I didn’t see this coming.

I have come to firmly believe that being open to the unexpected in life is essential to living a full, enriched life. In all truth this is a perspective I must adopt in that my life presently bears very little resemblance to where I imagined I’d be. That said, I’m not sure how much I had imagined my 45 yr old self. But I can tell you this for certain, if I had, it would not have painted the picture of a European based career in shipping, attending global conferences and exhibitions. Nope. Didn’t see this coming.

But given that this has somehow become my reality I am constantly taking stock of my surroundings and gleefully enjoying pinch-me moments.

This week was no exception with the latest installment in the “whose life is this anyhow” series. We were attending Nor-Shipping. The largest shipping expo in The kingdom of Norway, taking place in a small town just outside of Oslo.

Kind of think this flag is now up there with one of my most favourite.

The small town our event was held in.

First off, this was my first trip to Norway and right away I liked the energy there. I think it may be the Canada of Europe. Fresh, green, smiley, healthy-looking people. Nice looking people. Like really, really nice. This is the land of tall, beautiful blonde people. Good sightseeing for every taste.

I digress.

It was also incredibly easy to make healthy eating choices which for me, plays a big role in feeling good on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beer & a pulled pork sandwich like the next guy but when that becomes your only choice for a week-long trip, you start to feel very heavy and sluggish. It would seem the Norwegians value healthy eating too which was so appreciated.

That was really a small punctuation of an overall great trip. Wonderful work colleagues, strong feedback of support for the work I am doing and generally a very positive networking experience.

But there was one evening that really took this trip over the top. The third of a series of evening engagements which I admit to often dreading, to be honest. I simply value sleep far too much to enjoy a string of late nights during a busy week. So typically, come day three, I’ve already decided that I’ll skip the evening event, find a meal near the hotel and be winding down by 8:30. Perfection.

The setting of the first evening’s party. It was SOOOOO cold!!

The setting of the second evening event. A table that was also a heater, with buckets of ice for beer & wine. Perfection. I didn’t move!

What has become a noticeable trend though is that the more I resist the evening event, the more it will blow my mind when I do muster the pluckiness required to go.

This Thursday was no exception.

The event was hosted by the biggest publication in our industry. Tradewinds. It was hosted on the Christian Radich, a tall-ship style yacht.

The Christian Radich in full sail. We didn’t get to see it that way.

That setting alone was pretty spectacular but what put it over-the-top was its mooring location.

Here she is, read for us to climb aboard.

Moored directly next to the stage of a spectacular concert featuring Norway’s greatest 80s pop band Aha.

who doesn’t remember that oldie-but-a-goodie.

But the best was yet to come…

Andre Bocelli.

Ah. Maz. Ing.

Every time we travel south, to Ticino or Italy, I have a specific playlist I insist on playing, loudly. Featuring lovely accordion ballads, Marjorie Clooney, Louis Prima and Italian opera. The fact that my kids easily sing along to Volare and Funiculi Funicola makes me immensely proud.

So hearing this music live, on the yacht, sung by Andre Bocelli was INSANE!!!!

“Hmm, I don’t really feel like going out.” she said.

“I’d really rather an early night.” she said.

Dum dum.

If we don’t embrace the unplanned, the road-less traveled, the unexpected, the daunting, how will we ever find ourselves on a yacht, being serenaded by one of the most amazing voices the world has ever known!?

The very best seats one could ever imagine for such an incredible show.

One of the best parts, this boys’ choir, in uniform, singing along with Andrea.

Again I say, I did not, in a million years imagine this life for myself but I am damned well enjoying & embracing everything it is throwing my way.

Oh, and the fireworks over the water.

While getting to and from the events we took in a few more of the sights of Oslo. A lovely city. Cool and rainy, at times torrential, but the long, long daylight hours made it easy to enjoy.

The view facing away from the stage during the concert.

The water is just on the other side of this wall.

Late in the evening the sun was still a ways from the horizon.

11:00pm, walking back to the hotel.

Some of the sites in the busy downtown area.

Lively still late at night.

Palace-like building but not the actual palace.

Little kitty at the train station.

Nobel Peace Centre

The harbour front. With the fort in the distance near our concert.

Pretty square in the evening light.

Pretty statue.

Look who we found. Fearless girl. Love her.

Love every part of this. I celebrate.

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