Norway eh. Smug bastards reminding the rest of the world how clean, healthy, sustainable and low crime they are. Yeah, the rest of the world gets it Norway, you’re better at most things than most other countries. You can actually shut the fuck up. You smug, tall, incredibly healthy, and good-looking-winter-sport-winning mother fuckers.
OBVIOUSLY I jest. I absolutely Love Norway. I adore Scandinavia in general. Iceland is a firm favourite, but Oslo has been in my top 20 and always feels a little like coming home. The way it used to feel in Seattle, and still feels when I fly into Wellington or Buenos Aires. Every city has a feeling, a vibration, a spirit? Most I like, some I do not.
So my tribe up in the North had some questions, as they were all well aware that last year was as stone-cold cluster fuck from start to finish for me. Someone at this conference suggested it was because the year of the dog is a shitty year? I don’t think it had much to do with dogs. At any rate, one of the best things about the Norwegians I know, and Love is their absolute zero tolerance for bullshit. Magne, Stalle, Erik, Christina, Mikkel, Natalie, Petter, and various other Scandinavian shining stars in the vast and varied sky that hangs over my head are always there to offer a sound smack down and some real talk. “You are the one who needs to give less fucks Dee, you always tell everyone else to.” Or “You must learn the rules of poker (analogy for business) because you will never have a poker face.” Or “Dee, you cannot retire, because your passion actually scares people into submission. I will tell you when you can retire.” And “I think you would be much happier if you followed even a little of the advice you give others.” And all of this was delivered with an absolutely delicious sing song scandanavian accent, and deadpan facial expression. Oh, I do Love a good Nordic pep talk. Straight shooters the lot of them. What’s not to Love?
So I am at Oslo airport on my first leg home. I miss my babies and wish that fucking hyperloop thing that I saw on the first day of the first show in Amsterdam was in operation so I could just get home, emission free, fast, and without too much fuss, at sub sonic (ultrasonic??? I don’t fucking know) speed. But no. I will be on the road for nearly 72 hours as I have an overnight stop in the Dam before continuing on to Hong Kong then home. Hong Kong is home to one of my favourite things in the whole world, my soul sister Krissy, and she is another straight shooter who doesn’t mince words or fuck around with niceties. I think, I am beginning to see a pattern perhaps?
Bidding a fond farewell to the country that undeniably kicked off the international EV industry, I am not even the slightest bit sad because I know I will be back. As long as there are things to learn and share and the people I have grown so fond of here to dryly and frequently take me down a peg or two and remind me to calm the actual fuck down, I will keep returning. Natalie and Mikkel just returned to Oslo after being in the faaaaarrr north where they were treated to a spectacle of Aurora Borealis. Of course, they filmed it and it looks amazing, but Natalie explained in her usual earnest and magical way, that the lights absolutely convinced her that everything was going to be okay. Her big beautiful brown eyes twinkled as they looked into mine and said; “You know what Dee, it was magic. As if nature and the universe was putting a show on just for me, and now I know that everything is going to be okay.” So yeah, I need an injection of that magic as I can feel myself veering ever so slightly into self-destruct mode. This mode is best avoided when possible. It is usually possible.
Sat at the airport, there are lots of tall people wearing really great warm winter clothes. Someone said that Norwegians don’t smile much, I don’t agree. Trundling my suitcases from my apartment to central station I was asked three times (with a smile) if I needed help, and it’s little more than a 5-minute walk. As I sit here writing this there is a group of four Norwegians sipping coffee and laughing among themselves. Most Norwegians I know have a big, round, full belly laugh.
Exhausted, overwhelmed by the work ahead, but feeling resolute that the universe can actually be on our side if we let it be, I am looking forward to a magical year. We are about to enter the roaring 20’s. This is going to be the part in the narrative of our planet where a culmination of climate change goals and infrastructure plans will ensure the industry that we have chosen (or perhaps chose us) will continue to grow and evolve, displacing decades of greed, waste and lies. This will be a decade of disruption, change, rebuilding and rethinking the way we live and work. Norway is well past many of the goals and milestones laid out for our island nation. So, thanks for paving the way you fantastic Nordic nerds and activists. But most of all, thank you for being home to such wonderful, warm, and welcoming friends. Tusen Tuk.
Thanks for reading.