The Pink Swedish Firetruck #EcoVacay

Tomorrow I’m going on a mini adventure expedition with my little monkeys. And you don’t always need to go far. Our criteria for the trip was originally as follows;

  • No CO2 emissions
  • Preferably night train

We checked out the Nordic hydrogen network, but going too far stuck in a car seat isnt really ideal for a 1-night trip.

We also looked at Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Trondheim and Stockholm – as we already went to Bergen by train last year to spend a weekend in a houseboat there.

But as it turned out, no direct night trains exist, except for going to Trondheim.. So we discussed once more, and set more narrow criteria;

  • Accessible by direct train or hydrogen car
  • Max 4 hours by train or 2 by car

I ended up choosing a radius of 1h and based on which cool places were available on AirBnb. And then came across this super cool pad which is a pink fire truck in Hvitsten. Close to Drøbak and Son, with super idyllic backroads between those small towns..

Check it out, and search for “Den rosa, svenske brannbilen” if you wanna try it 🙂

Let the Traveling Monkeys’ spring adventure begin! And watch out for our summer destinations – we’re considering a tree hut in Telemark, and some other pretty cool places..

The Pink Swedish Firetruck

The Little Red Cabin in the Forest

Photo credit: Firetruck & Red Cabin owner

Water Lovers! Ocean Friendly Sunscreen❤️

Love the beach but don’t want to screw up the ocean ecosystem? Check this out! No more messing up coral reefs & seabed with chemicals from your sun lotion.

I just spoke about sustainable shipping at the Passion For Ocean lecture festival, and discovered something that will enable me to enjoy the beach with a better conscience!

Biotherm launched ocean friendly sunscreen last year, and I can’t believe I didn’t discover it until now…?! I will be changing my products ASAP and encourage you to do the same! (PS: this post isn’t sponsored- just fueled by pure excitement!!)

20 April I’m heading to the Seychelles for the African Shipowners Association’s Annual Summit. Obviously you need to cover up or wear sunscreen, and I couldn’t stand the thought of messing up the local ecosystem..

As I know this is a concern to many of you, check out this info about Biotherm’s products and their cooperation with environmental superhero Sylvia Earle!

Seychelles & African Shipowners Summit

Hoping to see many industry friends from across the African continent as I’ll be attending the African Shipowners Association’s summit in the Seychelles! Excited to explore the current developments in energy & ocean industries across the many coastal countries.

Thank you for the invite Funmi & co, can’t wait!

And hoping to see many of the amazing female leaders from the African shipping sector in Tromsø as we gather for the WISTA International Conference end of October.. True power!

#WomenWhoMoveTheWorld #WISTA #WomenInShipping

Tokyo Countdown: Bookworm Heaven

What are your best Tokyo experiences? Easter Thursday I’ll be heading to Tokyo strictly for pleasure, meeting Jenny from Alfred Berg who travels in from Korea. What a perfect timing for my first ever visit to Japan!

Japan’s been on my bucket list for years, and for some odd reason I’ve never got the chance to visit before. I’ve got five full days to explore the best of Tokyo – super grateful for any good insiders’ ideas & tips on where to stay and what to explore!

My plans so far include loads of pink cherry blossoms and a night at the cutest bookstore hotel ever, perfect for a bookworm like me, before Jenny arrives from Seoul..

I arrive just after Slush Japan, but trust there’ll be loads of techies still in town. Cathy Hodge from DigitalShip is also around, prior to Sea Japan. So might be quite a fun trip, this one…🍸

Borderless Business; Languages Decrypted

Looks as this awesome piece of tech could arrive just in time for @norshipping next year! Would make the week even more fun – tearing down the walls of different languages – within European languages firstly…💡🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇹🇪🇸🇵🇹 

Though I can make myself understood on “tourist” level in Russian, Spanish, Italian and squeeze out some phrases in German and Portuguese, I really miss having the time to learn more languages properly. My No.1 advise to young people eager to make smart choices for an exciting future as a global citizen would be; explore and learn as many languages as you can! Especially Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Spanish/Portuguese. Languages are a gateway, a key to understanding people and cultures, build relationships and enjoy international acquaintances in an entirely different way. 

