30 before 30 – The deadline and the unexpected events

To fully understand what this post is all about, I suggest you read part 1 (when I made the decision to challenge myself and why) and part 2 (when I was halfway into the challenge and already starting to mess things up). I know I said I was gonna publish this post on my actual birthday – which I didn’t do. There’s also a whole bunch of things on that bucket list of mine, that I didn’t do. Some of them because of unexpected, and very unfortunate events. Others because, well, I guess I just forgot about them while being busy traveling solo and two days after returning home I was already on the road again – this time to the Netherlands – with my boyfriend. 

Well, that’s a lame excuse, I know. But I never said I was perfect.

Before sharing the fun stories about everything I managed to complete during the second month of the challenge, I’d like to tell you the shitty story of the day Murphy’s law punched me in the face and made it impossible for me to complete some of the things I’d been excited to check off the list.

On May 11th, I was ready to embark on my last solo trip as a twenty-something (before my last non-solo trip as a twenty-something). I was ready to jump on a train from Paris (home) to Toulouse and do a lot of research on the city my partner and I are planning to relocate to (for business purposes). I was also ready to visit beautiful Narbonne, drink wine and enjoy the ambiance of the south. I was ready to train-travel from France to Spain and visit the flower festival in Girona. I was ready to fly from Girona to Pisa to see the leaning tower and eat pasta all day long. I was ready for one week of soul-searching and living out my bucket list.


But then I got robbed. While still in the peaceful suburbs in the south of Paris, I bought a train ticket at Bourg la Reine, my local RER station. It was eight fifteen in the morning and people were rushing to work and school. On my back, I had a little black backpack carrying my laptop, my camera equipment, the current book I was reading, my tickets and reservations and some cheese and crackers packed in aluminium foil. In my hand I carried a black suitcase, and worn over my shoulder was my cross-body bag containing my wallet, passport and smartphone.

“Shit, my train is already on the platform”, I thought to myself as I ran as fast as I could and hoped there’d be an available seat on the train, to avoid standing like sardines in a can, while balancing all my belongings and my clumsy body all at once.

Sadly, there wasn’t. And to make matters even worse, three huge dudes barged onto the train and squeezed themselves into the already crowded space. The three surrounded me and one started asking bizarre questions while the others were being rude and pushing everyone around them. I tried to hold onto my belongings, but it wasn’t easy, as I could barely even move. The three rude guys got off on the next stop, and that’s when it hit me; I had been robbed.

My passport was still there and so was my phone. My wallet, on the other hand, was gone. And I hadn’t even made it to Paris yet. I had been a victim of a crime in a neighborhood where I was supposed to feel safe. Where mainly families and other peaceful suburbans live. I called my bank and I had my card cancelled. I went to the police and filed a report. I cried. I called my boyfriend. I called my parents. I borrowed money. I missed my train. I was forced to buy a new expensive ticket despite the fact that I showed SNCF (the train company) the documents from the police to prove that I missed my train for a valid reason. I cried again.

Finally, I made it to Toulouse – and all the other places on my list. My budget was drastically cut, but I made it. I later found out that the men who robbed me had targeted me already from the moment I bought a train ticket from the self-service machine at the RER station. The machine was probably bugged and the men managed to steal 1200 euros from my account before my card got canceled. As soon as I found out, I cried again. By then, I looked like a red puffer fish, from all the sobbing.

Because of this unfortunate event, I was unable to do 22. Splurge on something I wouldn’t normally spend money on as I had to prioritize my money on, well, food and accommodation. Which means I also scrapped 23. Unusual Spa treatment and 2. Go to a concert (alone). Being traumatized and all, lead me to comfort-eating pretty much anything that looked somewhat tasty and made it too hard to get started on a strictly vegan diet for a week (27. Be 100% vegan for a week). I’ll try again – maybe even for multiple weeks – on a later occasion. Maybe I’ll even sign up for some sort of a spiritual retreat where I can 3. learn to play an instrument (bongo drums or something?), 11. take a class outside of my comfort zone or 8. take a cooking class (vegan or raw food?), 13. learn to meditate and 14. become “one with nature”. Are those retreats even a thing or am I just assuming things based on stereotypes? 

Now, let’s move on to the things I DID manage to check off my list.

19. Do something that scares me

location: Toulouse, Narbonne, Portbou, Girona, Pisa

So, getting my stuff stolen really sucked, but there was still one positive outcome of the situation. I chose to go on with my one week solo travel, even without the financial security I’m so used to having. I knew I could risk ending up broke by the end of the trip, but I still went ahead with my plans. Although I couldn’t afford to visit museums, go shopping, have spa treatments or anything like that, I did have a great time just wandering, observing, photographing, reading – and eating a lot.


