It was 10pm, time many individuals are fascinated by mattress, and I used to be pulling on mountaineering boots. On the opposite facet of the steel partitions of my yellow van was the island of Magerøya. I shouldered my backpack (peanuts, chocolate, flask of espresso), opened the door, and stepped into an impenetrable world. It had been mild for twenty-four hours a day since I crossed into the Arctic Circle two weeks in the past. The enveloping fog jogged my memory of the darkness I’d left behind.Magerøya is 300 miles from Norway’s border with Russia, linked to the mainland by a tunnel. Norway is bisected by numerous fjords that attain far inland and trigger main complications for civil engineers. I’d received used to ready in line for old style automobile ferries, or crossing the fjords by way of tunnels and bridges, feats of engineering paid for with tolls and oil cash. The Nordkapptunnelen (North Cape Tunnel) to Magerøya is among the deepest within the nation. It plunges 2km under sea stage.I made a detour to the small city of Honningsvåg for gasoline and ingesting water. There didn’t appear to be many retailers or petrol stations on Magerøya. There didn’t appear to be a lot of something, other than lavatory cotton dancing on the limitless scrubby wilderness and the occasional reindeer meandering throughout the single-track highway. There have been no vehicles or campervans, simply two motorbikes with German plates, rushing in direction of Nordkapp.The creator together with her yellow vanIt was Knut who instructed me that Nordkapp, despite being generally known as probably the most northerly level on mainland Europe, isn’t, in reality. The actual most northerly level is the headland of Knivskjellodden, a few kilometres west. Solely there’s no highway to Knivskjellodden: getting there includes an 8km hike over tundra fashioned of lakes, marshes and willow scrub to the windswept, barren fringe of the Arctic Ocean.I watched the mountains change color, from pink to yellow to orange, and cried like my coronary heart was going to fall outThe trailhead automobile park was a small patch of gravel, and my van was the one factor parked in it. It was a 3.5 tonne Iveco Day by day, with a twin axle, a three-litre engine, and 150,000 miles on the clock. I’d noticed it on the facet of the highway again dwelling in Cornwall, with a For Sale discover taped on the windscreen. I paid £1,350, with money I saved from selecting daffodils. Regardless of everybody’s clicking tongues, it had already carried me 3,000 miles.I locked it, kissed the rusting paintwork, and appeared round for the beginning of the path. Knut had instructed me it was marked by piles of rocks with crimson arrows painted on them. He didn’t inform me I wouldn’t be capable of see the arrows due to the fog.I’d met Knut in Tromsø. He was certainly one of a bunch of drunken males on a stag evening who had paid me to play my cello within the Ølhallen pub. Tromso was speculated to be the Paris of the North, solely as a substitute of the glass towers of La Défense there have been jagged mountains iced with snow. I keep in mind the blinding white angles of the Arctic Cathedral, like a caterpillar made from white triangles. I keep in mind Sydspissen, the place a derelict constructing lined in graffiti appeared out over a rocky fjordside seashore. I sat on the rocks with a bottle of Arctic Beer, watched the mountains change color, from pink to yellow to orange, and cried like my coronary heart was going to fall out.Catrina Davies busking together with her cello. {Photograph}: Mike NewmanI’d been away practically two months, sleeping in my van by the facet of the empty highway, chasing the midnight solar north, busking for meals and diesel, washing myself and my garments in freezing fjords. It was the yr Myspace was invented – though I didn’t discover out about that till after I received dwelling. The world was about to alter, however that yr few had smartphones, and social media was in its infancy. I used to be distant, out of contact and totally, alone.I’d set off on this journey after two issues in fast succession turned my world the wrong way up. A person I beloved with the uncooked ardour of youth left me for another person, and a unique man I’d identified since childhood died in a freak automobile accident.I boarded the ferry in Newcastle (a route that now not exists) with little cash, a surfboard I barely knew the right way to use, zero information of automobile upkeep and a cello. I’d realized the cello rising up, and I’d been good, however I’d hardly performed since I left faculty. I gave up as a result of I hated enjoying in entrance of individuals. My mother and father lived hand-to-mouth, with no financial savings or property. They wouldn’t be capable of bail me out if all of it went fallacious.Maybe when the whole lot is terrifying, it will get to the purpose the place nothing isLooking again, I’m astounded at my braveness, or foolhardiness. I wasn’t – am nonetheless not – a happy-go-lucky one that sails via life taking the whole lot in her stride. I used to be anxious and tousled. The concept of driving an outdated van to Norway and again made my coronary heart race and my abdomen flip over. Then once more, so did ringing round for automobile insurance coverage. Maybe when the whole lot is terrifying, it will get to the purpose the place nothing is. Or maybe one thing shifted the evening my buddy was killed. I keep in mind feeling liberated, as if dying itself was now a buddy. I keep in mind feeling uncharacteristically, bizarrely, secure.A waterfall in Rago nationwide park, on the best way to Magerǿya island. {Photograph}: AlamyThis feeling lasted proper up till I met Stan within the bar on the ferry. I instructed him about my plan to busk to the midnight solar and again and he bellowed with laughter.