A New Adventure

Foto: Alex Tran

Here I am, on the coast, in a small town in Denmark. I spent my adult life on the west coast of America, mostly on the Monterey Peninsula and in the Bay Area. My three children grew up there and are now living their adult lives in the States.

I grew up in Denmark and have returned to my roots. For me, it’s a new adventure. When I left Denmark in my twenties I set out on an adventure. Now, in my sixties, coming back, I experience my home country in a brand new light. Lots of things are familiar but while they frustrated me then, I welcome them now.

Why the difference?

The Danish society is a strong community. It’s a small country with only 5.8 million people. Denmark is surrounded by Sweden and Norway to the east and to the north, two very large countries, each about the size of California. You can lay out Denmark about ten times in California! To the south Denmark borders Germany and to the west across the North Sea lies Great Britain.

Such a small country surrounded by large and influential nations needs a strong identity. That is obtained through language, through culture, and through traditions. It’s as if people in Denmark are one big family. Definitely, there’s a trend to do the same; to dress alike; to design your home alike; to think alike (that is being very practical and matter-of-fact); to share the same traditions and to have similar values when it comes to politics and religion.

People are interested in each other and their welfare. During the last year of Covid-19 the mantra has been: Vi må passe på hinanden which translates: We must look out for each other. For a 60-something person like me this is reassuring. Danish society looks out for its citizens. But when I was 20-something I felt constricted by the conformity and the expectations. I needed air and left.

My years in the U.S. has developed me into a free-thinking individual and with this knowledge I’ve learned who I am and what I like. I can be me and be part of a strong community at the same time. Now, I’m able to combine the best of two worlds. My idea of life is adventure and I find it wherever I am.

9 Comments »

  1. I enjoyed your post. Two of our Camino trekking friends live in Copenhagen and we loved our visit with them a year after our Camino. Their expert tips were so helpful on our first long-distance trek. They were important characters in my book. They took us to their cabin in North Zealand. A wonderful area. Denmark exudes the sense of community you discuss.

  2. I can readily understand how the tight-knit-community culture of Denmark could feel suffocating to a 20-something still finding her feet in life, but be supportive and comforting to a mature woman who knows herself well. A lot of us here in the States, as you know, would love some of that like-minded harmony to radiate through our society — but I wonder how that’s possible given our size, population, and often splintering regional differences. Diversity is a good thing, but we haven’t even begun to figure out how to embrace it.

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