I love traveling. I’m in love with experiencing new countries and places filled with new people, impressions, smells, and stories. Stories that seem to come into existence by themselves as you move along and let your curiosity lead you. This last weekend was one of those moments while I was in Norway speaking at an event. I was looking forward to it so much, I had packed all kinds of great outfits. But in my haste only one sweater.
When you’re preparing before an event, you’re often sitting somewhere in a room. But luckily, I had a free hour somewhere in between meetings and decided to wander around Trømso. In my sweater, scarf, and winter coat. But it was still so cold! All around me I saw local Norwegians in their summer clothes, looking as if the cold didn’t bother them a single whit. Aside from a handful of Japanese tourists, I was the only one dressed for an arctic expedition.
I decided to find out if all Norwegians are simply so hardy that they can walk around in t-shirts all year round, or that they have a trick or secret that I wasn’t aware of. So, I walked into an outdoor outfitter packed with intimidatingly sporty people and was promptly helped by André who, of course, was also walking around in a t-shirt. I asked André if everyone in Norway was born with this natural resistance to cold or if there was something I should know. And with a sly smile he told me: The secret to everything is Merino Wool. Then over the next 15 minutes he enthusiastically told me all about the different grades of Merino, how many layers you should wear when going walking, running, or trekking. He showed me socks, leggings, long and short sleeve shirts, and even underwear. All from Merino wool. Then André said, there was no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. A true ambassador for Merino wool. And then, with the worlds most solemn poker face, he said: it does not get warmer than this Merino stuff. If it did, the sheep would be wearing it.
Understandably, I immediately stocked up. And now I’m the proud owner of Merino socks and a variety of shirts. So, if you see me riding my bicycle this winter in little more than a t-shirt, it’s not that I’ve suddenly grown as tough as a polar bear, but that I simply learned the secret of the Norwegians. And later, the only thing I forgot to ask when my local counterpart jumped out of the sauna and into the ice-cold water was if her bathing suit was also made of Merino. Because when I did the same all I could do between my chattering teeth was wish I had dressed better for the occasion.