5. Eat whatever I want – and eat A LOT

location: Toulouse, Narbonne, Girona, Pisa

French pastries, Spanish tapas and Italian pasta. Did you really think I’d be able to resist any of that? Of course not! Did you really think I’m someone who cares about dieting? Nah, life’s too short to spend it avoiding all the good stuff. Macarons, eclairs and religieuse’s are simply just too amazing. So are cheese-filled croquettes, manchego cheese, bread, olives, deli meats. And let’s not forget about all the delicious pasta dishes in Italy. And their tiramisu! Yum!


17. See something I’ve never seen before

location: the Netherlands

Amsterdam had been on my bucket list for many, many years – and right before my thirtieth birthday, I got to explore not only Amsterdam, but several other beautiful places in the Netherlands. I fell in love with the charming little cities Delft and Gouda. Honestly, I fell in love with EVERY place we went to while roadtripping through the land of windmills, bicycles and canals. The Flemish architecture, the friendly locals, the picturesque streets and bridges. How could anyone not fall in love with that?

I had never seen real windmills before and I was totally amazed by the ones in Kinderdijk and Zaanse Schans!


21. Explore somewhere new for a day – no map, no plan

location: Portbou, Spain

Portbou is a nice little town on the French-Spanish border (on the east-coast). The local train station is mainly used as a transit-station for people traveling between France and Spain and I’m not sure if that many tourists visit Portbou for any other reason than just to kill time while waiting for their next train? I had three hours to spend visiting the town, before catching my train to Girona – so I decided to just  wander around aimlessly, maybe take some pictures and enjoy the view of the sea from a terrace bar. Besides that, no plan. And it worked. I enjoyed just walking around on my own, with no check-list, no guidebook, no tips or ideas – in a place I knew absolutely nothing about.


26. Visit a really weird museum or gallery

location: Amsterdam and Paris

In my previous post, I expressed how disappointed I was with Centre Pompidou being closed on the very same day I had taken myself out on a date, specifically to go there. Well, not long before I embarked on my solo trip, my partner and I went there with some friends of ours. My partner is not into art at all and is probably the least creative type imaginable (engineers, huh?). Me, on the other hand, I love art. However, there’s a lot of modern, abstract art I simply don’t like. As much as I try to understand what the artist is trying to express with a displayed urinal or a mono-colored painting with no patterns, nothing, I just don’t get it.

In Amsterdam, my partner and I, put our cultural hats back on and visited a couple of museums. I wanted to visit the Anne Frank house, he didn’t. I wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum, but I didn’t even bother asking if he wanted to go there. We did, however, visit the extremely weird Sexmuseum and the surprisingly interesting Red Light Secrets – the Museum of Prostitution.

6. Attend a major sports event

location: Paris, France

The 2017 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship was held in Paris this year, and my boyfriend had tickets to three different games. One of them was my home country, Norway, against Switzerland. He went to see the other two games with his father and promised me I’d get to go with him to cheer on Norway (I was cheering, he wasn’t). I am a proud viking. Of course I had my face painted with the Norwegian flag on each cheek. Of course I had a flag in my hand. At one point I even had two. I had a great time channeling my inner viking…until Norway lost and I left the game feeling grumpy.


30. Do something out of selflessness

location: London and Amsterdam

I have never been a stranger to supporting a good cause, and I’ve always given money to charity and to homeless people when I have a little extra to share. So technically this wouldn’t need to be on my bucket list as it’s something I’ve already done before. I just put it there as a general reminder that one should always motivate oneself to give back to the community and help fellow humans (and animals) in need.

I recently helped crowdfunding an independent drama film, Homeless Ashes – a movie that will raise awareness of homelessness in the UK. And in Amsterdam, I visited The Catboat (animal sanctuary) and donated money.


29. Try a dish I’ve been skeptical about trying

location: Narbonne, France

People who know me well, know I’m not much of a fish eater. Especially salmon. And tuna…I might even go as far as saying I hate the taste of tuna. I’ve tried tuna salad, pasta with tuna and tuna sandwiches and all those things made me wanna vomit within a second.

While in Narbonne, I visited a nice gastronomic restaurant (Restaurant Gaia) recommended by the lovely bed & breakfast I was staying at (La Maison Gustave). I ordered a three course meal – along with an amuse-bouche. For those who don’t know what amuse-bouche is; it’s a single-bite pre-appetizer offered to you by the chef, and it’s not something listed on the menu. It’s a surprise element. A joy for some, a nightmare for picky eaters. There I was, without my significant other, who’s usually there to finish my plate and eat all the things I don’t like.

