My name is Ágústa Margrét Arnardóttir. I was born and raised in a small fishing village with about 2000 inhabitants, with the rough Atlantic ocean on one side and Vatnajökull glacier on the other.
I only just realized how wild and free my childhood really was. Similar to other Icelandic children I got the opportunity to play outside without many limits or rules- that taught me responsibility and to take care of myself and others. It also gave me the taste of nature and built up my creativity. The town was expanding very fast, houses being built everywhere so there was great material, like timber, nails and all kind of stuff to make cabins and adventure area. Our garden was our place, where we played, built and created what we wanted.
I also got the opportunity to observe the older, I watched one grandmother knit and the other make opera costumes. My mother sewed our clothes, made quilts, knitted and made our house a home. My father was most of the time out on sea, but when his boat was a shore we were allowed to work with him in the net- shed.
Around the age of 10, I went with my father for the first time on his fishing boat far away from home for few days. I immediately loved the ocean, even though I was sea-sick all the time.
At the age of 13, I was working in a fish factory, in these days it was normal for kids to start to work at the age of 12-13 (thankfully). It was great to have the respect and responsibility, I loved cutting fish, put lobster in boxes, stack herring barrels and so on.
But at the age of 15, I realized that the salary and working type of being a “fishermen” suited me better. So I went on board a fishing boat and asked the captain to allow me to go with them to catch lobster in troll. He was happy to have me and a friend on board and my parents allowed this. This was the beginning of my 12 years of working on fishing boats.
The summer before I turned 16, I was very lucky to be able to go also with my father on his boat, that was my “wildschooling” experience with him. We sailed for 5 days to Smutthullet between Iceland and Norway. There were conflicts at that time over who the fishing area belonged to. The last day before heading home 2 Norwegian coastguards descended from a helicopter on board our ship and stopped us from fishing and leaving the area. After inquires and talk for few hours, we were allowed to sail back home….. I was hoping we would be sent to Norway ;) This was an adventure for a 15 year old girl.
I always felt the best out on sea. I loved the waves, the weather (no matter how bad it was) the companionship, the work, the view and the freedom. I have not felt this type of freedom a shore. I was never very unhappy at home, I had great childhood friends and a good life but I didn’t feel “at place”. Most of the time I wanted something different and because of that I felt different and my confidence and self-esteem was low. I tried various types of education after graduating from junior high (16 years old) and lived abroad in between working on fishing boats. All experience, the good one and the bad one, has been great and got me to where I am today.
I haven’t been out on sea since December 2005. 3 weeks after my last fishing tour I got pregnant, I moved for a while to Italy and studied show- and accessory design. Came back home and settled with my boyfriend in his hometown and our first of five children was born September 2006.
Since our daughter was born I have done my very best to “fit” in society, but there is always something missing. I have felt like such a loser for not being able to meet up with society’s standard. I have been in constant self-development, trying to fit better and feel better.
For the last 5 years I have been thinking that my ADHD, anxiety, fibromyalgia, addictions and more are the reason for my “different” way of thinking. But even though I have been working on all these aspects for the last years I do not feel fully content, it seems that I am just not able to meet all the social standards, I feel and imagine are requested of me.
After repeatedly thinking “what is wrong with me” and “what can I do” to make me and my family feel good about ourselves and “fit in” I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with us and don’t have to fit in.
There is a life style of homeschooling and different approaches to learn and live. We all feel our best when we are free, outdoor, creating something and growing from our own interest and values.
It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us, it means we are wild at heart and wild in action.
It doesn’t mean we are bad or bad behaved. We are all good persons with great hearts, talk nicely to others, care for nature and life. Our parenting style is gentle, respectful and collaborative.
We are not fighting the society, we respect the people that fit in the frame but we want to make our frame ourself.
One year ago I dug deep for my true values, goals and dreams. That digging got me on the path I am on now. Only time will tell if this path suits me, my boyfriend and all of my children. Our lives will always be a mixture of seven different ideas, but the main goal is the same: happy, healthy, content, self-assured life and now we are on the mission: the “quest” of finding our most joyful, educational and for fulling path towards these goals.
Where abouts in the world are you right now?
Right now I am at our home in Djupviogur Iceland, going to Spain in March (at time of interview).
What do you love about this place?
It is safe, quiet, friendly and the nature is absolutely amazing.
Anything you don’t like?!
The darkness over winter months and the weather, though it is fun to go out in snow, rain, storm and cold it doesn’t apply very well to me 7-8 month a year.
What are the three most challenging aspects that stand out?
After the winter everyone in the family has become a little „lazy“ it grows into a habit to just stay at home and have a cozy time, so it is challenging to get every one out. But when we are out it is amazing and all of us thrive better, connect better and feel better.
Cost, it is way too expensive here so it is very challenging to make things work financially.
Finding harmony and balance between our wild life and the “main stream” life, especially from the school and educations system in Iceland.
How’s the food!
The food is good, fresh and clean. Unfortunately I am not a very good cook and we do not dine out a lot here, so we are not really getting the best of the food here.
Can you give us 3 tips for making it work?
Working together WITH the kids, respecting their ideas, interest, ability, mode and daily form.
These parenting approaches: RIE- respectful parenting, CPS- Collaborative Problem Solving and gentle parenting respecting “wild children”
Keep an eye on the main goal and move forward, trust the process and enjoy.
Do you have any financial tips for travelling?
Dont wait for the „lottery“ pot, to start reaching your goals. Most people answer the question „what would you do if you win the lottey“ by saying „ I would pay all my debts and go for a jurney, buy something, do something and enjoy life”. I recommend everyone asking „what if I never win the lottery- will I never enjoy and live my dreams“!
Make a plan and stick with it. I am fond of the Dave Ramsay approch, it has helped me a lot to get clear vision on the financial matters.
What do you miss, if anything?
I miss the feeling of complete freedom and truly deep happiness/ contentness in life.
What advice would you give to other Mamas planning on travelling with their tribe?
Find your families true goals and values. Visualize where you/ your tribe flourish the best. Design a goal-getting ladder. Take down all the obstacles. Expect surprising steps, take these steps carefully, with serenity and certainty. Trust the process, trust your tribe and enjoy all the steps- even the hard and bad ones.
Where can we find you?!