“Bought loads of dosh, have you ever?” he stated. “Not low-cost over there.”I parked on what I believed was a quiet avenue in Bergen. All evening folks thronged, leaning on the van, rocking it back and forth. I woke as much as discover empty beer bottles on the again step, and damaged glass by the entrance tyres.I drove to Oslo, which was 300 miles within the fallacious route. I used to be pushing aside the dreaded second after I’d need to take out my cello and busk. I keep in mind empty roads, forests of Norway spruce, the highway tunnelling underneath the mountains for 30km. I slept on the outskirts of the town, in what appeared to be a casual campsite for migrant staff.I’d taken step one on an unfamiliar path, and the trail had carried me forwardI left my van within the camp and lugged my cello, in its heavy picket case, in direction of the centre of the town. I arrange on a boardwalk by the glowing waters of the Oslofjord, which was dotted with yachts and cruise ships. It was sizzling. I longed to be one of many regular folks sitting with their chilly beers at one the cafes with the colorful umbrellas. It took me all day to make the equal of £20. I used to be packing up when a middle-aged man with a gold tooth and a beer stomach leaned in shut and invited me to spent the evening with him on his yacht, in trade for NOK10,000.I gave up my dream of seeing the midnight solar. It was too far. I went to Kristiansand, a metropolis on the south coast, aspiring to loop again to Bergen, and save up for a return ticket. That might be greater than sufficient of an journey. By the point the police moved me on I’d made about £40. Sufficient to get to Stavanger, I believed. I hadn’t bargained for the ferries, three of them, every costing between £5 and £10.Kristiansand harbour. {Photograph}: AlamyI discover it arduous to belief folks, and my insecurity could make me appear standoffish. I battle with asking for assist. I’m frightened of rejection. However this time I had no alternative. I defined my predicament to the person subsequent to me within the queue, whose title was Jan Erik. He didn’t simply pay for my ferry ticket. He provided me a mattress and a sizzling bathe, took me crusing and kayaking, instructed me I used to be courageous and free, persuaded me to maintain going.The path was a scramble. I slid and fell, touchdown on boulders. The boulders have been strewn with what appeared like telegraph poles, big matchsticks washed up in a storm. I discovered the trail once more and hauled myself up on to a small grassy headland. There was a flagpole caught into a chunk of wooden. Knivskjellodden, it stated. 71° north.I climbed to the highest of the headland. Reindeer loomed out of the fog, antlers first, just like the branches of wandering bushes. I wove my approach via tons of of cairns, fastidiously constructed towers of rocks, left by others to mark the tip of their very own lengthy journeys. I climbed to the best level and sat on the mushy, cushiony grass. I checked my watch: 11.30pm. The fog was nonetheless so thick I couldn’t see the ocean, though I may hear it and odor it.Reindeer grazing within the north Norway summer time. {Photograph}: Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesI lay again, closed my eyes, let my ideas unfurl backwards via the times and weeks and months. The rollercoaster of grief and worry, the moments of liberation, the moments of pure pleasure. Stopping by the facet of the highway to face bare underneath a waterfall and wash my hair. Mendacity on my again in a shallow river, letting the sun-warmed water ease the stress out of my cells. I’d seen muskoxen, and walked to the sting of a glacier.The ocean was flat calm, just like the floor of a mirror, just like the stillness on the finish of the worldI considered the numerous individuals who’d dropped cash, and even notes, into my hat. The policeman who’d persuaded the safety guard to let me play within the procuring centre within the appropriately named Hell. Jan Erik and his sailor pals. Henrik and Knut. Again and again, strangers had caught me earlier than I fell. Shaken up by dying, I’d taken step one on an unfamiliar path, and the trail had carried me ahead. The not possible had turn out to be doable, desires had turn out to be actuality. It appeared actually magical.The fog was lifting. I sat up and stared, mesmerised, on the horizon. The ocean was flat calm, just like the floor of a mirror, just like the stillness on the finish of the world. I may hear reindeer tooth tearing on the grass. The cairns have been a military of troopers, marching victorious over the cliff. I checked my watch. Midnight. The solar was a fiery disc on the horizon. In entrance of me a sundown sky streaked with crimson and gold. Behind me birds, singing up the daybreak.I felt buoyed with reduction and a way of accomplishment. I imagined returning south, returning dwelling, telling my family and friends (and ex-boyfriend) how I’d tapped right into a superpower I didn’t know I had, discovered a freedom I by no means knew existed. I had travelled 2,000 miles, simply by enjoying my cello on the road. I believed my journey was over. I had no thought it had solely simply begun.Catrina Davies is the creator of Fearless (Summersdale, £9.99), which is accessible on the Guardian bookshop