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Posts from the ‘Family’ Category


The night before we left Boston to spend a year on Rødøy, we got cold feet. Sitting among 6 giant duffle bags, we asked ourselves, “Why are we doing this?”

We had a good life and had no need to escape anything. Instead of staying on that path, I resigned from my job and we set off to live on a small island north of the Arctic Circle for a year, with nothing planned beyond the year. It was crazy.

That night, we proceeded to work out all the necessary steps to reverse course. Despite the last minute doubts, we stuck to the plan. And it turned out to be the best thing our family has ever done.

6 months after we came back from our year off, the children are happy and well adjusted socially and intellectually. Kristin is teaching part-time at a private school in nearby Cambridge, and she loves her job. The app I started writing, Voice Dream Reader, has acquired a passionate customer-base around the globe, reaching top 10 grossing educations apps at one point or another in 48 countries. That doesn’t make us rich, but we live comfortably while my work gives me profound satisfaction: I feel closely connected to my customers and I’m making a small but positive difference in their lives.

I’ve changed. I think. It’s difficult to tell because I’m hardly a neutral observer of myself. When I talked to companies about jobs after I came back, I smiled and nodded but my heart just wasn’t in it. Meanwhile, I kept going back to work on my app even when sales had not taken off, stubbornly tolerating being unemployed far longer than the old me would have. Perhaps, the knowledge that we could live happily with less gave me strength. At the same time, I’m a lot less stressed about things, and I sometimes find the level of stress around me incomprehensible. I’d like to think that I became a better person.

But even if we did not end up at a better place after the year, we would still do it again without hesitation. Because we had an amazing year that is a treasure of experience and memory. For that we’re deeply grateful to Rødøy and everyone there. For the rest of our lives, in good times and bad, this year will be a reference point for what life could be.

Here are the photographic highlights from our year living on Rødøy, and below are some representative blog posts:

Island Scenery



Happiness is People

After a year living on an remote island, I confess to having had no moments of epiphany. I haven’t made big, dramatic new discoveries about myself or the world around me. But if I have to point to one learning, the experience has helped me see more clearly that the most important thing in the world is to surround oneself with good people. Read more

Noah’s Fishing Boat

The biggest project for Rødøy school every year is the school play, and it is truly unique. I’ve never seen anything like it.

All 28 kids in the school from grade 1 to 10 were in the play. There was no audition. Everyone in the whole school got in front of the spotlight. For several weeks, the play occupied everyone’s mind. The week before the performance, the school shut down: students and teachers went to the playhouse to rehearse everyday. Read more

Mid-Year Review

Now is about the mid-point of our one year stay here in Rødøy. In a Dilbert-like fashion, I say, it’s time for the mid-year review to summarize our accomplishments and areas for future improvement.

Read more

Is Parenthood Doomed?

Back in Boston, a friend of ours came over for dinner one day and told us that she was going to attend a week-long program to “undo” the effects of her parents. This program, called Hoffman Process,

“…brings into awareness the counterproductive beliefs, perceptions and emotional needs that have been adopted from parents…”

Read more

10 Years Between Oslo

Kristin and I got married in Oslo 10 years ago. Since a decade doesn’t come around too often, we splurged and stayed at the same hotel we stayed at 10 years ago, Grand Hotel. Grand is very old, best known as the venue for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, Obama stayed there as with other winners, and our room was a couple of doors down from the Nobel Suite. Read more

Happy Holidays!

When I was in high school and newly immigrated to America, I hated Christmas. It was a time when I would be reminded of being an immigrant, an outsider watching from afar while natives carry on their traditions inside the closed nuclei of their families. Read more

Why Am I So Damned Busy?

A friend of mine wrote me a long email lamenting his lack of time, and he wrote that it’s not just him but it’s a chronic problem of our time:

“..As I drifted in and out of these conversations, I kept noticing how many times people said things like: “Oh yeah, I just wish we weren’t so busy,” or “We’d love to do more of this kind of thing, but there’s just never time, you know?”, or “life just moves to quickly,” “or life just gets in the way and pretty soon five years have gone by.”

Read more

Real Life Tooth Fairy

Marcus had a loose tooth — his very first — for many days, and it stubbornly refused to come loose. It was about then when we heard about the tooth fairy on the island. The tooth fairy, who’s really an old man, Read more

Longing Home

Moving to Norway, first of all, was driven by the need for change. Winston and I were ready to change our routines and try something new for a while. But if I am totally honest with myself, it might also have been driven by a tiny bit of homesickness on my part. Read more