Buy a house they said! It will be fun they said! Well let me tell ya what: It nearly killed us both. Thankfully we stumbled into a life-altering experience at sea that forced us to do some monumental changes in our lives. Here’s what happend.
When normal people hear we spent 13.5 years renovating our house, they are surprised it took so long, because when normal people think renovating, they think splashing some new paint on the walls and ceiling, perhaps even sanding down old floors and giving them a few layers of lacquer.
What we did after purchasing the house in 2010 was (as was necessary!) basically gutting everything inside, tore down everything outside, down to the very structure of the house, and then rebuild, room by room, while living in the house.
The only original thing left was the chimney, foundation wall, and supporting structure of the house. We did hire professionals for critical things like electrical work and plumbing, but everything else was rebuilt by the two of us.
Before we bought the house, our lives were filled with enjoyable, challenging, and interesting careers, working out 4-5 times a week, skiing trips in the winter, mountain hikes in the summer, paddling year round, lots of leisure time, and time to socialize with friends. All of that stopped when we got the house.
Instead we found ourselves working 8-16 in challenging jobs, then when we got home, we grabbed a bite over the kitchen sink, then straight onto work on the house for 4-5 hours in the weekdays and 10-15 hours of work each day in the weekends. That’s 40-60 hours of additional work every fucking week per person, for years on end.
The turning point
On August 21st 2018, Lumi and I went down to the Stavanger harbor to a “sailing away party”. Steven and Terry, two of our Scottish friends, were sailing from Norway to the Caribbean with the ARC.
Another fellow that was supposed to join them as crew couldn’t make it, so one cabin was all of a sudden available. We jumped at the opportunity and 06:00 the day after we joined as crew on Rose Marie, and sailed away, first from Norway to Scotland via Shetland and Orkney, and then from Portugal to the Canaries.
I had sailed A LOT in my youth, and this trip truly rekindled my love for sailing. And while Lumi had never set foot on a sailboat before, we were both hooked; during night watch, as we glided through the awesome swells of the Atlantic, untouched by the glow of the cities, the sky above unfolded in a spectacle of celestial grandeur. The milky way, a shimmering tapestry of countless stars, stretched across the heavens, casting an ethereal glow upon the inky waters. It was an awe-inspiring symphony of light and darkness, a testament to the universe’s boundless beauty that plain words simply cannot begin to describe.
We absolutely needed to get a sailboat.
In 2019, the year after our sailing trip, we purchased our Beneteau 411 for the purpose of doing the transatlantic round trip from Norway to the Caribbean and back again to Norway, some 12.000 nautical miles; the equivalent of over half way around the world.
This epic trip was planned for 2020, but as we all know, the shit hit the fan so fucking hard we’re still cleaning up after the world wide splatter. While the Covid lockdown was a serious blow to us, it gave us plenty of time to just think. And we realized we could do so much better than just go on one epic adventure; what if we just sold the goddamned house, and moved aboard our boat permanently?
What if our entire lives became a epic adventure?
The only thing stopping us was the fact that the house wasn’t even close to finished. So we went to work. Again. This time with a different kind of motivation.
But before we show you the true horror of this reno, let us show you why we fell for this place. These pictures truly does not do justice to the spectacular panoramic view from the house:
LET THE MAYHEM BEGIN:
The Valley of Gehenna:
The Terrace of Terror:
Let’s have a look inside the asylum!
The loft: Bedroom number 1
The loft: Bedroom number 2
2nd floor: The living room
Still on 2nd floor: The kitchen
1st floor: The home office
Still on 1st floor: The home theater
Still 1st floor: The master bedroom
Still on 1st floor: The main bathroom
And finally: The Basement Beelzebub!
Lumi ate one spoonfull too much chili beans for lunch!
Live, Laugh, Love my fucking ass!
At the same time we were doing this, we were also renovating our sailboat, a Beneteau 411 from 2001, preparing the boat for a life onboard during the harsh Norwegian winters.
Wow you must have made such a profit!!
While housing prices in Stavanger increased sharply since we bought the house in 2010, and the median price of detached houses in Stavanger increased by 140% from 2010 to 2023, I can promise you flipping this house didn’t even pay minimum wage for the thousands of hours we put into it. I can think of so many other ways of making money it’s not even funny, and I have to force myself not thinking too much about that.
The big takeaway for us is that we get to consolidate our assets. We do walk away with a decent chunk of change. We also get a life. We get to redefine our entire existence, and we get to pick and chose exactly what our lives will be filled with.
We hardly remember what having a life was like, but we’re slowly taking it back, again engaging in the things we used to love before the house fucked us over.
Plans are nothing; planning is everything, said Dwight D Eisenhower back in the day. And nothing has rung more true the past few years for us, with Covid and all. But our current plan is to stay in Norway for a few more years, bolster our economy, and then fuck off to sea indefinitely.
I dream of snorkeling in the Bahamas. Lumi dreams of paddling in the Faroe islands. We dream of soaking in the hot springs of Iceland and tasting their Hakarl and geysir baked Rúgbrauð.
We dream of going back to Greenland and eating Mattaq again, and meet with our friends there. We dream of overwintering in Japan and making epic telemark turns in the powder snow of Hokkaido. And we’ve heard the sushi is quite excellent there too!
We dream of going back to Vancouver to meet our bunch friends in Canada again and stuff our faces with poutine and nanaimo bar and candied salmon. We also, kinda, wanna meet that fucker Tommy who moved to Australia just to make us sail the long way. He better crack open some dirt cheap beer and throw some shrimps on that barbie when we arrive!
And as for the big, hairy goal, we dream of saling the North West Passage, just like the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen did over 100 years ago.
But we are not just dreamers. We are doers.
So until then, we have some really exciting things going on that we hope to share with you guys over the next few years as we transition from full time liveaboards to full time world cruisers!
Follow us on Facebook to stay tuned for awesomeness from the north!