This Norwegian toast was used frequently throughout the evening; served along with a shot glass full of a very strong Norwegian liquor, called Aquavit. Here’s what www.partythroughtheparks.com has to say about Linie Aquavit (what we were drinking that night.)
"Matured in old sherry casks, Linie has a rich, rounded flavour, with aniseed, caraway and oak adding complexity. Every bottle of Linie Aquavit carries details of it's voyage around the world on the reverse of it's label. And even more importantly, every drop of Linie contains traces of it's voyage. Linie - taste that really travels."
Here’s what I had to say… Arga-cough. It is difficult, in fact, to pronounce the toast when you are coughing violently. Still, I did my best. We were, after all, celebrating the explorer of all explorers…. Thor Heyerdahl.
Many people are probably far more familiar with Mr. Heyerdahl’s infamous journey across the pacific on a wooden raft called the Kon Tiki. Certainly you may have seen the movie that dramatized the voyage. But somehow I had missed all of this, and it wasn’t until Thor’s book landed in the hands of my adventure loving daughter that I learned the whole story.
Incredibly, this man set off in 1947 on a man-made wooden raft on an 8,000 mile trip from South America to Polynesia. He was attempting to prove that ancient civilizations spread their culture across the ocean in a similar way, something that at the time scholars did not believe could have happened. Perhaps this is what is meant when we say our world in becoming smaller. Today an idea in one part of the world can spread to another literally within minutes. It is a matter of popularity and access.
Which makes me pause and consider- today the ocean that must be crossed by ideas is one of information. Tides of trends and consensus move ideas around like bits of flotsam.
Thor had to prove not only that the tides moved in the right direction to get the raft where it needed to go, but also that the raft itself could endure the journey. Today we are still learning what exactly moves the tides of popularity in the ocean of social media. Which concepts and information endure, and which are destroyed by the sheer force of competing content.
And, unlike in ancient times, it is often easier to send information across the world than it is around the block. We fight with an ocean that is so pervasive it invades our very homes; just try getting the attention of your ten year old and you will see what I mean. This, I think, is why there is such an outreach toward community. Shop local! Plan neighborhood block parties! Support your community! All of these are based on the need to connect and relate to each other locally- something I think that Thor would have understood. After all, when he eventually reached Polynesia he did not land and then immediately disappear off to celebrate his triumph with the world. Instead he and the other men spent time with the native people, celebrating a victory that was as much theirs as his own.
So Skål – here’s to your next adventure- especially if it is right next door.
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