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The Cold Feet

The night before we left for Europe, Kristin and I sat in our home office exhausted. We had been packing our personal stuff in boxes and carrying them down to the basement so our tenants can move in later. Up and down. Up and down. We had also just renovated the office for our tenants. The sagging ceiling was lifted up, and walls were freshly painted. It was the neatest and cleanest room in the house.

We looked at each other and knew what both of us were thinking: “Why are we doing this?”

We had a good life. We had great friends. Our 3 and 5 year old kids had great friends. We loved our small but very functional and cozy home. We liked our sailboat — the previous weekend we had such a good sail that I was teary eyed we reached the mooring.

“What if we cancel the whole thing?” Kristin asked.

“We’ll have to find another place to live,” I said. We already signed a contract with our tenants.

“I’ll have to tell the school that I’m not coming,” Kristin said.

We went through all the steps we’d take to reverse course. And all the people we’d have to inform. Then silence.

“Remind me why we’re doing this?” Kristin said.


“Marcus and Nora will know Norwegian.”

“Otherwise this’ll be just another year in Boston.”

“I really want to work for a year for a change.”

“I’m really tired.”

After going round and round, the conversation was an inconclusive. But by that point, we had set off enough things in motion that this island project was very hard to stop.

There’re many nomads for whom moving to a completely new country every few years is a normal thing. Many of these people are Aussies. For Kristin and I, it wasn’t easy at all. We had to fight the gravitational pull of the current home, current job, the current life, particularly when there’s nothing wrong with any of it. We had many conversations like the one we had that night. But by that night, we had already reached escape velocity.

  1. Paul DiTucci #


    You write really well. The story you tell is exciting and gravitating. You should consider writing a book about this adventure including all the back stories that contribute to the adventure. I think a lot of people will relate to it and will want to read it.

    Hope your trip to Norway is going well.



    August 28, 2011
  2. Thanks Paul. We have a boat! A 14-footer very similar to Boston Whalers, which made me think of you. Even though yours is bigger and much better appointed. But anything that floats makes us enjoy this area in a whole new way. It’s great.

    September 5, 2011
  3. Hello ~ I found your blog today, after it was “freshly pressed.” Your story resonates with me, as my husband and I are pursuing something similar in Hungary. We uprooted — sold our house, quit our good jobs, said goodbye to family and friends for awhile, found new homes for our precious cats, etc for this new adventure. We’ve been here for a month, and are incredibly happy with our decision! For us, this is probably a 2+ year venture. I’m looking forward to following your blog. Norway has always been a place I want to visit. Now that “home” is in Europe, we fully intend to make it up that way! ~ Kellie

    September 27, 2011
    • I just looked at your blog and signed up for it. It’s a great story of personal renewal. Sometimes we just need a change. And Hungarian seems like a wickedly hard language!

      September 28, 2011

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