Turf homes and arctic adventures

When I traveled through Norway by boat I stopped in Nordkapp (North Cape), the northernmost point of Norway (71° N). 

The Sami are indigenous people found throughout Scandinavia (they are also called Lapps or Laplanders). They speak their own language – called Sami – and have inhabited parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia for at least 5,000 years. Why are they always in the north, do you ask? Because reindeer are arctic animals that can only survive in the north, and reindeer herding is the livelihood of the Sami people.

Traditional Sami homes are called Gamme or Goahti, meaning ‘turf home’. A gamme is built on top of wooden arch beams and covered in layers of bark and turf, which is incredibly insulating. We passed by this gamme while in Nordkapp, and I thought it was fascinating.

I love that something so basic and culturally specific can influence modern architecture. I think it’s clear to see the correlation (or evolution?) between the no frills Sami gamme and this hidden-on-a-hill beauty from Interior Design Magazine.

The past is always present.

Spirit in the sky

I’m not into astrology, but rather, astronomy.

The Universe: An unedited photograph from the Hubble Telescope

The Universe: an unedited photograph from the Hubble Space Telescope

Constellations are composed of endless messages and signs regarding the past, present and future.  There are over 100 billion galaxies the size of our galaxy, and over 100 billion stars are in each one (wow!).

I took interest in the stars months ago when I realized that our perfectly mathematical universe directly relates to scriptures in the Old and New Testaments.  I once heard someone refer to the solar system as a ‘great clock’ and he described its hidden, esoteric purpose as a ‘poetry of terrible beauty.’  God’s handiwork is a sight to behold.

The spirit of Malibu

Sure, I could share a photograph of the clear blue Pacific to illustrate the beauty of Malibu.  After all, the ocean is probably the first thing you think of when you envision the real-life fantasy that is Malibu, California.

One of the reasons I love Malibu is because it’s not at all what you expect it to be.  It’s not like Beverly Hills or Bel Air, and it’s not just another ritzy beach-side community: it’s a low-key, surfer haven found in the California canyons, a wonderment of old school American west, natural beauty and a dash of organic, haute hippie culture.  This is the real Malibu.

How I see it: Malibu, CA

How I see it: Malibu, CA

Yes, heaven is real

When I was 19 I was living in a dorm in London, England.  Everyday I would walk down the corridor and admire a gigantic world map that was hung on the wall.  Before long I realized that I loved maps, and every apartment I’ve lived in since has been adored with at least one very large map. 

One afternoon I went to the map, closed my eyes, and pointed to a completely random destination: I landed on the Maldive Islands, an archipelago island nation spread throughout the Indian Ocean-Arabian Sea.  I had never even heard of the place, but as soon as I looked it up and saw that heaven was real, I promised myself I would go.  I haven’t made it there yet, but when I see pictures like this it reminds me of why I love travel in the first place – it is the exploration of the beautiful and the unknown.