In front of me, there was a small piece of tuna steak accompanied by some kind of citrus-mousse. The tuna looked nothing like the tuna I’d tried before. It looked like beef. I tasted it. The texture was like beef too! And the taste wasn’t even that bad. Well, the aftertaste was, but some large sips of red wine washed it all away. I texted my boyfriend the good news: “tuna isn’t that disgusting after all!”

His reply? “I told you so”.


My verdict of this project?

Bucket lists should not be taken too seriously, but having one scribbled down ain’t gonna do no harm. My list was the extra little push I needed to book that solo trip. It was the little push I needed to do things I wouldn’t normally do. And thanks to that list, I will always remember the last months of my life as a twenty-something girl.





30 before 30 – Halfway into the challenge

If you haven’t already read it, I suggest you read the 30 before 30 – the challenge begins post before you read this one. Only then will you fully understand what on earth I’m doing and why I decided to take on this challenge. This strange little bucket list of mine. We all react differently to turning thirty. To some, it’s the end of the world. To others, it’s a new start. To me it’s somewhere in between. I’ve started to reflect on all the things I should have done by now and never did, and I’m worrying about all the things people expect me to do that I don’t want to do. Such as buying a house, having babies and getting a nine to five job. This is a lifestyle a lot of people dream of, but to me it’s the ultimate nightmare. Maybe I’m saying this because I’m going through a so-called thirty-crisis, a kind of midlife crisis that didn’t even exist before my generation. I guess you could say I’m just another deluded, starry eyed millennial. I wanna hold on to my goals and dreams and give up on nothing, for no one. Is it still okay to keep trying and put all the responsible adult things on hold, even in your thirties?

I gave myself two months to complete the bucket list. The first month has almost come to an end, and this is what I managed to complete so far (and what I’ve learned from it).

1. Go on my ultimate dream date (with myself)

location: Paris, France

I thought this would be the easiest challenge of them all…I mean, me taking myself out to do fun things and eat good food and treat myself the way I’d want to be treated on a date, how hard could it possibly be? Turns out, I am my own cringe-worthy date. The bad date I would talk about to my friends right after making my great escape from the person I’ve wasted time on. That’s how it went down, when I planned the perfect afternoon-date for me and myself in Paris.

My original plan was to visit the Musée de la Magie (museum of magic) and/or Musée des Arts Forains (museum of carnival arts), have a coffee at the trendy Used Book Café then go to the Centre Pompidou to visit the gallery of modern art before spending the last few hours of the date at geek chic restaurant Comics Burger for dinner. I didn’t wanna do fine dining, Eiffel tower, Montmartre and all that stuff as I’ve already done that thousands of times with my boyfriend. Living in Paris makes you kind of spoiled, I guess.

Things did not go according to plan. Turns out you need to make a reservation in order to visit both of those museums…and obviously, I hadn’t done that. So I had to come up with a plan B. For some reason, I ended up visiting the Père Lachaise cemetery…because nothing says romantic date like a trip to the graveyard? I guess, if my date had been someone who’s fascinated by death and darkness, then sure, but I wasn’t on a date with neither Dracula nor Casper the friendly ghost. Or a goth. Just me.


The Père Lachaise cemetery is the final resting place of famous people like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin and Edith Piaf. However, I got lost trying to find all of those graves and ended up seeing none of them. After two hours of searching, I gave up. I was dehydrated and my feet were hurting. If this had been a real date, we’d already be off to a bad start. Disoriented me, unable to impress anyone. I’m sure I would’ve said “I’m so sorry” over and over again, just to make it even worse.

At least the Used Books Café was open and I immediately got a table. I photographed my coffee and cake, as I always do, and two girls gave me the meanest stare I’ve ever seen…if looks could kill, I’d be dead. I didn’t realize people found latte-instagramming to be that offensive? I mean, they’re not the ones stuck with a lukewarm coffee in the end.


Refueled with caffeine and sugar, I was ready to see some cool modern art at the Centre Pompidou.

However, when I got there, the doors were closed and there was a sign taped to the doors. Centre Pompidou was closed as all the employees were currently on strike. If there’s one thing that annoys me with the french culture, it’s how much they love going on strike. I mean, I get it. They’re french. They’re used to revolutions and protests and beheading royals. But why, WHY did the employees of an art gallery (of all people) have to go on strike the ONE day I cleared my schedule and made time and effort to go there?!


