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The price of freedom

winter adventure on skis
Winter adventure on skis
March 10, 2023
cycling in the forest
Resting on the bicycle
May 26, 2023

Sunday 19 march - Brøttum

Time flies far too fast, and that is largely our own fault. We often say that the Netherlands is so busy, that everything has to go fast there and every minute has to be used efficiently. In Norway, things are more relaxed and free time is at the top of the agenda. Yet we stuff ourselves with projects so that our agenda is overflowing and every minute has to be efficient. Hmm, something isn't right there. Zoë writes down all the projects she is working on. Working at Fjellshop, a design job for Nordiccab, occasionally helping at Olivier's work, organizing a winter trip, organizing a leadership trip, our English book with the European and American book tour, all the promotion around the book, her sister's bachelorette party, volunteering at the Red Cross. There is no end to it. Zoe can't handle it anymore and starts the this-I-don't-do-anymore-list.

We have three more weeks before we close the door of our rental house. From then on, we will be house-less for six months, back into nomadic life. The Basecamp-X project is just about finding our own place from which to set out on an adventure. A place where we can leave our stuff, where we know we can always come back. Now that we have to pack everything again and find a place to temporarily store our stuff, we feel a huge need for our own basecamp. We don't have one now so we'd better focus on the options that do exist. We may store our things in the barn of the rental house, especially since our plan is to rent the house again next winter. This will allow us to return to a familiar nest next winter, including the same work we are doing now. That gives peace of mind, but not necessarily satisfaction.

Exactly one year ago we cycled into Lillehammer. Back then we didn't know anyone here and didn't know at all that we would stay here. Lillehammer was high on our list, but the full circle 2.5 hours from Oslo was still an option, as was the circle around Trondheim. When we cycled to Ringebu a week later, we felt we were driving ourselves crazy to keep looking for the perfect place. We forgot the important quote we had written at the top of our brainstorm. "It's not about searching for the best place, it's about making the best of the place we find." We returned to Lillehammer and decided to try here.

Looking back on the past year, we are incredibly proud, but also very emotional. It was a particularly tough year in which we were even more challenged than during our world trip. There have been many doubts, tears, curses and anger. But there have also been wonderful victories and beautiful moments. We learned Norwegian, have both found a flexible job we were looking for, have met so many people and lived in a beautiful place for a winter. The best reward followed the kickoff of our book tour of our English book in Lillehammer. On Wednesday evening, the day before we leave on the tour, we give a presentation at the library. We invited the people we know and put up a flyer in our work. In the afternoon, Cathrine, who facilitates the event for us at the library, tells us that there are 35 applications. We are relieved and happy. Zoë and Cathrine set up 50 chairs in the library's cozy reading room. A bit optimistic, Olivier thinks, but who knows. At 6:30 the first people arrive, faces we know, but also many faces we don't. People keep coming in, and Zoë has to bring in chairs to seat everyone. At five to seven the room is packed, a few people have to stand up in the back. We count about 70 heads. Shouldn't we be incredibly proud that we've been here less than a year and so many people have come to listen to our story. It is heartwarming and welcoming.

"It is not about searching for the best place, but making the best of the place we find."


After the presentation, we talk to many people. Kristof, one of the two Belgians we know here, is also there and congratulates us. "I do envy the freedom you have," he says secretly. That freedom is indeed wonderful, being an adventurer almost full-time. But we also pay a high price for it, right now at least. It costs us a lot of uncertainty and turmoil that sometimes makes us envious of the stability and security that other people have. Yet the urge for freedom always overcomes security with us. Our world travel has shown us too much adventure and freedom to just let that go. We live a wonderful life and that includes regular tears.

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