December 29, 2009

A California Christmas

Surrounded by national forest and with Yosemite just a short drive away, the beautiful Christmas weather has given us all a chance to get out and play and spend time with family. We are grateful for the chance to wind down from a hectic autumn and look ahead to the adventures planned for 2010, but more than anything we are enjoying the moment and being together with our children and their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

A few days before Christmas, we took a drive up into the mountains on a small dirt road as far as the snow would allow. Here we stopped the car and got out to breathe in the scent of pine trees and allow the boys to get out and get dirty. As I watched them climb and crawl over boulders and search for sugar pine cones, the theme for our year together suddenly came to me. The year of getting dirty. The coming year is all about getting outside together and getting dirty, trying new things and doing more of the things we already enjoy doing outdoors.

December 19, 2009

Christmas preparations

After a few days of rain, the sun finally returned and we started adapting to the California climate. With the holiday season in full swing, we are settling in for Christmas in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Despite being removed from the bright lights of the city, the neon Christmas is still hard to avoid. It's not necessarily the bright lights that detract our attention, but rather the focus that has changed from the traditional celebration of Christmas to something quicker, easier, and watered down.  Despite one's beliefs, our celebration of this holiday season does have it's roots in the story of Christmas, a story of giving selflessly what we each have to offer. As we settle in and absorb the sights and sounds around us we have time to observe and contemplate our own beliefs and intentions. What kind of gifts do we want to give this Christmas season, what kind of memories to we want to create, particularly for our children?

December 11, 2009

On our way

As Obama fever was slowly taking hold across Norway, and Oslo in particular, we made our escape from the hysteria on a well planned journey into the unknown. In many ways, our months of planning and preparation made our departure somewhat undramatic, as though it was a natural progress of everything that had brought us to this moment. Most of our bags had already been packed for a few weeks as part of our moving out and moving on. It was all just a matter of trains, buses, and airplanes to get us from our origin to our destination.

The intimidatingly long journey didn't seem so daunting with the thought of what lie ahead. Elias particularly was well aware that we were on an airplane to California. Despite having no concept of what or where California actually is or was, he was somehow in tune with the journey that lie ahead.

Nearly 24 hours later, we finally arrived, exhausted and relieved. Despite missing our transfer in LAX, thanks to the experience of "immigrating", we were able to catch a later flight and make it out of the neon lights and into the countryside.

Los Angeles reminded us of the contrasts that exist in the United States, and the choices that we have to make on how we want to live our lives. The journey ahead has much to do with a search for a simpler life, yet first we have to get beyond the barrier of consumerism that tries to distract us.

In the end we arrived off the beaten path, surrounded by majestic pines and oaks, a few patches of snow on the ground holding out against the falling rain. It is now the real journey begins, starting to put together the pieces of the puzzle that we have been planning for.

October 8, 2009

Finding time

It's hard finding the balance between enjoying the beauty of autumn we are again blessed with and the impending changes in our lives. The days are slowly counting down, first until we are left homeless, but also until we pull up our anchor and set sail on our transatlantic journey. It's a double edged sword thinking about leaving the home we have built and nourished the past couple years. Yet, the reasons for moving on are still ever apparent, and thoughts of complacency are never long lasting. We need a change. We need to rejuvenate our dreams and refill our lust for life. We need to be able to get out, not just for an afternoon in the woods, but into the mountains, out to the coast. We need to be able to smell the cool mist of the Pacific Ocean, feel the warm granite with out finger tips. Will I miss looking out our big window at the changing colors? Yes, without a doubt, but will we find new landscapes to rival or surpass this autumn spectacle?

Soon the leaves will fall and the cold barren reality of winter will set in. Again we will have to look back on a season past, but this time instead of looking forward to a long dark winter, we have the excitement of the uncertainty of what lie ahead.  The balance is found in reminding ourselves that even the fall colors are impermanent and that we need to enjoy them while they last. Every morning I wake up and look out and smile at the beauty nature offers us if we open our eyes. At the same time, I wake up every morning and am grateful for the decisions we have made together as a family, for out family.

