Arctic Dream

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.