journey beyond the map
Hi there, I am Hege, the founder of the travel blog The World By Hege!
I am also a Norwegian Army Officer / Social Scientist / Traveler and aspiring Dancer. Lover of the World in general, and Cuba and The Caribbean in particular (as well as Central and South America) (AND my native Norway).
Three years ago I visited Cuba for the first time on a long solo journey, stayed much longer than I had planned – and my heart kind of never left. Finally, in January 2021, I took the step and moved here! So now I have been living complicatedly in a classic Cuban apartment in Old Havana for over a year.
Falling in love with the Caribbean culture was beyond unexpected for a shieldmaiden like myself, and I did travel regularly to Cuba for a couple of years before I moved here. And suddenly, here we are, this is my life now!
Why I Write!
I really want people to get to know Cuba! There is so much more to this Caribbean island than the stereotype impression you might get from headlines about world politics or dry history lessons.
This is why I have made it my mission to elaborate! Here you can expect to find a lot of information about the intriguing history, the mesmerizing culture, and numerous adventures Cuba can offer exploring visitors today.
And of course the Latin and Afro Cuban dances I hope you will LOVE, too! You will also find articles about great scuba diving sites in the whole region. Exploring under the surface is one of my long-time passions, and I really want to share that with you.
Little by little, I am also exploring all the other Caribbean islands in this beautiful region of the world. At the same pace, you will find all about these adventures, and travel tips for you, in the blog articles and resource advice.
Becoming A Confident Solo Traveler
I have traveled my whole life, a lot of the time solo. Sometimes because no one else could join me, other times because I really enjoy the solo traveling experience.
As a result of these journeys, I realize I have developed a confidence and set of skills and knowledge that other aspiring solo traveler might benefit from! Many people tell me they would love to embark on solo adventures, but for various practical (and not so practical) reasons, find it a bit daunting.
The Journey To Becoming A Senorita And A Dancer
I am clearly not a professional dancer (and still not Cuban). As a matter of fact, I have been in the army most of my adult life, contemplating war, peace, and politics.
With stubborn Scandinavian hips that are not Caribbean at all, those rhythms don’t come easy. When I was a little girl I actually danced a lot! But then there was university and the army and work and life, and I forgot all about it.
Until 2019, during a six months solo journey in Latin and South America, I had what I can only call a “magic moment”, as I rediscovered the absolute BLISS of dancing; the music and the rhythm, and the flow with a dance partner.
There is nowhere in the world where dancing is as magic as on the weird island of Cuba!
A Shieldmaiden From “North Of The Wall” – Norway!
Born and raised in polar Norway, I grew up in the super peaceful Norwegian countryside.
After college, I went on to Officers School in the Norwegian Army, and later I also did my Master’s Degree in Social Science at Nord University in the polar city of Tromsø.
Choosing a military career has given me the opportunity to serve in the most difficult places in the world. Growing up in such a peaceful and privileged country, I know I would not have been able to learn as much about the world at large without the army.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have experienced both war and conflict as well as the bliss of peace.
After my long solo journey in 2019, and 20 years in the army, I decided I needed to change my path. A “lifetime” of focus on war and conflict requires some level of countermeasures – and I discovered exactly those countermeasures in the Latin American culture, dancing, and nature experiences above and below water.
But don`t take my word for all of the above, check out my stories – and then make the journey yourself!