple times I struggled to find power outlets. By the time I had cycled, set up camp and eaten dinner it was already dark and time to get ready to do it all again the next day.

There are a number of ways to make cycle touring and remote work play nicer together. Nomad bikepacking might be on the cards for next summer. I plan on having shorter days and possibly alternating between cycle days and work/explore days. Working towards a lighter setup and taking less stuff on the bike wouldn't hurt either.

Over 5 weeks I got almost zero "work" done which is not ideal. The counter to that is while cycle touring you can reduce your expenses, that in turn reduce the necessity to work. A large portion of the work I've been doing recently is on my own projects so as long as I manage the internal struggle of slow (almost zero) progress it's all good.


This isn´t your first trip Sam! How did this trip differ from your California trip?

The first cycle trip will always be unique because everything was new. Looking back it was significantly easier than this recent trip across Europe although at the time it felt physically challenging. The thing about southern California is that the sun shines all the time, it puts things outdoors into 'easy mode'. It's probably safe to say Norway is not quite in the same bracket.

California is pretty incredible right? It's also quite similar. It was cool to travel trough multiple countries and experience the change in culture and scenery you travel. The speed of the bike gives you a chance to actually experience the change whereas in a car/plane it can often feel like island hopping.

I did a much better job at filming my experience on both of my California trips. The double daily distance made it hard to spend as much time filming, combine that with a fuzzier focus and I'm left with questionable documentation of my trip. I have a mixed relationship with filming my adventures. On one hand I never want to use the camera and just live in the moment and on the other it's vitally important to preserve memories.

I'll never forget rolling my bike into a campsite and having someone know me by name because I made a video on Youtube. Social media is super powerful but finding the balance can be a bit tough.

You have been here before helping us film our story back in April – which time of year did you like the most?

The snow was cool to see and experience but I certainly prefer the sense of freedom to explore without it. Perhaps it's my lack of snow experience but I felt more restricted in April. I'll be back for some snow once I've got some more skills and gear for sure.

I'm a big fan of the density of trails in Lofoten. Within cycle distance of the Lodge there are plenty of run/hike opportunities to keep me occupied for a season.

Tell us a little bit about the project you are working on right now!

Recently I've been working on a number of projects that leverage the Steem blockchain. Steem is a blockchain protocol supporting multiple cryptocurrency tokens that incentives content creation.

It's new, weird and kind of confusing to explain. The current status quo of ad-based monetisation makes me feel a little sick. Part of the aims of the Steem blockchain is to support creatives without needing adverts. I am working to carve my own corner of this space and build platforms.

My current projects are:

  • (A Steem blockchain based comments system)

  • (A Steem blockchain based website builder) both are in early stages but with the aim to help support creatives do their thing. It's a work-in-progress. “

You can get in touch with Sam here

Stay tuned for next part of the series - where we talk to another awesome human being who is living and working on a sailboat!

Stian Morel