Friday, 24 July 2015

First Impressions of being a Photojournalist/T.V. personality in Norway (Norway post #1)

In the blink of an eye, my dream job as a photojournalist in Norway ended. Each day was so packed with events that it feels like I was there for much longer than 18 days. But at the same time, I remember the first day as if it were yesterday. Being back in Toronto, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings from Norway running through my head and will be writing several posts on my dream job experience. This first post will contain my first impressions doing an unfamiliar job in an unfamiliar place (if you want to read about what this dream job was all about, how I got it, etc., it’s all in the previous post).

The main street in Oslo, Karl Johans Gate, everyone is just having such a good time! Such good vibes from Norway!

Bet you didn't know that Norway has AMAZING street art. The artist recreates regular people's faces! I loved this series because it's very similar to what I do in trying to get to know normal local people.

Clowns on our team, pretending to be asleep to take the train seats to themselves, but then had to give them up anyway LOL.

I time travelled back to the 1900's. 

On my Jobs

I had two jobs: one was to be a photojournalist/social media manager for Innovation Norway USA – which meant that I had to deliver a stream of content for them daily – and my other job was to be a TV personality for an episode DreamJobbing was creating to document my experiences in Norway. When I first applied for the job I thought I was going to have an itinerary and just travel through Norway by myself taking pictures of everything. During the interview for the job I found out there was another component to the job, which was the T.V. component. DreamJobbing offered to make a T.V. episode for Innovation Norway as part of their package for the dream job. If you know me, you know that I’ve always wanted to be an actor, so when I first heard that I’d be filmed for the entire duration and that I’d get to be on T.V., you can imagine my excitement. But it soon hit me when I got there that this was a job, and I had work to do. Every day I was always vigilant about looking for photographic opportunities, trying to genuinely get to know everyone I met, and every night when the crew went out to have fun, I took night photography or sat in my room to edit. At first, I only uploaded pictures at night because I wouldn’t get Wi-Fi during the day, but as the whole crew was uploading many pictures every day, I needed to pick up my part. I struggled in uploading pictures taken by my phone because since I started photography, my standards for quality have grown a lot higher. At the same time, I needed to upload more pictures at a faster rate so I had no other choice. Another hard thing for me was to always be “on” for the camera. While my crew was extremely supportive and helpful in developing my on-camera skills (for example, they advised me to end my sentences rather than talk in one long run on sentence), it was still very draining to be openly enthusiastic about everything (it wasn’t hard because every activity was so great, but still tiring). Although I quickly adapted and became more comfortable in front of the camera within a couple days, I still felt that I couldn’t be 100% myself in front of the camera. But my crew was extremely encouraging, always reminding me to be myself – and they meant it. They were okay with me honestly expressing my fatigue or my frustration on camera, which I really appreciated.
When old men can sit, enjoy, and laugh heartily, you know it's a great place.

This was taken at 12:30 am! Yes it was that bright still! During this time of the year Norway only has 3-4 hours of night time!

Showing off the various weathers of Norway, but all beautiful nonetheless. I felt like I could touch the clouds!

Beautiful sunsets are only one of the 17 million beautiful sights in Norway.

Sunny skies, bright nights, magical clouds, colourful sunsets, and also foggy days! Norway weather is unpredictable, but each beautiful in their own ways! It's like living in a movie over here! 

On Norway

Moments after arriving at Oslo (our first stop), I noticed that there was a very cheery atmosphere about everyone. The weather was beautiful, the birds were singing, and all the people were smiling. I quickly learned about the high quality of life in Norway. Everyone we met was content and happy. A lot of the people we came across were not originally from Norway, but quickly fell in love with Norway after visiting (as we all did, but especially my cameraman John, who within an hour said he was going to move to Norway). I know I haven’t really elaborated on exactly why Norway seemed so wonderful to so many people, but I’ll be diving deeper into that over the next few posts. I’ll share my top three reasons for why Norway is such an amazing place. The first is something that we can all relate to: food!

