My Journey

on 20 July 2021

In December 2016, I packed four suitcases, left my home north of Copenhagen and took a one-way ticket to Barcelona. I left the country where I had lived my entire life to start from scratch in a new place.

Why move from The Happiest Country? Wasn’t I happy like the rest of the Danish population? The answer is YES, I was very happy in Denmark and I am proud of being Danish.

At a point in my life I just realized I could be even happier.

Moving abroad wasn’t an overnight decision. It had been a long-time desire and when I finally did it, I had a crystal clear feeling it was the only right thing to do.

In the end, it was one sentence in a personal development seminar that motivated me pack my stuff, rent out my flat and move to Barcelona without a job or knowing anyone – to feel connected with my spirit and live in a culture where the lifestyle resonates more with who I am.

A Trip to Havana

It all started in 2003 in Havana, when I was on a study tour with the architect studio Force4 where I was partner for six years. Before this point, I hardly had an imagination of Cuba, but this didn’t last long.

Right from when I walked down the landing stairs of the plane and put my feet on Cuban ground, I just felt at home.

I remember one of the girls from the studio said after we returned, that I looked like “a fish in the water” over there. It didn’t make sense after 12 days that I fell in love with Havana and the Cuban culture.

I knew I needed to go back to Cuba to understand why I felt at home in this culture that was so different from my own.

The Cuban’s outgoing attitude, the curious, creative and entrepreneurial spirit that was present everywhere deeply resonated with me.

The Cubans invent everything to survive and solve their everyday life. One thing that in particular fascinated me was how they constantly rebuilt and re-designed their home to adapt it to the changing life conditions. They couldn’t move to a new house at that time.

Although it was an undesirable consequence of the society conditions, I was captivated by the creativity that emerged from the human needs and the vibrant energy it created in the city.

From the outside we could see how the life of the people in the houses changed all the time. It made the city feel so alive.

Such inspired and supported by my friend and mentor Jens Bertelsen, who is an architect and publisher, I started the project “Architecture of Necessity”, raised some funds and gathered a small team of Scandinavian and Cuban architects and designers.

In the following years I traveled to Havana twelve times and in 2012 our team, Ernesto Oroza, Mira Kongstein and Frederikke Friderichsen published the book editing Havana.


The Latin Me

The Caribbean adventure had ended, but my acquaintance with Cuba had opened a new chapter in my life. Today it is clear to me that I felt at home in Cuba, because the culture resonated with my “Latin” spirit.

One part of me is very Danish and I love to be at home like a Dane and appreciate the security and intimacy in the small social circles, which is very typical Danish lifestyle.

However, I learned in Havana that I feel more alive in a more openminded outgoing lifestyle, where I feel a vibrant energy of reinvention and where meeting new people happens all the time.

After this experience, for some years I really wanted to move to Havana. But when the Cuban vibe calmed down, I figured that it might not be the right solution, so I started looking for work in Madrid. I fell in love with Madrid, when I stayed overnight on my many trips to Havana.

I thought Spain would be a good place for me. A combination of European and Latin culture. But nothing worked out professionally. I changed direction to London a multicultural hub and the center of strategic design and innovation – which I had decided was my forward career path.


A Coffee in London

I started travelling to London for interviews which reconnected me with my Irish cousin Karl who had lived in the city for 30 years. Karl is one of the most generous people I know and he was such a great support at this point. I am grateful to this day that I had my family behind me on each step of this journey.

On one of my trips to London where I was interviewing for a role in a brand agency, I met Marei who ran her own design and innovation agency Normally. I didn’t know her, but Susanne, the director of my professional women’s network Curie in Copenhagen, had connected us on Linkedin.

While I had coffee with Marei at Le pain Quotidien near Victoria Station, she put me in contact with an innovation firm in Barcelona where she had worked. Before I reached Heathrow airport to go back to Copenhagen, I was in contact with the American partner Rick.


An Interview in Barcelona

Shortly after I went to Barcelona to speak with Rich. The job didn’t match, but so did Barcelona. I felt the metropolitan environment would make a perfect landing, so I started searching for opportunities and went to Barcelona a couple of times to start networking and getting to know people. I felt it was the place for me to start my new journey, but I needed a job before I could move.


