NICOLE WARNE: NORWAY Blogger at GaryPepperGirl IMAGES COURTESY LUKE SHADBOLT; LOUIS-MARIE DE CASTELBAJAC In 2014, I surprised my fiancé with a trip to Norway for his 30th birthday. We spent our days driving through fjords and hiking to Kjeragboulten and Trolltunga. Trolltunga—a piece of rock sticking out horizontally from a mountain 1,100 mts above sea level—was an 11 hour round trip hike through rain, sunshine, and snow-capped mountains. We were exhausted when we arrived, but it was worth every step. As I walked out towards the ledge, I recall feeling a sense of vulnerability, satisfaction, and empowerment for making it this far. We had pushed ourselves to overcome any fear, to be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking experiences of our lives. My business is built through digital media, but being this removed from civilisation with nothing but the clothes on our back and some small supplies provided a moment of complete serenity. (Clockwise from top left) Trolltunga, the rock ledge above Lake Ringedalsvatnet in Norway; barrels of Castelbajac’s Armagnac; sprawling greens in Loubersan; a statue at Castelbajac’s home. LOUIS-MARIE DE CASTELBAJAC: LOUBERSAN Designer Loubersan, my home in the South West of France, is to me a ‘madeleine de Proust’. It’s a place that changes my life each time I go back. It is awakening—the people, the food, the roaming cattle, the markets, and the rolling hills toward the Pyrenees. I always come back here to the source, to recharge amidst the fairytale atmosphere. My family began here over a thousand years ago. There is a feeling of being rooted in the soil. I can feel the presence and guidance of my ancestors. I have developed my own Armagnac, the oldest distilled alcohol, which takes its name from the region of its birth. I wanted to share the soul of the South West; beholder of strong values like artisanship, generosity, authenticity, and care—values that I believe are important to share in this day and age. This region has given me endless inspiration, feelings of warmth, oneness with nature, my family, past and present.