ALSO, I got to be on live T.V. in Norway! If you want to watch how that went down, scroll down to see the video

I'm at 13:16, 32:10, and 42:35

If you want to see more pictures from my trip, they're on my Instagram, @arnoldlan

Okay stay tuned for the next post! Feel free to ask me any questions or talk to me!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Leaving for Norway Dream Job!

I am moments away from leaving for my dream job in Norway and I feel like it hasn’t really hit me yet. These past four-and-a-half months have been such a crazy ride. There were moments of excitement, confidence, fear, and anxiety. If someone were to tell me five months ago that I would be going on my dream job in the summer, I would have laughed and said “That’s sweet, but let’s be real...” (okay I probably wouldn’t have laughed).

The original Facebook event that my friend Josh To created for me, thank you all!

Mere hours before I found out that I had won, I was hanging out with my dear friend Alex in London being ugly.

For as long as I can remember, “passion” was always the word that drove my life. My go-to icebreaker question when I met a new person was not “what is your favourite ice cream flavor?”, but “what are you passionate about?” I constantly wanted to pursue the things that I loved, whether it was theatre, ultimate frisbee, people, or God. I always had concrete answers for questions regarding my passions in life, my dream jobs, if I could only do/eat/see/drink/be/say one thing in my life. I knew what I wanted and those were the things I would tell people, but regarding how realistic I believed my own dreams were, that was debatable. When photography/videography entered my life a year ago, my dream job changed from actor to traveling photographer/videographer. The answer seemed obvious because I was doing school abroad (the best decisions/experiences are often made during a semester abroad, and I bet everyone who has been abroad for work/study/missions will agree to some degree) in Hong Kong, followed by a backpacking trip in China. I had my newly-bought entry-level DSLR with me EVERY single day because I never wanted to miss capturing a moment. Being abroad with new sights and experiences, plus having my camera, combined with a random goal of making a new friend every single day of my trip fueled by my love for people, naturally molded my dream job.

Meeting with the wonderful Visit Norway team in NYC before heading out! The sweetest people!

I don't usually take selfies but having my dear cameraman/friend/trip dad, John, with me is already quite amazing.

When my friend Jasmine ( first told me about DreamJobbing (, it was for a videography position in Africa with World Vision. I quickly signed up only to find out the opportunity was only for American citizens. So when the dream job to be a photojournalist in Norway came out and I found out that it was open internationally, I knew I had to have it. Throughout the process I got to see the portfolios of many great photographers, seasoned travelers who have seen the ends of the earth, and people who were already knowledgeable in the field of photojournalism. Many of my competitors were more qualified than me, but this was also a realistic shot at my dream job so I pressed on. In the two-and-a-half months that followed, many of my friends seemed to believe in me more than I believed in myself. I was given the opportunity to catch up with high school friends whom I haven’t spoken to in five years because they were curious about why I was being so obnoxious about asking them to vote. Some of my friends told me about how they set alarms on their phones, bookmarked the voting page, or even put sticky notes on their monitors so that they would remember to vote for me daily. I am not eloquent enough to express in words the amount of love and support I received, but holy moly thank you guys. The day I received the news that I had won, I was so incredibly overwhelmed that I loudly exclaimed in Starbucks “OH MY GOSH I GOT THE JOB!!” (also because I had earphones on and could not hear myself). The funniest thing was what my mom told me when I told her I had won. She said, “Arnold, even though I voted for you every single day with multiple emails, I am actually quite surprised that you won.” But to be honest, I really didn’t believe I could win either, I knew I just wanted it so badly that if I didn’t at least try, then I would forever be jealous of the person who did win. So by the grace of God, and the love of my family and friends, I can tell you guys that I AM LEAVING FOR NORWAY IN A FEW HOURS! I quite literally could not have done it without you guys, and every step of the contest has been won by you guys!

So thank you.

P.S. I will be posting regularly (in much smaller doses) on so if you want to follow my trip, you can do so there! You can also see my pictures on Instagram, @arnoldlan.