One Phrase on An On-line Seminar

At the time, I attended a ten weeks seminar with the life coach Debra Poneman called Yes to Success. Shortly after returning from Barcelona, in a seminar session Debra said one phrase that made me change my mind and take instant action. It sounded something like this:

“People who succeed in making their dreams come true never wait for the right moment – they take a step from where there is no turning back.”

The moment I heard this, I knew I needed to move NOW. Though it was this one phrase that made me take action, it was the entire seminar process that made the phrase resonate so strongly with me. The seminar had helped me become in sync with who I am and made me ready to take the step to go for what I wanted.

What I especially liked about Debra Poneman’s YTS seminar was the combination of spiritual work and down to earth pragmatic goal management.

Debra Poneman is one of the veterans among the Law Of Attraction coaches and has been a mentor for some of today’s most popular personal growth coaches. Debra really knows her stuff. So if any of you are European and are curious and check her out, don’t be turned off by the “American” tone.


A Shared Flat and A Room Mate

Within a months’ time I packed down my stuff, rented out my flat in Charlottenlund, solved Danish and Spanish administration issues as best I could and rented a room in Barcelona. Just before I left, I got a small freelance job that I could do from anywhere. This and a bit of money in the bank gave me some time to get my life up and running.

The 30th November 2016 I landed in Barcelona with four suitcases and started my new life in a shared flat. It was like rewinding time to my student years, but it didn’t matter. I felt guided by my spirit and I knew I needed to follow my heart to feel at peace with myself.

The day after I met one of my room mates, an Italian girl Barbara and we bacame friends. I am forever grateful for Barbara. From the minute I landed, I never feel alone. Together with her I started exploring my new city. Apart from that, she was one of the first persons who encouraged me to start a blog and she kept reminding me during the years.


A New Job

I started networking like a crazy every day. It was amazing how everybody, people I had just met, helped me and shared their connections.

Eventually, it was at a service design workshop, that the American guy Rick’s firm hosted, where I met my new colleege Albert.

In May 2017 I started my first job in Barcelona in the innovation department at a digital consultancy in the banking sector – without having any experience with technology nor banking.

This job was exactly what I had written down I wanted in my three months plan of the coaching seminar.


A New Home

After I stared working I began looking for a flat, but didn’t find it. So I moved into Ricard’s apartment, where I rented a 7M2 room. Ricard is a journalist and when he didn’t have his son, he sometimes showed me cool places in the city. He also liked good food and told me a lot about Barcelona’s history and culture.

After more than two years and fed up with flat sharing, I finally found my home. The moment Ari from Max Ricart opened the door to the flat and I saw the terrace with the mountain view, I knew this was my new home in Barcelona.

My new home was the spitting image of the home I had described I wanted during the “Yes To Success” seminar.

My Life Lesson

Many people have said to me when I tell the story of my journey that I was courageous. Honestly it didn’t feel like that. It just felt I started walking my true path.

The risk analysis was irrelevant because there was no alternative. I had connected with myself and knew what I needed to do to live a life where I felt more alive – more like me.

When I look back on the journey to Barcelona there was a lot of detours on the way. But I felt so guided and supported all the time from everywhere and everyone.

I am happy I followed my heart and went on this journey and I thank all the people who inspired and supported me on the way.

We all have dreams and desires. Some are more obvious and appear more achievable while others are hard to imagine. We are not really clear what they are or we don’t know how to get there. We leave it and continue our life as normal. We just wont feel totally in peace with ourselves, when we se don’t live our dreams.

I have never really “stumbled over” over my dreams on the way coincidently. When they have come through, it has always been a result of connecting with myself, getting into flow with the desires of my spirit and being supported in taking the steps to go there.

Personally, I think it’s very hard to do this work alone. I have had mentors and coaches support me when I really wanted to take a leap in my life. Actually, I use motivational support on a daily basis to uplift and align my toughts and actions to stay on my path.

If you are on a similar path, you can read more here about the mentors and coaches who have made a difference or me.

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I think Paulo Coelho’s quote in The Alchemist: perfectly describes how it feels to be in the flow of being connected to our spirit:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

– and we still are the ones who need to take the action.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

– Paulo Coelho


Book: editing Havana,
published by Aristo