Meanwhile, I recently joined the crowd-funding of a gadget I hope can help unlocking some of the cross-lingual opportunities; The Pilot! Maybe it won’t even work, but if it does I can’t wait to explore it next Nor-Shipping – enjoying far better conversations with industry colleagues and friends from a span of different countries😊

If it works, it will also be an amazing travel companion… Very excited! 

What’s your favorite gadget when exploring the world?

// Birgit

#FromProblemToProfit #borderlessbusiness #crowdfunding #ThePilot #shippingtechnerd 🙌🏽🌱@indiegogo

Slow speeding in Sri Lanka

Watching the big ships from Maersk, MOL++ appear and disappear in the horizon, and waves crushing into the rocks below, as I enjoy a coffe on the balcony… Typical for many in my generation, I don’t care much about material status symbols. Expensive purses, jewelry, designer clothes – it’s nice but just not important. I prefer investing in good experiences whether it’s back home or traveling. These extra days in Sri Lanka with my kids and mom has definitely been a good investment – recharging my batteries doing nothing.

As often as I can, I avoid the big resorts, and try finding hidden pearls that are privately owned and run. It’s just a whole different experience, and I feel more grounded, peaceful and connected in smaller B&Bs.

This time, I booked a room in a private guest house in Unawatuna, which proved to be a true haven for us. A villa with a garden and its own private beach behind heavy old wooden gates, a bit outside the main track. The garden is sheltered from the sun by big palm trees, and Erik enjoys his lunch naps in a hammock facing the sea, rolled into sleep by the ongoing sound of waves. We have breakfast outside, in what Knut (3) refers to as a sandbox, and afterwards climb 4 steps down to soak ourselves in the turqouise water.

With 7 rooms, the owner of this place started his career washing dishes at a hotel. He came from a family without the opportunity to provide support for any education, but really had a thirst for studying more. So he worked 2 jobs, did his degree, and before the tsunami hit in 2004, he had his own restaurant & home.

After the tsunami, leaving the property destroyed, except for one building, he has rebuilt what is now a true gem. With help from an Italian family and loads of hard work, he made his own dream come true. We enjoy an amazing hospitality combined with nice chats, and my little monkeys spend much of the day playing with their 4 year old son, while the family’s daughter is studying at the international school over in Galle to prepare for a future pursuing every opportunity her father didn’t get himself while growing up.

Besides a trip to visit a turtle shelter, a boat trip to the Koggala lagoon and small islands with temples and cinnamon producing families (which our host drove us to and joined in on), and a few rides in a tuk-tuk to dine by the main beach, we have done absolutely nothing. Which is perfect for us. No stress, nothing to plan, nothing to make on time. Just being together, playing, eating, enjoying life.

There are so many things I’d love to explore across this beautiful pearl of the Indian Ocean. But we’ll save that for a later visit, as my little rascals are much happier just spending time together in a slow speed…

Tomorrow, we’ll take the train from Galle to Colombo, where meeting so, conference and my speech on sustainable and digital opportunities for the shipping industry is on the agenda the coming days.

Writer’s view while both kids are fast asleep..

We have this little beach all to ourselves…

Tree climbing practice, while little brother just learnt not to try and eat a shell with inhabitants still inside…

Nothing beats the sound of waves when its time for a lunch nap

Who Buys Books Anymore?

Existing in a digital world, iPad, phone and Kindle are of course necessities for digesting written content. But nevertheless, books are still my favorite items to go shopping for. Exploring bookstores wherever I go, always pinning out the ones that cover international languages. Here are my treasures from Changi airport last week…  

The book in the middle is particularly interesting – Connectography. I was so fortunate as to attend a speech and book launch which I discovered quite by chance. I just managed to squeeze in a visit to the university of International Studies between meetings and a business dinner hosted by the top executives of Kongsberg Group. Refreshing and inspirational for a school drop-out like myself, always thirsting for new input & knowledge. And the message of this book hits me directly – sharing a lot of the same thoughts (though in a less educated/advanced shape).