September 14, 2009

Leaving Home

While in our own minds, our reasons for taking some time off to do some soul searching are well grounded, it seems as though it's hard for others to grasp the "why". Maybe some of the reasons are obvious, but others perhaps less so. Why are we leaving the refuge of a secure job, a comfortable home with a fantastic view, a safe environment for our kids with beautiful forests right outside our door, and much more? We have everything most people would be happy with, except for the one thing that we want most. At the very core, lie our values. We want to be understood, and accepted for our beliefs, not looked upon as "outsiders" because we follow a different path. Sure, we miss the mountains, granite spires, alpine meadows, sandy beaches, sunshines, but when it comes down to the day to day things, it's about what we eat for breakfast, what our kids engage in, what toys they play with, what books the read. While we don't aspire to be "normal", we want to be appreciated for our choices and find an environment where our values and decisions are reinforced. We want to be able to exchange ideas without having to worry about stepping on toes. Somewhere out there is a community that we belong to, people that share our ideas and live the same dreams. Our journey is about finding these people and places and being inspired by them. Maye, in the end the journey will lead us back to Norway at the end of the year. Often the things we are looking for are found right where we are, but we still need to see them from another perspective.

Beautiful landscapes, enjoying the agriculture diversity and of course family are also a big part of the reasons for our journey to California and beyond. Spending time with cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, skiing fresh snow, climbing clean white granite, running along empty beaches, communing and renewing in energy filled places. In the bigger picture a year is not a long time, but let's hope it's enough to at least revitalize and empower us to follow our own path.

August 25, 2009


Inspiration. Sometimes everyday things get a bit overwhelming and time for ourselves seems rare or non-existent. Even with two fantastic kids, sometimes a few minutes alone to collect (or rather empty) our thoughts goes a long way. Whether it be a run through the forest, or just a few moments in solitary meditation. We all need these moments, yet we have to balance these with our routines of everyday life, children, work, making dinner, grocery shopping... At the end of the day though it all comes down to priorities and weighing up what really needs to be done today, and what in fact can wait. Sometimes our inner being needs to be fed more than our physical being.

In planning our adventures for the coming year, these times for spiritual nourishment are equally essential to pursuing our dreams as all the other activities on our to do list. We need to remember to plan for time for morning walks or yoga on empty sandy beaches, and time for afternoon reading in mountain meadows while the kids are off running picking flowers and collecting pine cones. Until our adventure begins, it's important not to let the chores of our daily lives cloud the beauty we already have around us.

August 4, 2009

Real Learning

"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."Quote by Richard FeynmanNobel Prize Winning Physicist

March 12, 2009

Everyday Blessings

"When a child, no matter how old, feels our acceptance, when he feels our love, not just for his easy-to-live-with, lovable, attractive self, but also for his difficult, repulsive, exasperating self, it feeds him and frees him to become more balanced and whole".
Myla Kabat-Zinn

January 1, 2009

Home is where you are

Home is not about a building with four walls, but a place where we are able to share time and adventure with our family and friends. It's about searching for adventure and spending time in places that inspire. Home is where we are and how we choose to live our lives.

Leaving the security of our house in Oslo Norway, we took a year off and have set off on a journey to find people and places that will inspire us, in California and across the Western United States and perhaps further.

Despite a comfortable house and secure jobs, we felt we were missing something and have set out on a journey to find  out what it is. It's hard to put a articulate exactly what it is we are hoping to find or experience on our journey, however our quest does involve seeking out beautiful places in the mountains, valleys, and along the coast. We are also in search of nourishment in our day to day lives, eating food close to the source in the form of farmer's markets, providing an outdoor playground for our children to learn and explore, meeting interesting and inspiring people, and even finding inspiring books and magazines to read.

Maybe, in the end our journey will lead us back to Norway. Often the things we are looking for are found right where we are and we just need to see them from another perspective.

This blog is a record of our journeys and hopefully an inspiration to others to follow their own dreams and seek their own true home.