The travel bug has hit us hard, we want to go everywhere! There is nothing more inspiring to want to travel and see the world, than to hear the travel stories of others. Through travel groups (found Rachel on Girls Love Travel Facebook page) , we have met other travelers with incredible stories, and we can’t wait to share. Their amazing stories need to be told! Welcome to the first RoarLoud travel interview. Meet Rachel Bruskoff who shares her love of Norway, as seen by a professional downhill skateboarder.
A Little Bit About Rachel
I am Rachel ‘Bagels’ Bruskoff. I was born and raised in sunny, southern California. My passions guide my feet all around the globe chasing adventures and wonder. My key to the world is through downhill skating. I participate all across the world in competitions to go fast on my skateboard. When I am not competing, my spirit drives me in the wild. I love to explore all reaches of the planet; but I mostly enjoy mountains and forests.
Outside the realm of skating, I am a chef, a painter, a teacher, a photographer, a designer, an athlete, a yogi, a hiker, and an explorer.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I became engulfed within the downhill skating scene comfortably. From having one friend involved, the sport soon took over my life.
I never thought that I would be traveling the world. I never thought that I would be a “professional” skater. I never dreamed this life for myself any amount of years ago. To live this life is a dream, and I love every day of it. I am ridiculously lucky and thankful.
About Visiting Norway
- Where in the world has been your favorite and why?
My absolute favorite place in the world to visit is Norway. I am a thrill seeker and a nature lover and Norway provides everything that my heart desires. Aside from Norway being very expensive, it was always worth the money.
My Swedish friend and I drove all around Norway, living basically out of our 2 door car. We had a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, a stove, and everything necessary for cooking at hand in our trunk. We were also equipped with all of our skate gear and travel supplies. We were pretty much prepared for everything.
We just drove, with the eventuality of meeting up with friends to skate. We took our time, camping wherever we pleased, on the side of the road, on top of mountains and within abandoned old houses (In Norway it is legal to camp pretty much anywhere aside from private property!) and stopping along the way at anything that enticed our interests. In Norway, as you are traveling along the highways, there will be traffic signs guiding you towards different destinations, accompanying those every so often there are brown signs with a curved symbol. Those signs mean that there is something to see in said direction, a tourist stop or a hike or a waterfall. For the first few days, our travels were dictated by pure random adventure and these signs. We found a glorious hike that lead through these glorious channels of waterfalls, where at the top we found a magnificent calm river with flat land near it; perfect to set up camp for the night. It even had a perfectly flat table-like rock setup, which made cooking easier. The signs also led us to more wonderful waterfalls, there are so many in Norway. We found amazing historical sites and houses from centuries past and even some fantastic sculptures guarded by sheep! We drove through all kinds of terrain. From farmlands to rocky mountains, many extensive tunnels, ferries across wondrous fjords, glaciers, snow covered ground, storm filled peaks, gorgeous historic towns, and enriching modern cities.
In summer as well, the sun pretty much does not set, so we were granted the privilege to always drive with light and see the most spectacular ‘sun sets’; where the sky turned a bright festival of oranges, yellows, and pinks amongst the slightly darkened blue hues. We were also graced with the opportunity to skate at 1am along the most beautiful roads with no worries of tourists, cars, or the night sky blinding our way.
For most of our trip, we were covered in rainfall, unfortunately, but we still made due, skating and enjoying times with friends. When the sun appeared we took advantage of every day, skating whenever we could, exploring any sites along the way and truly enjoying our time in this dazzling country.
- Share a place you found from a local or a lesser known place in Norway
The crazy public restrooms in Norway. No kidding, they are EPIC. You are driving along a highway and off to the side of the road, there may be a random shaped building next to a fjord. Bam! A crazy epic toilet with an incredible view over the fjord! I have the most majestic toilet breaks! There was even one at the top of a waterfall! It was beautiful.
- What is your favorite travel photo and why?
It is really hard to pick one! I try my hardest to take as many photos as possible, but I definitely do not take enough! (Especially on this trip as I lost my phone in Norway and have been without it for a month!)
Coming from Los Angeles, I have not experienced snow in my life. I am still in those 3 year old-awe-I-want-to-jump-and-play-in-it phase whenever I come across snowfall or a snowy landscape. In Norway, I was graced with so much snow! Driving along the road, we would just end up next to glaciers! One day we went to meet up with friends to go skate and we ended up driving up to the very tippy top of this one mountain, it was so high up!! At the very top, there was SO MUCH SNOW. Adding to the glory, at the top, sat a completely untouched glittering blue river adorned with floating ice shelves and more snowy terrain going all the way past my field of view. It was the most beautiful place I have ever witnessed. I wanted to stay for hours and just embrace this spectacle before my eyes, but it started raining, so my stay was short lived. The photo of me smiling is from this place. I could not keep the smile off my face, it was glued, I was SO happy.
- What have you learned from travel?
I have learned so damn much! Travel has truly changed my life, and for the better. Coming from America, I was raised in a very specific way due to our influences, media, school systems, etc. I used to NEVER think that I would leave the country, ever. But once I did I became hooked. I started really learning about the world and the people within it. One thing I love to do when I travel is to engage the locals in conversation to learn how they have been raised, how their birth place has influenced their lives. I love to discover other countries government, laws, history from locals; as we are not deeply taught about everywhere.
I have taken home completely new perspectives every time I land back at LAX. My mind is more open to every human being that I come across, and to any situation I may experience. I also love to learn about food when I travel. I am a chef and traveling is amazing to learn about food! I have learned how to make many different things and where they come from and the history of it.
- Share some travel tips
Well when it comes to packing, I am very different from everyone else. I have to bring a completely different array of things because of my sport so I bring A LOT of gear. I wish I could pack less, but I have learned to be light with what aren’t ‘necessities’ versus the skate gear I need. I truly envy everyone that can travel with just carry ons! I have never experienced this delight!
I have also spent much time living an almost-homeless type life while traveling; to save money. A camping stove is a MUST, as well as a good fork/ spoon and a nice sharp knife. It is very easy to save money by cooking for yourself. Treat yourself to the occasional meal out to enjoy and embrace the local food, but otherwise, a trip to the supermarket for necessities will help save money a lot! Also, camping! Camping helps a ton. It isn’t always the most glamorous option, but it is normally very cheap! Travel light! You may not need those pumps, your whole makeup kit, all your beanies, or shirts and pants (I normally rock with 1-2 pairs of pants). I am not a fashion star when I travel, I am a traveler, I want to feel comfortable and make the best of what I do. Also, make sure to leave room for trinkets and souvenirs!
Best advice as well is to just always check online for plane tickets. Sometimes the deals are just too good to pass up! Save up and go, it will always be worth it. Try new things always and embrace where you are and all the people around you. Enjoy mother nature in all her delights across the globe. Have fun and trust your gut!
Thank you Rachel for sharing your travels with us, if you have any questions or comments for Rachel check out her amazing Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter to never miss travelers who RoarLoud!
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