Reading as many pages as I can in both ways – travelling and reading at the same time..

My kind of religion 😋    
Mindful app, how ironic is that… Mindful mobile 😖 


Wanted: Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Destination Colombo: WISTA CASA Asia Pacific Shipping Conference on the agenda! Look forward to meet Asian & international colleagues in Colombo 6-7 May!

Do you have any good experiences to share on what to experience and where to stay on the South West coast of Sri Lanka? First week of May I’ll be speaking at the WISTA CASA Asia Shipping Conference in Colombo, and as it’s an ovale week here in Norway, I managed to make a combined business & family trip out of it.

Last September I was invited to speak at a shipping conference in Colombo, and as my schedule didn’t allow for me to attend, I was thrilled when I got this second opportunity in May, where I’ll be among the speakers in the session for “Future of Logistics: Impact of Technology And Shifts In Demand”:  

As I travel quite a lot while my kids are still  very young, I occasionally try to bring them if my work schedule and practical circumstances allow for it. I did it more extensively while I ran my own company, as I could deliver my work from anywhere with a wi-fi connection and phone access, whilst this past year has offered limited possibilities. But this time, my mother was able to take time of from work to join us, and as she has never before experienced Asia, it will be exciting to see how she finds this trip.

We will be spending the last 2 days in Colombo, but with small kids I thought it’d be a better choice to find a quiet and scenic area somewhere between Colombo and Galle, on the South Western part of the island known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

I would love to hear from you here on the blog if you have personal tips or experiences to share with me, whether it’s places to stay, picturesque sites or towns to visit or experiences we shouldn’t miss out on.

Enjoy your Sunday night! // Birgit 🌴

Movies moves the world..

Now she lost it, you probably think; Obviously she meant ships? Or perhaps planes?  Well, just as we need big ships and infrastructure to connect and move us and our goods/energy physically and develop the world – we also need intellectual infrastructure to move and connect our brains and hearts. Movies, books and music are all essential infrastructure for the cultural exchange that moves our perspectives, enabling us to visit and understand the world, even without leaving home.

I see myself as a global citizen rather than just a Norwegian. And I often prefer watchin’ movies from different regions when travelling, just as I prefer staying at private homes rather than intercontinental homes to get a different experience. Cultural entertainment and Insights in various forms builds soft bridges between us human beings, and if we’re curious when approaching cultural similarities & differences we will gain such a span of additional learning, awareness and interesting experiences. All you need to do is keep an open attitude towards expanding your views and opinions.

Now, back to the post headline; Indian movies are high up on my list when it comes to exploring different regions. After a 9 hour sleep across a 4-seater heading for Singapore, I opted for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. A movie starring Kareena Kapoor, one of my favorite Bollywood actresses.

I was introduced to her work by smart & cute Shivalee, while spending a week as guest in her home in Mumbai some years ago. Shivalee’s mother Namrata is a good Indian friend, and former project team colleague from Wilhelmsen.

So whenever I spot a movie starring Kapoor, I go for it. This time, however, the true star is an adorable 6 year old…

It starts and ends in the Pakistani part of Kashmir, and is the story of a young mute girl who gets separated from her mother in India, and her journey back home, with the help of a warm-hearted man.

It’s also the entwined with the conflicts and complicated relationship between India and Pakistan, with a warm, engaging twist to it. Symbols of hope and human souls conquering physical man-made borders and mental barriers.

Imagine the beautiful scenery of Pakistan’s Kashmir region (or in reality perhaps somewhere on the Indian side of the border, due to the regional conflict?), captivating shots from Agra, Dehli and Mumbai, and perfectly composed details in the dialogues and moments combined with classic dance acts – all under the lead of the Bollywood director Kabir Khan. PS: The scene where Rasika tries to comfort the girl is a high-light, Bhangra meets Tyroler joodling(!!) – not to mention the scenes leading up to the grand finale. Make sure to watch this one!!!

