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A to B (AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN) March 2014 Texts and images: UWC RCN students, alumni, staff and friends Editor: Julia Romare Layout and design: Julia Romare and Ana Flecha Marco Made in Flekke

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EDITORIAL Julia Romare

Returning to RCN after winter break, I was supposed to spend a little less than 15 hours travelling. By train. To Bergen. Unfortunately, I missed my train and had to wait a whole day in Trondheim for the night bus to Förde. I started thinking about the countless hours we spend on getting from one place to another, from A to B. Imagine all of the people we have met, the stories we’ve heard and the memorable moments we’ve had. These are your experiences and tips. Your contributions. Your travels.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Please remember that you have to be safe when travelling, with others and by yourself. Maybe think twice before you decide to hitchhike and to tell friends/family when you plan to be back. You know the drill.

MIND THE GAP Teresa Irigoyen LĂłpez

Even though it has already been four years since I started using the undergound as my main mode of transport I can still perfectly recall that very first time I secretly jumped into one of those scary metro trains on my own. It was my first month living in Madrid and I had just moved from the cheerful sunny south of Spain so everything in the capital seemed dangerous, frightening and incredibly intimidating. My mother made good use of my own astonishment to frighten me even more and make sure that I would never dare to go out by myself, let alone take the metro. However, the curiosity of a 12-year old is too big and I could not resist the charms of the unknown so I decided to use that Friday afternoon wisely to, instead of going out with new friends (like I later told my mother I had done), have my first metro-adventure. I remember being lost and not wanting to go out of the wagon I had finally gotten into. Transfers were too scary so I just travelled all the way until the last station on that line number 4. And back. From that moment on, taking the metro became almost one of my favourite hobbies. I now know every station by heart, where each line can take me, where the best conections are, which stations have underground museums or shops‌ But the fact that I know where I have to stop so that I needn’t walk that much because there is an elevator or mechanic stairs is not why I like taking the metro so much; for me the city life happens as much outside in the streets as it does it the dark underground tunnels. In them I have met the most interesting personalities, listened to the best music concerts, seen the most fantastic shows or heard the most outrageous conversations. By simply sitting

(or standing, metros are very crowded places!) next to someone reading a book I have discovered some of my favourite authors. I first heard about Wikileaks and the news about bin Laden’s death in one of my metro trips. The underground also taught me how to recognize pickpockets and overhearing some small talks between friends has given me an increcible amount of food for thought. Thanks to this transport, I’ve not only come to know the stress of Madrid’s city life but London’s tube also showed me how mad the English get about time delays and crossing the art nouveau entrances and using the french Métropolitain also gave me a taste of what life in Paris would be like. I know it is scary to go “down there” and it doesn’t necessarily make your travels more pleasant, but it teaches you a lot more about the place you are visiting and its people than taking the colourful turistic bus (and it’s also a lot cheaper!).

TRAVEL TIPS #1 Frida Videbæk Andersen & Leonore Wünsche

1. Never trust your own orientation skills at places far from home. It might seem as a genius idea at first and Lonely Planet might seem to agree, but the chance of that you end up somewhere in nowhere on an island where nobody speaks English should actually not be underestimated. 2. Order child meal when travelling with plane - even though the portions are small and probably full of food additives, you’ll get a colouring book and a fancy Spongebob-backpack that you can run around with. 3. Be adventurous -abandon your map and don’t be afraid of jumping on a random bus-, yet do it with style - watermelon-aloe vera smoothie will most likely not change your conception of local food to the better. 4. Always be equipped and prepared for all kinds of attacks, especially fake monks attacks happen normally when you expect them the least.

LABADI BEACH Jonah Berean & Nghiem Huynh

MISE summer research camp in Ghana is a thought-provoking experience, a Math discussion platform, a small family, an inspiration to everybody. MISE Math camp is confused problem and dazzling solution, special characteristics and humble tutors, serious classes and fun activities, creativity and productivity, small community and national impact, students and friends, same interest and different perspectives, sharing and shining, an abiding memory ‌

And he went on and on about how the meaning to be found by exploring the world and ultimately the universe was of greater value than any other pursuit that mankind could attempt. If we can derive so much meaning from human relationships and the happenings of our planet then why not suspect that beyond our fragile domain the meaning to be had would be much greater. Meaningfulness on an order of magnitude greater than anything our human minds could even conceive. But his friend’s reply was as calm as it could be. As if the question had been raised several times and was of common occurrence to him. He went on to explain that seeing meaning in this way was a fallacy. That there are as many numbers and points of value between zero and one as there are in the entirety of the real number set. We need only look around us.

VW KOMBI María Teresa Julianello Illustration by Ana Flecha Marco

It is with a sad heart that I announce the demise of the greatest vehicle of the greatest era in modern history: the VW Kombi has no longer been deemed safe for our hyper hysterically politically correct XXI century and has therefore ceased to exist. A number of former commune dwellers now greying and rocking grandchildren have seen the symbol of their young free days wiped out by EU bureaucracy. A number of reasons have been offered: no room for airbags, poor design, not meeting basic regulations. Scoffers have called them ridiculous as the flower power children were driving vehicles that were basically ozonehydrocarbon toxic smog waggons. I have personally gotten to know that the heating system was based on exhaust gasses, for example. Not to excuse anybody but no one was mentioning these things then and when you were interested in getting your surfboards in to hit the closest biggest waves in the Pacific or loading the most boxes of organic peyote, I mean pumpkins ,the giant hump in the back of the Kombi made it perfect. And who cares if the frontal crash protection was non existent if you are driving stoned through the Mojave desert, let’s face it (I don’t mean me, of course) The Kombi was perfect: it was wide and big and you could use it to sleep, to cart friends around to all the summer festivals baby basket included, it was sturdy enough to chug its way up the Andes from Bolivia to Macchu Picchu or the hot badlands in Texas through Route 66 and because it was long and wide, you could just throw your Indian rugs, burn the patchouli sticks and rock a night’s sleep anywhere.

