6 years ago, I was about to finish my undergrad studies and quite frankly, I felt a little lost. I thought I had spent the past 3 years working towards my future but when that supposed future came closer, I realized that it wasn’t how I pictured it at all. So I sat down and tried to figure it out.
I had always wanted to move abroad, yet again, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in literature and culture studies with a minor in social science meant I was playing it safe. Not that a degree like that would necessarily grant me big career opportunities, but to me, it meant I could always find some boring office job at one or other cultural institution. Which, up until that point, was something I thought I’d want.
It wasn’t until graduation year that panic suddenly set in. I came to realize that I wanted something else, something different, something exciting. Yes, I had planned to do my Masters in Sweden, which would arguably have been an exciting thing to do, but at that point in my life, it didn’t feel exciting enough.
So, I spent a lot of time weighing out my options, researching other grad studies in more exciting, yet not completely unrelated fields of study, trying to figure out a budget and how I’d be able to finance whatever it is I would end up doing - all while finishing up my coursework and running a small, yet growing, YouTube channel that I didn’t tell anyone about because “being a content creator” just wasn’t a thing back in 2013.
Fast forward half a year and I had figured it all out. I’d spend a year travelling around Northern Europe while doing an online course in Northern Studies, before going on to pursue a Master’s degree in Indigenous Studies in Tromsø.
Yes, I would move to the other end of Europe - the Arctic!
It certainly felt like the adventure of a lifetime at that point and I had no idea that 4 1/2 years after moving to Tromsø, I’d still be living in Norway and that I’d be back in the digital world, only this time being able to say that I have a blog and YouTube channel with a lot more pride.
This blog of mine has come such a long way - believe it or not, but the first posts I ever published were not about Norway at all, but about Scotland! They recently got a makeover and still sit in my archives - yet, naturally, while living in Tromsø, I produced a hell of a lot of content on Norway and specifically Tromsø, which has started to rub me the wrong way lately.
Back in 2013, when I visited Tromsø for the very first time - almost an entire year before actually moving there - the city was completely different to the way it is now. Back then, nobody I talked to at home actually seemed to have heard of the city before, let alone be able to pinpoint it on a map. Fast forward to 2019 and a lot has changed! Everyone knows about Tromsø now and, of course, everyone wants to visit!
I was lucky to have been part of this tourism boom in that my blog probably wouldn’t have grown if it hadn’t been for all my Tromsø content. However, things have changed since 2013 and, more importantly, I have changed.
After 3 years in the city, I had to realize that I’d lost my enthusiasm for the place. While I was overly excited about the place when I first visited and first moved there, this enthusiasm turned into apathy over the years. The truth is, those first years of living in Norway weren’t all sunshine and daisies - they were actually quite hard and understandably so. Moving abroad is no walk in the park after all. I guess over time, however, I seemed to connect all the hard times I had with the place I was living in and that’s when I knew it was time to go.
I moved to Stavanger in the summer of 2017 for lots of reasons: being able to travel more, being able to afford a nicer flat, escaping the darkness of Northern Norwegian winters… most importantly of all, however, to get out of Tromsø. A city I simply fell out of love with.
While Stavanger has been an absolute blast so far, running a blog under the name “Snow in Tromso” meant that the city would continue to haunt me. Well okay, maybe I’m a bit dramatic here - I don’t have a problem giving advice on Tromsø, I actually still enjoy it! Unfortunately, though, I can’t quite share the enthusiasm of others about Tromsø anymore.
To be quite frank, it sometimes feels as though Tromsø is an ex-boyfriend of mine who was absolutely loved by all my family and friends and even though we parted on friendly terms, everyone keeps asking me if we won’t end up back together again.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not really a fan of reminiscing the old times. In the same way I wouldn’t want to get back together with an ex, I have no intention of ever moving back to Tromsø - let alone, a burning desire to revisit the city. And trust me, I’ve thought about revisiting a number of times but it always felt like something I had to do - to cave in to the comments, for the pageviews, for the Instagram likes - but I just honestly don’t want to.
And if I’ve learnt anything from the crap year that 2018 was for me (I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and spent more time in the hospital and my GP’s office than I would have liked), it’s that I can’t continue producing content for any platform unless I thoroughly enjoy it.
That’s why “Snow in Tromso” has got a new name and that’s also why I’ve decided to spend less time on social media going forward and more time actually producing blog posts and videos. At the end of the day, if I feel forced to create certain content, then there’s no point even running my own channels and it would make much more sense to go back to working for somebody else instead of investing the majority of my time into something that makes me feel burnt out.
So, from now on, this little space of mine, along with my YouTube and all social media channels, is called “Nordic Wanders”. I actually registered the domain and secured all social handles while I was still living in Tromsø - that’s how long I’ve been toying with the idea of a rebrand, only that it always seemed like way too much work and a much bigger hassle than necessary.
Well, I feel the time has finally come!
To me, the name provides a lot more freedom to write about Northern Europe in general, whereas with "Snow in Tromso” I always felt like going off-topic if I didn’t write about Tromsø or the Arctic, let alone any other country than Norway. The name also represents my own journey (or wander - get it?) of how I first travelled around Northern Europe, before moving to Tromsø and then going on to live in Stavanger and exploring more of Northern Europe from there.
I had no idea of where I would end up back then and I have no idea of where I’ll end up now, but one thing is for sure - I’m most passionate about Northern Europe and the Arctic, so running a blog with a broader focus on the north will hopefully allow me to do this for maybe another 5 years?!
Content-wise, I won’t be changing much. All my articles about Tromsø and my e-guidebook will still be available via my Tromsø archive and the city is still part of my (and this blog’s) history after all. I’ll still focus on these 3 areas when producing content:
Travel (not just in Norway or Scandinavia, but all of Northern Europe)
Life (expat tips and stories - mainly focussing on Norway, though, as that’s the country I know best from an expat point of view)
Culture (providing an insight into local cultures and traditions - again, I’d like to write about all of Northern Europe here but for the moment, the Nordics are my field of expertise)
I guess, the biggest change for me personally, will be being able to visit the Baltics and Russia, or Scotland and Ireland, without feeling like it’s off-topic or feeling as though I have to find a connection to the Vikings while I’m there.
Not that anyone except me would expect that, of course, but from an Instagram standpoint, it’s the snowy Nordic landscapes and Northern Lights that perform best. Which brings me to another change: I’ll be spending less time on Instagram.
I’ve been doing so for the past couple of weeks and it feels really good! I don’t want to feel forced to post once a day to be honest as that just results in posting mediocre stuff that I’m not happy with. Instead, you’ll see less of me on the platform (so turn on post notifications if you don’t want to miss anything!) but if you see my content, you’ll see things I’m genuinely excited and enthusiastic about!
I know that a lot of content creators are equally frustrated with all those algorithms on social media and YouTube in general and for many, 2019 is the year to cut the BS and keep it real. So basically, if you just want to see pretty pictures (of snow in Tromsø for instance), there are hundreds of accounts that’ll give you exactly what you want. If you, however, like to receive useful infos, travel tips and locations of hidden gems, then that’s exactly what I can provide on my Instagram account and our community hashtag #nordicinsider!
Long story short, all I really wanted to say is: I’ve changed the name of my blog because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages! You can still use all old URLs and are still subscribed to me on social media, so don’t worry about having to do anything!
As I said, there won’t be completely different content from me going forward, but there will hopefully be better content, so I hope you’ll stick around!
As for me, I’ll probably go offline now as I’m genuinely afraid you hate the new name… lol!
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