18 Sep The Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway – The World’s Greatest Commute
Have you ever tried virtual reality before? I’ve tried the headsets out at conferences a couple of times and I have to say, it’s pretty incredible how you can be transported to a new place without ever having to leave home. It seems it would be particularly great for people who are unable to travel due to a disability or just due to lack of money, time…whatever the case may be.
Leading UK car insurance comparison site Confused.com have created a virtual 360 journey along the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway – The World’s Greatest Commute – which winds through the Norwegian Sea. I had the chance to be one of the first people to view it using VR Park virtual reality glasses, which allows you to clip your phone inside and watch the virtual reality journey from the comfort of your own home. You can look up, down and all around to see the road as if you were there, driving along the route.
Out of the 22.5 million UK motorists who drive to work, apparently one in three UK commuters would move house for a better drive to work and one in five (21%) say better scenery would improve the journey. Of all the commutes in the world, the Atlantic Ocean Road is definitely the most scenic. So, Confused.com thought it would be cool to share this road with the UK public in a 360-degree film that can be viewed online or through the Jaunt VR app. If you have virtual reality glasses even better – as it really gives you the full effect.
The film starts with a high-school teacher named Gunnhild Bae Pattersen talking about her commute, explaining “I drive the road each day, back and forth, to work. And sometimes during the weekends as well if we’re going on a trip.” It then takes drivers on a 5.2 mile drive along the Atlanterhavsvegen (Atlantic Ocean Road) which winds through an archipelago of partially inhabited islands which pepper the Norwegian Sea. The view is incredible.
As I move my head from side to side, standing in London, I’m transported to Norway, where I feel like I’m driving the road myself. I am in Gunnhild’s shoes, experiencing her commute. I’m taken from daytime, to nighttime and back again, and the scenery is magical. I can’t help but get goosebumps listening to the moving orchestral music and her tales of the road. She says of the commute; “…in the summertime it can be a bright sunny day and the water is very clear – it’s light-green and you can almost see the bottom. But in the wintertime it gets darker and the ocean is almost black, and you can have a lot of waves crashing in over the bridges. But it’s just beautiful either way, and it’s always very special.”
Two people who drive this road on a daily basis narrate the film, giving an insight into just some of the reasons Norway was named as the world’s happiest place to live in 2017. Next up is 72-year-old Halstein Stene, who was chairman of building the road. He says in a deep and soothing voice; “It’s very, very relaxed. Just to look out on the water, and sit down, and have a smoke, and drive home again. And then I say, ‘I have washed my soul’.
I mean seriously, if you are planning to do an ultimate road trip, this would be it. There’s something about this video that was incredibly moving listening to their stories, plus I absolutely love driving. For me, this would be pretty amazing to do since you pass some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The £12 million Atlantic Ocean Road opened in 1989 – it took six years to build and during construction it was hit by a total of 12 hurricanes! There are eight bridges in total, with Storseisundbrua being the longest and most iconic.
I’ve visited Pulpit Rock in Norway before and that was a life-changing experience. If someone were to ask me, “What is the moment you have felt most alive?” that would be it. I get daily messages about how to hike to Pulpit Rock and I tell them “You just have to see it.” I have a feeling that with the Atlantic Ocean Road, it would be the same and now I really want to go there.
You don’t have to own a virtual reality headset to view the film (although it does enhance the experience). All you have to do is visit this link: https://www.confused.com/car-insurance/worlds-greatest-commute to watch the video online, or you can download the Jaunt VR app and watch it on your phone.