Tip of the day from Singapore – now tell me; what’s your favorite Bollywood movie? Or do you have another fav region outside of Hollywood?

Namrata & Shivalee; I’m thinking of you and good memories from Mumbai while writing, and as always when watching a Kareena Khapoor film ❤️

Hoiden Loner on a Sharing-Economy Business Trip

Texas travel letter and thoughts on solitude: Austin brands itself as Weird, though its original inhabitants claim the weirdness is lost through SXSWs hipster status and over-commercialization. Nevertheless – first place in the U.S. that I ever visited where topless is yay and weapons are ney! Austin is probably what you’d get if you put San Diego & Provincetown in a Texas blender. Anyway, with rising prices and loaded L.A. people invading the real-estate market, you should probably go before it becomes completely unweird.

I was a lonesome traveller arriving, but never felt lonely. Probably due to my Hoiden personality? 😋 (scroll through the photos below to find out what Hoiden means..). As a mother of 2 small boys, I treasure family time, but always appreciate the small stretches of being completely on my own – whether on a plane or walking between meetings – and the feeling of being unconnected, completely independent and free. A sense of being an outsider, observing the world around from a distance. Where you’re not required to interact or participate, and somewhat invisible. In my opinion, travelling alone is something everyone should do once in a while. It reminds you of which state your relationship with yourself is in. How comfortable you are in your own company. After all, drilling down to the core of our inner person, we are all here in this world by ourselves. In an over-crowded and hectic world, solitude to me feels like taking a medicine, or a vitamine shot.   

If you feel uncomfortable eating out or sitting at a café all by yourself (or, like me, just love to read), you can bring a book. Being alone also makes you more open to spontanious, unexpected surprises. And you get much, much better service. Just to mention some perks.

I’ve travelled alone frequently since 2006, but rarely get the opportunity nowadays – vacationwise anyway.. If not for the security/safety situation and for the fact that I can’t switch gender for just a few months’ time, my ultimate dream is to hitch-hike and backpack from Europe across Middle East to China. Bucket list!

I often travel alone to various places for work, but due to the nature of our industry and the closely tied global network, I always meet people I know. And I usually spend both my mornings, daytime and late nights with a combination of familiar & new industry people. As you try and keep the trips short and utilizing them as efficient as possible, evenings also consist of business networking, and I very rarely have time for much other than sleep and get up-to-date on the most urgent items in my mailbox in between.

This trip was different, as I arrived without knowing any other industry colleagues travelling in for the SXSW Interactive, and entered in as an outsider and visitor. I had communicated with Morgan who’s in charge of SXSW Eco and SXgood with UN Foundation and a few other people, but knew that she was up to her neck in work all week. Also, Oslo Business Council organised their own lounge, but I didn’t exactly travel to Austin to network with other Norwegians (even though they’re great people) 😋

Instead, I have had every opportunity for being open to meet new people. And so I did!

Arriving at Houston airport, I met some really sweet girls from England & Scotland, and carpooled to Austin in a shiny white road monster – gate crashing the first leg of their Texas road trip(!). Good conversations and chemistry – it turned out they were all managers at the Lidl head office in London. With a passion for country music & rodeos, there was a whole lot of loud singing going on. All the country classics; unexpected and really fun!! 

Arriving in Austin, I had booked a room through AirBnb in a private flat, as the hotel prices were really high. My host Chilee had recently moved in from Las Vegas, and shared it with a friend from the South. While the other guest was a woman from San Fransisco, a director of a big IT company. 