I fondly remember the number of Kombis I rode, the ones I drove and the people in them. Totally colorful and decorated with heavenly psychedelic swirls in bright colors, Kombis had a life of their own and a smell too. They were a home on wheels and a community experience and you actually did not need a home because you could park it anywhere and just live in and out of it. They were fondly loved by owners and friends and rudely insulted and jeered at by passers by in those appalling gas guzzling Lincoln Continental models carrying just one person, while the playful Kombi carried a happy go lucky crowd inside listening to Hendrix. It was the closest thing to Jack Kerouac ‘s type of road freedom. I bought my grandson Matteo a scale model very enthusiastically, but after looking at it for 2 seconds he went back to Disney’s PLANES being a fan of the Chupacabra character. I guess that is a sign that the Kombi no longer works with the younger generations. I must confess I saw it coming and not because of the outdated design and the EU bureaucratic rules that squashed it out of the market. Last summer I went to Venice beach in LA and visited the squatters on the beach, some of who live in and out of their Kombis —in 2013 with grey dreadlocks and still listening to Jim Morrison. It looked a tad outmoded I thought… man, you kinda need to get off the welfare system sorta... you know… I mean it was groovy while it lasted but Nam ended in 72, dig it? Yeah. Right. Peace. It got worse: then we drove (not in a Kombi but in an environmentally safe and driver-friendly, US government approved vehicle of Japanese name) along Route 66 in New Mexico and stayed in the Blue Motel that once hosted Hendrix on tour. Albuquerque was not a rock’n’roll experience, granted, and neither was the run down, flea bitten carpeted joint in a now seedy part of town. As Morrison sang wistfully “This is the end, my friend” and it’s time to say goodbye to all that. All along the watchtower the dream came true and the fond memories will stay forever.

If readers of this article were expecting some juicy stories about what happened in those Kombis I rode and drove, I’m sorry to disappoint you but they are private, not that juicy really but certainly very dear to me. The Kombi was like no other vehicle because it was from the people (hence the name) and real people made it theirs. It was not about showing off how much you paid for it but about making it a group experience. It was not about riding around town and impressing anyone, it was about riding into the horizon and over the rainbow with as many as shared your dreams. It was not about advanced technology but advanced consciousness. It was comfortable, no strings attached, on the go and very a go go. Ready, friendly, fun, homy —not cold metal but a warm heart. Unique.

TRAVEL TIPS #2 Jakob Barnwell

Always count the number of seat rows on an airplane from the emergency exit row to your seat - just in case! & Feeling dizzy or motion sick while travelling by plane, boat, car, train or whatever? Simply lean your head to the side for a couple of minutes. It takes away the feeling of nausea, but on the downside you might look silly if you don’t have a shoulder or window to lean on :-)


Car sharing is a booming phenomenon that, until very recently, was restricted to Central and Northern Europe. Now it is creeping southwards, and people who never thought would ever get into an stranger’s car are now assiduous users of the dozens of portals that are popping out in the internet, dedicated to shared rides, commutes, exchanges. The crisis is forcing us back to a barter economy, to communities where what is mine is yours. People are finding new uses for their old knickknacks, the spare room of their houses, everything they don’t need. The first time I took a shared ride, I was intimidated. In my country, people don’t hitchhike. They drive, and the young and the poor ride buses or the ever scarcer trains. Traveling is hard, in our country of rugged orography, of mountain chains and hidden villages. Car sharing is changing the paradigm, leveling the field. Now, if you have a car, you will be able to run your own micro-transport company, and monetize your vehicle. If you don’t, you will be able to travel to a destination for a third or a fourth of the usual fare.

With car sharing, people from all backgrounds and social strata come to mingle and, for a few hours, forge an illusory camaraderie that will dissolve as spontaneously as it appeared. Serbian grandfathers with a penchant for national hymns, old hippies turned into entrepreneurs, old hippies that are still hippies, young freelancers tethering in the brink of bankruptcy, matronly German matrons, immigrants who have just arrived into the country, wanderers who call home anywhere they leave their backpack. I have met wonderful and awful human beings while car sharing, made long-lasting friendships and met people I want to avoid forever. With time, it has become my favorite way of traveling. The best journeys are something to remember, and the worst are still acceptable. There is an odd charm in traveling with unexpected companions, to share your dreams or to be baffled at another person’s perspective. It is, somehow, soothing to hear strangers pour their heart out and to do the same in exchange, only to never see them again. Other times, you put on your headphones and just watch the landscape stretching into infinity, while ignoring the personal confessions of the person next to you. It is a lesson in life, to learn to sit back and enjoy the ride, however it may be. And, let’s be honest, it’s also great to save cash.


I call hitchhiking to Dale “travelling at its minimum.” Minimum, in terms of the travelling distance, and the level of excitement the travel provokes. The action of showing thumbs to random drivers on the road becomes mundane when one hitchhikes ritually every week. As we all know, roads in Sogn og Fjordane do not get any smoother over the years, and skyscrapers do not pop up like they do in my hometown. However, these two horses brightened many of my trips to Dale. They are the sign of arriving in the “city” centre; they are the indicator of civilization; and they are my saviour. Most important of all: I just love horses.

A to b (and Everything in Between)  

Impressions on travelling by UWC RCN students, alumni, staff and friends, curated by Julia Romare.

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