Some of the places I visited in Norway reminded me of Alaska. But prettier, smaller, comfortable. And I realized how Alaska had been a truly extraordinary experience for my European eyes and mind. The scale, for sure, but most of all because it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t comfortable. There are houses, scattered along the highways, but they don’t seem to be part of anything. Most of the spaces are not designed to live in, they are designed for passing through, to facilitate drivers and truckers. You’re always on your way to some place, but never there. Buildings, shops, diners, gas stations, no one seems to care what things look like. It’s just there and if serves a purpose. I thought I would hate that, but I didn’t. People don’t seem to care what they look like themselves either. It didn’t take long before I didn’t care about what I looked like myself. No one else seemed to, so why should I. I liked that. Life up there is about something entirely different I guess. I’m not sure what. I think it’s coming to terms with nature, space, distance. Finding a place for yourself in the midst of all that.
Up north, somewhere along the Dalton highway, we small talked with the girl behind the counter of a local coffee bar. She told us about the dead animals hanging on the ceiling, how she was working here just for the summer, and was hoping to get a job working on the pipeline later in the year. And for a brief moment, I envied her.