Filling my days with conferences and seminars, my evenings were unplanned. I had some invitations to various networking events and parties, but didn’t really know anyone well. So I pinned the venues in my SXSW app, and went out exploring. And I had some amazing meetings with inspiring and engaged people from all over the States – and other regions of the world;

  • Saturday breakfast with Jim from Seattle and a girl from Dublin
  • Coffee and mutual sharing of all-time low life challenges with a heavily tattooed and rocker-style writer and former PR Director from London (yupp, the classic 40-something self-realization stage, but amazing conversation)
  • Lunch with an environmentalist couple from Argentina/Chile, where he was a client of a Sweedish shipping company 
  • Dinner with a group of friends from Washington 
  • Nylon party and concerts with George from San Diego, two girls from South Africa and a couple from Israel. Arriving at the party, I bumped right into Swedish artist Sara Larsson, and it turned out she was among those entertaining us(!)
  • Sunday breakfast with two Indian guys, a Mexican girl and a Chinese girl
  • Sunday lunch drink at Coyote Ugly (just to have been there..) spent discussing war & peace with a U.S. Army veteran (Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine etc) from Alabama with Norwegian ancestors, who’s jaw dropped when I told him his last name was the same as that of the new big Norwegian oilfield (Kastberg)
  • And Sunday dinner with a really nice guy from Austin, as I discovered a small Indian place off the beaten festival tracks. Learnt a lot about Austin!

Not to mention all the mind-blowing innovators, entrepreneurs, speakers and panelists I was able to discover during these days! 

By the way; I got some great tips alltogether ref to the best of Austinn, that I’ll have to save for my next trip due to the purpose of this one, but meanwhile I’ll share them with you;

  • The locals’ own intimate festival “Eeyore’s birthday” in the woods – hippie style every April (apparently lots of nudity too)
  • Pop-up flea markets in South Congress
  • Restaurant Odd Duck and small charming shops along South Lamar
  • All-year swimming in Barton Springs Pool, which used to be the big gathering area for hippies & locals cooling down before A/C was common



London City: Baltic Exchange – quiet night in London

London by night! Following a really nice day spent at the house of Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade, I’m taking full advantage of the rare occasion of having an evening/night off while travelling.

The obvious choices would of course be some combo of a show, shopping, nice dining or other ways to utilize the amazing span of things to do in one of my favourite cities. What did I choose?

No matter how much I adore my boys, its such a luxury to enjoy the occasional experience of having an entire bed all to myself! #cosleeping #solosleeping


Exactly – going to bed at 9:15pm. Enjoying a bed filled with lush pillows and Egyptian cotton, in a small top-level room of an old Victorian building, narrow staircases, no elevator and 2 rooms per floor… Hidden away from the crowds just off Liverpool Street, only one block from the business people here in City. Note down “The Bull and The Hind” and save for your next trip. I always prefer good bargaining when travelling, and this room was at 60% discount – last minute. I also prefer avoiding huge, continental hotel chains, so this small boutique guest house above a pub a few blocks away from tomorrow’s meeting venue was a superb choice.

Tomorrow morning is filled with meetings, then a press event and round table meeting with some 22 journalists after lunch at the Baltic Exchange, organised by Blue-C. I’m chairing the event, and we are happy to see how they have embraced our Disruptive Sustainable focus, bringing this to the table with some great speakers from Jotun, Wärtsila, ABB and ABS.

All in for a great start to this next week, and sharing some captures of the guesthouse atmosphere! Get your travel shoes on and explore our world 🙂


Vediamo a Genova!

While my eminent colleague represent Nor-Shipping in Limassol during Maritime Cyprus, I am heading for Italy and the 2nd edition of Genova Shipping Week tomorrow. Let me know if you’re there – I’ll be attending the conferences on Thursday & Friday, as well as the dinner at Eataly/Porto Antico Thursday night. And then some…

Last edition two years ago also included the formal launch of YoungShip Italy, initiated and organised with a fantastic team of young Italian shipowners and executives. 

With possibly the most active young shipowners’ group, it comes as no surprise that the Italians have suceeded with one of the newest YoungShip branches becoming one of the most visible ones, engaging actively within the maritime community, while attracting media’s attention, across the age groups. Optimistic for the Italian maritime industry!

Looking most forward to seeing these passionate industry colleagues again, for both business & leisure!

