At the end of my Alt For Norge journey and often throughout I had many moments where I thought to myself, "I wish had ______ right now!" Or "I'm so glad I thought to bring _____ on this trip!". I have been wanting to write a little post specifically for any future AFN cast members as they get ready to embark on this journey. I know I personally was scouring the internet in hopes that one of the past cast had written about their journey, and while I could find a little bit here and there, I didn't see anything quite like this. I hope this post will be helpful for those future cast members and if nothing else, entertaining to the rest of you! I will try and keep it organized, but will probably just add to this list as I think of things!
*Let's talk cameras! Your cell phone is taken as soon as you land in Norway, so you won't have that for taking pictures while filming. Although I "dabble" in photography and would have loved to bring my nice SLR, I am glad I left it at home. The show has a photographer and I found my daypack was always so full that stuffing a large camera would have been a challenge, not to mention the risk of damaging it freaked me out. I did a lot of research and found a Canon powershot to be perfect! I could keep it hidden in my coat pocket or back pocket most of the time and it could take pictures and video. You should also keep your battery charger and extra memory cards in your daypack at all times. Charge your battery when you can, you never know where you are going and should always be ready! I recommend larger memory cards- they are expensive in Norge! I was so thankful to have my camera for my journey and highly recommend getting one like this.
*Packing cubes....if you don't have them already, go get them right now!! I got these from Amazon and am so glad I had them! The beauty of packing cubes is they keep your things tidy and easy to move around quickly. When filming, you are often told what to pack for upcoming travel and you will use the bag you were given (A Jackwolfskin duffle bag in our case). The packing cubes made it so easy to pack what I needed and put it in my duffle quickly and easily. It also made it easy to access what I needed when on the go. There is nothing more embarrassing than holding up the group because you are digging around looking for that sweatshirt or something. I guess having your bra and underwear fall out might be embarrassing too....all can be avoided if you just buy the packing cubes.
**Pro tip: when packing with packing cubes, roll your items to fit the most and organize them into logical grouping, I.e.: undergarments, tops, bottoms, and what became my favorite, long underwear/winter weather gear.
*You will be traveling a lot and you will want to make sure you always have what you need in your daypack. It should be known that the "mamas" (the folks who take you where you are going, care for you, feed you, make your schedule) will always have what you need and are happy to help you whenever possible, so don't be afraid to ask, but I found it comforting to know I had a supply of essentials with me. My favorite things I kept in my daypack:
*This perfect bag for storing things.
*I kept enough Bonine (like this) and Dramamine for the trip in case of long bus rides, plane rides, boat rides....I had no idea, I just wanted to be prepared. These came in handy to help me calm down on 6+ hour bus rides and I was able to pass them out to other cast mates who got really bus/car sick!
*Tylenonl PM for nights when you just want to fall asleep and have a good rest or are sleeping somewhere precarious like the woods, the arctic, or a tee pee in the snow. This also was something I wished I had packed more of since my cast mates also often came to me wanting one or two for themselves too.
*Jet Lag pills like these worked wonders for me when first traveling to Norway and I felt great after the first day or two without any problems. I also think the fact I stayed awake for the flight across the ocean helped- I didn't sleep until the evening of our first night in Norway. I woke up super refreshed!
*Pixie Glow Mist like this from Target. Now, if you are a male and you are thinking, "I don't need that" you should know that I spritzed this amazingness in more men's faces (by request) than I did female! During a long flight, after a long flight, after a 'cryfest' after being interviewed, after an emotional day, during a long bus ride, you name it, this spray is cool, refreshing and gives you a lift you will be grateful for! It's a must have in your daypack!
*Ladies, keep you makeup with you in your daypack at all times, and have it in a carrier that has a little mirror. You will be so glad you had this!
*You never know where you are going, therefore I found it so great to have a map with me at all times. This came in handy for my final challenge too! I had a map like this one and loved it. Many of my cast mates had wished they had one and tried to find one while on our trips but since we never knew where we were going next, it was hard to locate one. I had the cast mates mark where their families were from, or where the show said they were from on my map. This made it fun when traveling. I could follow along on road trips and mark roads we took, places we ate lunch, and places we stayed. This is one of my favorite mementos from my trip.
*You will be given an English/Norwegian dictionary when you arrive, but I found it helpful to have a couple other resources in my daypack. Others had similar books, and we were glad we did! I had this one, this one, and this one.
*Be sure you have an adapter for your curling iron, shaver, camera battery etc. This is very important!!
*If you have a small speaker and audio jack, bring it. Make room for it, you will want this! We were SO GLAD Lars brought his.
*Although your iphone will not be allowed, you can bring an ipod or music player that doesn't have internet. I didn't have anything like this and never thought I'd care to have one while there, but man I was wrong! While everyone sat quietly listening to music on long trips, I sat listening to the road. Not terrible, but there were many times I wished I had music to listen to and almost bought a portable am/fm radio on more than one occasion. If you don't have an ipod, spend the money and get one now. Load it up with tons of music in all different moods you enjoy and you will be happy you did! Make sure you have an eye mask and earplugs! I kept mine in my daypack at all times just in case.
*You never know where or when you will want to take a quick nap or sleep and these two beauties will make a world of difference. I got one like this and use it daily even still!
*When in Norway, you will have your laundry done for you each week! Pretty amazing actually! There was only one hiccup that I (and a few others) came across and that was having things to wear on the day or two it takes to have your laundry dropped off, washed, and delivered back to you. I wished I had kept a pair of sweats, jeans, bra, underwear, etc. Just tucked away to wear on that one day. I would wear everything I had in the week we would be traveling and would want it all clean before our next travel day only to be left with an athletic skirt, sports bra, and tank top (brrrrr at the beginning of our journey!). Also not flattering if we wanted to go out to a bar or something for the evening. Pack an outfit in a separate location and keep it as the "laundry day" outfit!
*Ladies, bring a small purse you can wear across you. The original packing list the show gives you says you don't need a purse, but as soon as we got back to Oslo and were able to walk around a bit, I found myself carrying my wallet, my camera, and Chapstick etc. and it was annoying! I ended up buying a little purse to carry it all in, but wished I had brought something.
*The original packing list only said bring one pair of shorts, but if you stay the entire time like I did, you will find the weather in Oslo will be warm and summery! Bring more than one pair of shorts and tank tops. The beginning of your trip will be colder, bring sweaters, sweatshirts, etc. That you love and see yourself wearing in layers. You will be given long underwear and will wear it under everything and love the warmth it gives. Be sure to pack at least two pairs of jeans you love that you can wear long johns underneath.
If you've made it this far, congratulations! You are amazing! You should be so excited and Lykke til (good luck) on your upcoming journey!