Annoyed and no longer in the mood to have fun at all, I dragged my passive-aggressive self to Kilo Shop to do some therapeutic thrift-shopping. I wasn’t even in the mood to take the metro to the geeky restaurant anymore. I just wanted to eat somewhere close to where I was and get the eff home as soon as I was done eating.


I ended up buying myself a polka dot dress, two basic tops and a black jacket with some silver sequin embroideries on it. And then I grabbed an actually pretty tasty vegan burger at Hank Burger before taking the metro back to the boring suburbs I live in.


Mission accomplished? As much as it was kind of a lousy date, I still did it. It still counts.

24. See a Magic Show

location: Paris, France

I know it’s the cheesiest thing in the world, and I know I could have done it when I was in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, but it just never happened. Never in my life had I ever seen a magic show live – and I wanted to change that.

As mentioned earlier, living in Paris makes you kind of spoiled. If you wanna see a cabaret, a stand-up show, a theater play, a magic show or even a circus performance – it’s all there in Paris, every week, all year around. Obviously, it ain’t free. Far from it. So it’s not something you can do every weekend – unless you’re rich.

So for the first time in my life, I booked tickets to see a magic show performed by a french magician duo (Les Illusionnistes) The show was fun, and I am so glad they didn’t pick me while randomly selecting people from the audience to go on stage with them. They picked my boyfriend, though. The poor guy who doesn’t even feel comfortable showing his face on social media, obviously wasn’t too pleased with it. Although, I think he secretly loved it. Shh, don’t tell anyone!

Mission accomplished? Yes, absolutely!


25. Laugh more

The weekend before I went to see the magic show with my boyfriend, I went to see a stand-up show (A New Yorker in Paris) all by myself. Is it socially acceptable to see stand-up shows alone? To laugh alone? I have absolutely no idea.

Before going to see the show, I had nearly two hours to kill. I decided to head down to the very hyped up instafamous ‘you can’t brunch with us unless you’re a fashionista’ cafe SEASON. I was the least cool person there, and probably the only one who thinks it’s kind of a rip-off to pay nine euros for three small pieces of toast with avocado on them. I left the cafe still feeling hungry, so I went to a nearby supermarket and bought myself a bag of chips. Halfway into the bag, I realized how fat it would make me to eat all that, so I gave the rest to a homeless guy who had raised his beer can and smiled at me while I was stuffing my face with saturated fat. Nothing tastes better with beer than salty chips.

During the show, the comedian asked everyone where they’re from. Some said Germany, others said Greece, one guy said England. More specifically, Manchester. A retired footballer as well. Me, I raised my hand and said Norway. And the comedian then asked me if I was friends with the German girls sitting next to me… Awkwardly, I responded ‘no, I’m here on my own’. I hadn’t felt this much shame since the time I went to a high end Parisian restaurant by myself and whispered ‘table for one, please’, only to be asked to repeat myself and say it out loud – in front of lots of people who were staring at me as if I had just told them I’d pooped my pants.

To make things worse, the comedian told everyone to give me a round of applause for having the courage to come to the show on my own. I felt like I was at an AA meeting, telling people it’s been two days since my last binge.

The show was great fun, though. I laughed a lot and eventually got over the shame of being there friendless and date-less.

Mission accomplished? Without a doubt!

15. Embrace my Fabulousness

Location: Paris

This one have kind of happened by default. Unlike the other things I’ve managed to accomplish for now, I didn’t make plans to do anything to feel “fabulous”. I didn’t get a makeover, nor did I pay to do a professional photo shoot. Those were things I actually considered doing – and I’m not even sure it would have an impact on me!

Instead of paying someone to make me look better, things happened that made me feel better. And as I started to feel better on the inside I also felt prettier on the outside.


These past two weeks, I’ve gained a lot more attention than usual as a blogger and and Instagrammer – and I’ve even become a brand ambassador for a clothing brand and been offered sponsored meals at restaurants as an influencer. Getting free meals and discounted clothes is obviously a big win, but the greatest part of it all is finally getting recognition for all the hard work I’ve put into the articles I write and the photos I take. My biggest dream is to become a published writer – and guess what,  because of all the small wins, I’ve finally had the courage to start writing my first novel!

There’s no such thing as failures, only quitters. And I refuse to be a quitter. Today I’m feeling fabulous!


Mission accomplished? Abso-effin-lutely!

With only four down, there’s still twenty-six left to go. Will I be able to complete my bucket list before turning thirty, or not?

Stay tuned!