A regular D, a simple a, a sized, curved k, an antique seeming u, a bold, smiling n and an a, decorated with a heart. Dakuna. At first glance it might seem like an arbitrary order of letters in different fonts but it has a bigger meaning to me. I distributed each letter to either a family member or a close friend. I let them choose individually how to write their letter. It became a weird mix, it became a unique mix.
But what about the name itself. People who know me personally are aware of Dakuna not being my last name. Instead it derives from an old Disney term. Hakuna Matata. It means no worries, for the rest of your days. The last week has been a new experience, even for me. No organized Couchsurfing hosts, rough weather conditions and insane prices. It’s the reason why most people don’t hitch hike in Scandinavia. It’s a challenge. It is exactly what I was looking for. But hey, Hakuna Matata. No worries!
Short, backwards blow-dried blond hair, hiking boots, that indicate an experienced traveler. A backpack, which exposes him as a greenhorn. A face, my grandmother would fall for in seconds, a name, that could not be any easier to remember. Daniel. He disguises his face with big sunglasses. Sunglasses similar to the ones I was wearing about 10 years ago. ‘Dude, take them off – people wanna see your face‘. Sometimes I feel like a mentor. I feel like an old hand, who helps this 19 years old English guy on his first hitch hiking trip. A companion, I met in Copenhagen. A friend, I am going to hitch together with towards the North Cape. A welcome change to all these short stories.
Our first night. A night under a sky covered with stars, surrounded by an irascible background noise. A night in the middle of a jungle. A concrete jungle. The noise of cars driving by and loud shining billboards substitute chirping crickets and an ocean full of sparkling stars. A night, without the classic hide and seek game. Wild camping in Sweden and Norway is legal. At least in theory.
Angels. It’s neither the first, nor will it be the last one on this journey. No Hallelujah, no 1200 kilometers lift to Germany, but just a simple question. ‘Are you guys in a hurry?’. Victoria, a 23 years old Swedish girl with flat, dark dyed hair, offers us to explore the West coast of Sweden. Her grey Peugeot takes us from village to village and stops near breathtaking islands and rock formations. Accompanied by a CD full of old rock songs. How you remind me, Songs, that make me feel old. This is how you remind me, Songs, that remind me of actually being old.
Victoria is driving to her family’s house. A summer house nearby the sea. A lonely house in a tiny village near the Norwegian border. Naturally she offers us to join her and spend the night together. Truly an angel. Humans tend to exaggerate but Victoria decided to do the opposite. A quite summer house was quite a understatement. I’ve rarely seen a house in such a beautiful and remote area. We are playing ‘never have I ever‘ while watching a gorgeous sunset. ‘Never have I ever been in love’. I am the only one drinking. I take a gulp. Next question.
‘I am sorry for my fellow countrymen – Get in‘. An interesting habit. Almost every second lift talks about his fellow citizens in a bad way. If that’s reprehensible? Might be. If I would talk differently about German people after picking up 2 soaked backpackers near a highway entrance? Probably not. This lift offers Daniel a couch, I’m gonna spend my 2 nights in Oslo with Monika.
‘A different life’ says the 25 years old Norwegian woman. Her slim, trained body reminds of her old cheerleading days, her blond hair in combination with her size remind of Scandinavia. I met Monika 3 years ago on my semester abroad in Australia. ‘A different life’ indeed. It feels great to wallow in memories. Since we first met, both our lives went into completely different directions. 2 directions which led to a reunion in Oslo 3 years later. A hug, a last stroke for Monika’s puppy and the certainty, that I’ve changed a lot during the last 3 years.
7 hours. 5 kilometer. Our first lift picks us up at an average petrol station and drops us a few kilometer later at a great spot. In theory. Road works make hitch hiking impossible. We try it anyway and get dismissed by the police a few minutes later. In the course of this Tuesday, we end up walking 10 kilometer. That’s more than we hitched. We walk from hitch hiking spot to hitch hiking spot. Unsuccessful. We reach our last spot at 6 PM. We’re just about to give up, we’re already talking about dinner and we’re thinking about where to set up our tents. Victoria won’t be the only angel appearing in this week.
Forde, a 39 years old Norwegian whose appearance compares with David Guetta. He does not like this comparison but he prefers it over the Kid Rock one. I agree. Frode and his 16 years old daughter drive us for 280 kilometer and even invite us over to their home. Frode is the boss of a Norwegian fashion label and has a weakness for unhealthy pizza. A weakness for the benefit of me and Daniel. For people living in this area, owning a boat is a common thing. And so does Frode. He invites us for a little fishing trip in the morning. 3 crabs, a rainbow and an effective way of blow drying my long hair after a morning shower.
When Frode drops us at a roundabout near the highway entrance at 11 AM, he handed over a 100 Kronen (about 12 Dollar) bill. He wants to help us by paying for our future ferries (apparently we have to take some in order to get to North Norway). We give thanks to Frode and bid goodbye in a humble way. Our way to Stavanger leads over country roads, through many rain showers, it leads along beautiful sceneries and ends at a petrol station half way in between Kristiansande and our destination. Pouring rain makes hitch hiking impossible, we have to stop at 7 PM. While warming up in the petrol station I spot a grey, pleasant looking men refilling his energy reserves by drinking coffee and eating overpriced burgers. ‘Are you going to Stavanger by chance?’, I asked. 5 Minutes later we’re sitting in his bus. We are driving another 120 kilometer to our destination. Martin is our second last minute lift. We arrive at 10 PM.
Me and Daniel woke up near the city center this morning. We set up our tents near a lake. It was raining all night. When we decided to take down our tents we got surprised by another rain shower which made sure that pretty much all our stuff is wet right now. Hakuna Matata. Today’s weather forecast says rain all day. We’re sitting it out in a Burger King and head to the national parks tomorrow. It’s supposed to be sunny and I hope the forecast is right. We need to dry our stuff. We got unbelievably lucky in these last few days. Luck, that makes me looking ahead optimistically. Luck, that we need if we wanna hitch hike another 2500 kilometer to the North Cape.
Yesterday I checked Frode’s banknote once again. My first Norwegian one. I realized he did not give me 100 but 1000 Kronen. Approximately 120 Dollar. Within the last few weeks I silently crossed a specific mark. 20000 kilometer which means I hitch hiked half way around our planet. Still, there is hitch hiking moments that make me speechless. People whose generosity moves me to tears…Angels…People, I’ll hopefully see again one day in my beach bar.
A beach bar named Dakuna.