When I think back to January 25, 2010, the date I flew to Denmark to look for jobs and “settle down” into the wonderful quality of life Scandinavia offers, I never would have imagined that I’d be leaving less than a year and a half later. I really thought I’d come here and stay forever. Life can be funny that way.
I have learned so much in these past 17 months that it’s almost impossible to put into words how I feel and what lessons I’m taking with me. But I’ll try.
- It’s all about the people. I really met some amazing people here and, of course, I am sad to leave them. I am no stranger to goodbyes, but it doesn’t make saying them any easier. In my case, I’ve realized that real friendships never die, the world is a small place so we’ll probably see each other again someday, and it’s never been easier to stay in touch thanks to Skype, Facebook, email, etc. So I was decidedly more positive in my goodbyes at work. Still, my life is more rich having had these people in my life and I am grateful for that.
- There is no perfect country. Denmark is amazing and perfect in many, many ways, but terrible in others. Sure, the good outweighs the bad here by far, but just because a country is great on paper doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you and your personality. I could live in Denmark and have an extremely comfortable life. But I realized that Denmark isn’t the fit for me I thought it would be. In some ways, I still think Sweden is as close as it gets to being perfect, but I’m happy to leave without being able to live there and see if I’m right. It’s good to have unrealistic hope sometimes. But yes, I will badly miss the numerous positive things about Denmark and Scandinavia.
- Family is awesome. My uncle here in Denmark truly helped me realize my dream of living and working in Scandinavia. I am forever grateful for his hospitality, wisdom, and guidance. Mange tak for alt!
- The nomadic life suits me well. I had my own apartment, but I truly lived a bare-bones life – no TV, no couch or furniture, air mattress instead of bed, and so on. I preferred not having any extraneous “stuff” in my apartment and I really felt great selling and giving away the few things I did have upon leaving. The nomadic lifestyle will mean having as little as possible and not getting attached to “things.” I think I did that rather successfully here and I feel comfortable going with even less in the coming months and years.
- I’m not alone. The more I’ve talked about my awakening and what I plan to do on The Happy Nomad Tour, the more I have seen that I am not alone. Many people have a similar desire to give back to society in some way and live their version of a perfect life, but debt, fear, and other circumstances prevent them from doing so. I hope my Happiness Plunge convinces them that it’s entirely possible to overcome these adversities and plunge into a life that gives you more satisfaction and purpose.
- Murphy’s Law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. That’s life. Get over it. Rolling with the punches and adapting is crucial to living a happy and healthy life. Everyone has his or her adversities to overcome. Some people have more than others, but whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
- Know thyself. It took the stress of working at a job I felt no passion for to finally question what it is I want to get out of life. From there the ball got rolling and the rest is history. But never turn down an opportunity to challenge yourself and grow and figure out who you are. And keep your eyes open. Opportunities are everywhere – you just have to look. Knowing who you are and what you want in life makes it easier to discover these opportunities.
- If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I badly wanted to get a job in CSR (corporate social responsibility) or renewable energy to redeem myself from the work I did in the oil industry. Both offered me the chance to be part of the solution. I am extremely fortunate to have been educated and to be able to recognize the stark problems this beautiful planet faces going further into the 21st century. I feel a personal responsibility to do whatever I can to make the world a better place. I discovered my purpose in Denmark.
- Nature is wonderful. Before I came to Denmark, I had almost no connection to myself spiritually and certainly not to nature. These aspects of life were revealed gradually and I am a happier person for discovering them. But most of all, the idea of all of us being connected to nature and to a system based on harmony and love… that was a wonderful revelation for me this year.
- Love. I watched the movie Love Actually recently for the millionth time. Love is all around us. It’s true. Whether nature from above, family, pets, etc. it doesn’t matter. We have an infinite amount of love within us and there is no need to be stingy. Since coming to this realization a few months ago, I have tried to live according to this principle and my life feels more alive and rich than before. A friend of mine says “The more you put out into the universe, the more you get back.” So far, I have to agree with her.
Ok, I will stop at 10 since this is getting too long. My time in Denmark has been short, but I think I’ve gotten more out of this experience than I ever could have imagined. Goodbye Denmark!
The Happy Nomad Tour will start in just a few weeks. While I am at home I’ll be preparing and also trying to relax a bit and spend time with the family. I can’t wait to get started, and thank you for being part of the journey!