This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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bll-1“Apologies for the sudden lift.” The captain’s voice shot down through the intercom of the cabin. “We had to go around as there was another plane on the runway.”

My new home airport has only one runway. It is a major airport, but a major provincial airport. You can see this also from the rows and rows of cars and rental cars in the park: here one does not get far by public transport or taxi.

Staying in Denmark will also mean hello SAS Gold and then Diamond status, and good-bye Finnair Platinum. While I consider this a downgrade, I look forward to significant upgrades in my work-life balance. Traveling 1-3 days a week means the remaining work days I can roll out of bed and sit down by the laptop half an hour later, with ample time for a relaxed morning. No need to pick out business wear or lipstick or do my hair, unless I have a video conference. No need to commute in the morning rush hour, or to rush home via a stock-full grocery store (because we aim to shop weekly).

Working from home means 2 precious hours more time for myself, every day. I am beginning to like the concept of living nearby a provincial airport.bll-2(Billund, Danmark; August 2018)

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Swimrun = swim with sneakers + run in wetsuit

swimrun-3One beautiful August morning, there I was, bobbing in between two scraggy islets in the outer archipelago of Stockholm, wearing sneakers, wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, and a colored team t-shirt. A drone circled above us and there were camera people in the water, too. Along with about 350 other colleagues, like groups of colored ants clawing away at the water, drifting from shore to shore.

Swimrun means swim and run. No time to change gear in-between. The original swimrun is 41 km on this same group of islands, although we only completed a 9 km course. And it was more than many of us ever dreamed they would accomplish. Some were 60 years old, you see. Others were scared of swimming in open water. And quite a few were nervous about running such a long distance. But everybody had a buddy and a tow rope for pulling a tired swimmer, and it was not uncommon to see people pushing their colleague in the back, making running just a tiny bit lighter. swimrun-2The company I work for aims to have a healthy workforce. The local Nordic managing director takes things a notch further. This year it was the swimrun. A few years back nearly 300 of us climbed a mountain in Norway. We have also biked around Skagen in Denmark, spent an entire day outside in a snow mobile suit in -27C in Lapland (some of us got cold burns), and gone horseback riding on Iceland.

And so the entire company swam and ran between the islets of Utö in Sweden, pushing, pulling, and coaching each other until we crossed the finish line, one team at a time. Because it was never about winning a race against anyone else except for ourselves and our prejudices about our own capabilities and performance. And quite a few witnessed their own minds reset to new levels of at-minimum-achievement.swimrun-1(Utö, Sweden; August 2018)

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lauttasaari-1Dear Lauttasaari island, you have been good to me. You have been my safe haven for years. A place to hide and to just stare at the (mostly windy) sea.

It is difficult to live in a landlocked place, away from the sea. I have done it twice and I will be doing it again. All three times have also been the three times I have lived abroad.

I have also lived in two relatively rainy, wet places: the UK and the Netherlands. Now I intend to try out another rainy (and this time windy, too) place: a little town in the middle of Denmark. For how long? For now.lauttasaari-2Dear Lauttasaari, I will miss your sea, sunshine, and the vast open space. The ships leaving for various Baltic port cities, and the sound of broken ice blocks floating on the water in spring.

But life plays out in seasons and no matter how well one plans, the beginning of the next season always comes with a twist. Growth does not take place when we feel comfortable and set in our routines. And so I intend to break my routines big time, hoping that growth will follow with equal measure.Larubynight(Helsinki, Finland; August 2018)