“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”

Nr 6. Invited to the Viking Dinnerclub on the island of Livø

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During our sailtrips, we meet a lot of people! I noticed that there are 3 kinds of people we meet:

  • Fellow sailors, you meet them in the harbour, or in the ‘Havnkontor’ in Denmark when you pay at the automat
  • Locals who come to the boat to chitchat when they pass by, on their bikes or walking, or you meet them in restaurants or shopping
  • Locals who you spend hours with, because you have something in common or feel at ease with

And Jesper and Benji are definitely locals we had something in common with! Let me tell you how we met.

When we visited with our catamaran the very small Danish island called Livo, we wanted to pay for our stay in the harbour (Livo is 320 ha, 8 people living there, no cars and dogs allowed, there is a small harbour suitable for 5 boats). It said on a bulletinboard at the harbour, you had to pay the € 17 portcharges for the boat at the supermarket. Yes, there were 3 companies on the island: restaurant, supermarket and a farm 😊, We walked the 10 minutes to the middle of the island to find the supermarket.

As we entered the supermarket, we were surprised by the stylish retro look: black and white tiles on the floor and about 50 traditional products on white wooden shelves. Some products are shipped in by the daily ferry. The supermarket was combined with the restaurant, in the corner we saw Jesper cooking on a big black stove. He turned out to be the owner of the supermarket and the restaurant. We asked Jesper what he was cooking, because it smelled delicious! He told us tonight they held the Viking dinnerclub, so he was preparing deer that was shot at the island by the local hunter last year. He was cooking potatoes as well and vegetables and it alle became 1 dish. ‘ Would you like to eat with us?’. Yes, please!

We walked with a small group of people to a lawn surrounded by oak trees and Benji, co-worker at the supermarket and restaurant, made the setting very cosy with a campfire and thick brown wool sheepskins to sit on. We talked about our worldtrip with our catamaran. At some point in the conversation, we mentioned that in 2019 and 2020 we received 24 groups for training on our ship in the Netherlands, now Jesper’s face lit up. Not only did he run the supermarket and restaurant, his greatest joy was giving trainingsessions on the island! So for the next 3 hours he talked about how he gave these teambuilding trainings and how he made his trainingcompany successful: people all over Denmark came to the island of Livo to enjoy the trainings.

‘Our concept for the teambuildingtraining is based principles, that have to do with the roots of Scandinavian society’, Jesper told us while we ate the Viking dinner and drank local Livo beer.

‘When a group comes to the island and step of the ferry, we start and follow these 3 stages’:

  1. Group forming: making an informal setting on the lawn on the island of Livo, having drinks and getting to know each other. That is how every set of people starts to become a group: meet and talk. The drinks are like the ‘oil’ to keep conversations going!
  2. Community building: a group is not a community. A community works together, creates and produces. So after the meet & greet in stage 1 of the training, the group is now invited to make a Viking dinner. Themselves. With no help from Jesper. Stage 2 begins: in the collaboration of cooking talents in the group emerge, you see how people interact. At his point Jesper (studied organizational sciences) and his fellow trainer (a cultural anthropologist) step down, observe, make notes and in the end give feedback of what they have seen in the process of becoming a community. Who had the ideas during cooking, who was an informal leader with a vision, who took the position of a manager and coordinated everything? Who took care of creating trust, how planned activities? The group becomes a community that can work together and help each other
  3. Sustainability: a community can be successful in the long run if they invest in sustainability. How do we want to continue to work together? What are goals we like to achieved in the next 5 years? Writing down plans and processes, so new members of the community feel included in the long run. All 3 aspects of sustainability (social, environment and economic) are taken care of and integrated in the last stage of the training. Sometimes is requires a new training to finish stage 3.

Jesper told us he learned a lot studying the ancient Viking culture: being a viking was a ‘side job’ in those days. Vikings all had a talent or a craftsmanship, with which they contributed to the community. They took care of each other, had long term plans and really made use of nature with how they build their fast ships that could sail from Copenhagen to Constantinople by sea or rowing over rivers.

Before we knew it the sunset at 22.30h started. ‘Yes!’ said Jesper, let’s hop on the tractor, we will take you to the coast of the island to see the sun set in the Limfjord’. And there, we sat on the grass by the water and saw the beautiful sunset. Very happy and grateful to have met these wonderful people that were so hospitable and open to us. A magical on the beautiful island of Livo! http://livo.dk/livoe-kro/