Some snapshots below from 2013 – yacht launch and the Bravo Tankers’ party in one of the many spectacular villas surrounding the historical city’s hills…



Oslo check this out: Cleaning Day Finland #Concept2Copy

When arriving in Helsinki, I hadn’t had time to check anything about which areas and places to go/see. So when I walked out of the hotel yesterday, and met this sight after a few hundred metres, I couldn’t believe my luck! This community project appears to be of Australian origin, and allows all of Helsinki’s inhabitants to sell or give away things they no longer need or use, in any public place all over town. 

I’d love to see Oslo copy this concept!

 The entire Vanha kirkkopuisto (park) that I coincidentally found, was covered and crowded with stands and people of all sorts and ages. I spoke to a few of the sellers, and discovered that this specific Saturday was one out of two each year (the other one during spring) where the locals clean out their closets and bring all they can carry with them to the nearest public park or street. 

Some made a picnic out of it, bringing wine and lunch, while others even brought their own hammocks. Cheerful people – great atmosphere! An entire “festival” dedicated to a very environmentally friendly mindset,  and so much more fun than the regular departement store shoppingI grew up spending more than a few weekends at flea markets. Looong before it was ever considered trendy. The reason was simple; my father was a collector of old merch, toys++ and as we were 4 kids at home, he had to bring some of us along in order to enjoy his hobby without getting in serious trouble with the wifey…

You might think this would have cured me from visiting markets and bargaining prices for the rest of my life, but it actually had the opposite effect. Lots of good childhood memories, and I absolutely love to visit street markets for treasure hunting. (I also have the odd habit of trying to bargain discounts at regular stores, to some sellers’ frustration, but thats a different story…) 

As I arrived after lunch, some sellers where already on their way home – which equals treasures at bargain prices!  Here’s a sneak-peak into some of the stuff I found, needless to say it was a bit difficult to close my suitcase (hand luggage traveller…) this morning!  The beige knitted sweater was mine for 1€, while the 60’s rings came at 5€ each. 6 old sheep bells from Tibet/India a.o robbed me of 2€. Silk scarf and open silk shirt from Zara 4€/piece. But there was also a massive amount of designer brands and high-end products, for really reasonable prices. 

So to those of you sharing the passion for recycling and treasure hunting; make sure to google “clean-out Helsinki” and coordinate the dates if you get the chance to visit this beautiful city. Highly reccomended!

Now on my way back – and can’t wait to get home to my little rascals. Enjoy your Sunday!

Some views from the weekend:  


Foodie alert: Boulevard Social #Helsinki

I am a 120% dedicated foodie. Some people eat as a neccessity to live – I live to eat and enjoy food. I’m not the typical “gourmet” (the up-tight type of foodie who strictly chases the high-end restaurants), but more a case of genuine food curiousity and a healthy appetite. 

From my perspective, the joys of travelling is made out of a combination of 3 things; people you meet + atmosphere + food. Obviously, eating out bridges all three… Finding a cosy place, while exploring tasty ingredients in a combo I haven’t tried before. Sharing the meal and a good chat with others, or just in my own company while people-spotting. 

Some people chase mountain summits or marathons. I chase mouth-watering flavours and charming places to enjoy a meal or snack.

By no means does it have to be hip and/or expensive. Some of my all-time favourites over the years consist of a 3-tables “bring your own ingredients” chicken meal behind an anonymous door near a street market in Essaouira (Morroco, that is), a street food trolley in New Dehli (I have built up a really good resistence for bacteria over the years…) while buying 30 extra portions for street kids as that’s something that won’t end up in the pocket of a criminal guy, or a homemade lunch including fish head at a local artist’s home and gallery near Lagos (Nigeria).

Well, enough of that. What I actually wanted to share with you just now is a reccomended tip from Helsinki, following last night’s dinner with a great bunch of industry colleagues!

Sharing menus based on the Greek, Lebanese, Tunisian and Morrocan kitchens, put together all yummy and irresistible!   


Good morning from Helsinki! (On my way for breakfast, this writing got my appetite started..)

Birgit 😋


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