Happiness In 7 Countries and 100 Stories

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Iceland's Kristin Grímsdóttir, our first DH Reporter-at-large, plans to investigate happiness through 7 countries and 100 stories. We asked Kristin to tell us a little bit about herself. (Be sure to watch for her future posts from the road!)

Where she's from. I’m a 25 years old girl born in Iceland, mainly raised in a small fishing village called Bolungarvík with my parents and a younger brother. I have, for shorter or longer periods, lived in 13 cities in 4 countries.

Curiosity and the urge for learning and exploring more today than yesterday has always been a big part of me. I have used every opportunity I’ve gotten to challenge myself and push me out of my comfort zone. I moved away from home when I was only 15 to go to high school. By the age of 17, I moved alone to Brazil for a year; when I was 20, I went backpacking through South America, and after 2 years of studies in an Engineering School in Iceland, I moved to Stockholm to finish my studies at Royal Institute of Technology.

On her most recent adventures and job. During the last year I have challenged myself more than before by setting high goals that I wanted to achieve. I was fortunate (read: stubborn) enough to reach all of them. I climbed Kilimanjaro, participated in a 30 km cross-country ski race, ran my first ultra-marathon, a 30 km run, and a dirty off-road run. I absolutely loved it and felt never better than sweaty and dirty out in nature.

In August 2011, I started working a “regular job” at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship – though you can say that it was not totally a regular 9 - 5 job.  I was fortunate enough to be able to travel, work flexible hours, and highly interesting people all the time and get inspired in a dynamic entrepreneurial environment. Truth be told: I LOVED my job and gave 110% in it and suddenly I found myself working long hours every day and compromising on everything else in my life.

It was then one morning in late February when I was heading up to Mora in north of Sweden to take part in Vasaloppet, a 90 km cross-country ski race, when I just realized I was in no condition to participate in such a race due to 5 months of no training because of how much I had been working. Lying in bed thinking that this was not how I wanted to prioritize my life, I thought of ways how I could gather everything I love doing in one project –and I got this idea. I decided upon it in the afternoon and the day after I quit my job. I strongly believe that if you follow your heart you can’t do it wrong, and now I want to prove it.

Plans for her current project. I started biking May 1st from my apartment in Stockholm. I will head south and go through Sweden to Denmark, then Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. Greece is the last decided destination  - and from there I will see if I continue to East Europe, Asia and/or Australia and NZ. My mission is to meet, listen to, and write the story of 100 random people. Their stories will be available on www.possunt.com. I will have no plan of specific locations to stay at but I will travel as I find opportunities.

My goal, though, is not to bike 5000 km. It's to show that I am capable of achieving my goals and facing whatever obstacle I will meet with an open, creative and optimistic mind.

My goal is not to meet 100 random people. It's to learn and personally understand people’s motivation in life which will create a platform to start my own project/company, hopefully with people I get connected to in the next months who believe in the same thing as I do.

My goal is not to write every day about what I discover. It's to share the experience through channel (internet -written text, pictures and video blog) that everyone has access to, hoping that it will encourage people to find their own ways to be happy, and to to learn and explore and value people by WHO they are instead of WHAT they are.

On how she delivers happiness to others. My favorite quote, and has been for a decade, is from an old Icelandic poem: “Eitt bros getur dimmu í dagsljós breytt,” meaning, “One smile can change darkness into daylight.” I believe that it’s all about the small everyday moments when you can give of yourself to others. Give a smile, a helping hand, your time and effort not expecting anything in return, but just to give because it creates happiness. And be grateful for having, and using, the power of giving happiness away.

How DH has inspired her. DH’s message about value-based companies focusing on peoples’ happiness merges with my ideas and vision both personally and professionally. To see how Zappos has successfully made a difference to so many people and how it inspired the Delivering Happiness movement really is a true inspiration.

What makes her really happy. Unstoppable, authentic laughter and a sparkle in the eyes. Ohh, and love. Love is best.

Something weird that makes her happy. Weird in general makes me happy. I love everything that is considered weird and out of the box. Actually I’m a really simple person (Simple mind, simple pleasure) and it doesn’t take much to make me happy. For instance I did watch this “music video” when I needed to cherish myself up for an important meeting. You may judge!

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