Interview with Lise at Syftestad Gard

Lise and Martin took a leap and left the city in order to do something they had zero knowledge of — becoming owners of the lovely farm Syftestad Gard.

Out there they've found peace, liberation and an tremendous amount of joy. Stepping into unknown territory has strengthened their persona, their relationship to nature, and their bond to each other.

This is a story that inspires us to follow our instincts and make deliberate choices. Put into simple words: let happiness lead the way.

Who are you?
I am a 29-year-old girl from the countryside in Telemark, Norway. I'm a journalist, TV- and podcast host, and now I would call myself a farmer. First I fell for the dream man, and then we fell for the dream place - me and my boyfriend gave up our modern life in Oslo for the both peaceful and chaotic life at our farm in the countryside along with our 20 animals. 

How would you describe yourself?
I am a very giggly, energetic and impatient person. All my life I've sought the spotlight. I've had a need for attention and confirmation, but I have also been very insecure and struggled with anxiety.
I have always had a good imagination, many ideas and a great need to do a thousand things at once. I love the contrasts between the hectic and social life and the calm and meditative. ‘Complex’ would be the word, I guess. 

For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of having my own farm. I didn't think it would happen for many years. Then I met Martin, and fortunately he also had a dream of moving out of the city. One thing led to the other, and after just four months as a couple we went for it. It was a risk, but the best decision of our life.

We felt like we needed something new, we needed to create something together, a project that would challenge us personally and as a couple.

We have zero experience with farming, but we have learned a huge amount already and the drive is certainly there. Huge life changes will provoke a reaction, and I often react with a lot of big emotions. Fortunately, I have Martin that comforts me in that it's gonna be fine. 

My definition of ‘home’ has changed throughout my life.

I grew up in a small village in the countryside of Norway with my parents and my little brother. For many years, I defined ‘home’ as the place where my parents were, and it became difficult for me when they decided to split up and sell my childhood home. For some time I was very conflicted about what I could call ‘home’ because it felt like it was gone.

Over the years, I have found that home is where my loved ones are and where I feel at ease. It's not one specific house or place.

With that said I found my home last summer when we bought the farm, Syftestadgard. Knowing that we will make this a safe place for our children and animals defines the feeling of ‘home’ to me.

But who knows, maybe it'll change again. 

I have never been limited by my family. My parents and grandparents have always let me be exactly who I am, and they have let me and my brother do all the things we desire. Growing up it was perfectly okay to be different in our family, even though people in our small community thought me and my brother were a bit ‘extra’ for pursuing singing, theater and golfing.

Our parents and grandparents made it possible for us to express ourselves creatively, and that has formed me to be proud of all that I am.

There are so many great things and so many special moments. From waking up to the unreal view outside the window, the fog that lies on the water, to all the colors in the sunsets. Watching the hens for hours, cuddling the pigs and goats, breathing the fresh air and also the support from the locals.

But if I had to choose one thing it must be the peace and calm I feel every day. I have had so much anxiety in my body the last many years, and to finally feel at ease is the best thing ever. 

Besides coffee and my favorite podcast in the morning, an important ritual is feeding the animals and watching all the different characters come together in harmony (and sometimes not so much harmony) in the yard. It's a cliché, but all the animals and all the small weird things they do means the world to me. 

The payoff and the reward is so incredibly large if you dare to take chances.

Even if it doesn't go as planned, and even if you ‘fail’, the lesson is worth the try. It's so much more exciting to follow your heart and dreams, than being stuck in the safe zone. I think you will be happier in the long run if you do what feels right in your heart, but I know very well that it's scary.

Maybe the best advice after all is to have people in your life that pushes you, supports you and cherish the dreams in your heart.  

I struggle to believe that I am good enough. I am probably my biggest critic, and I'm almost never satisfied with my own work. I need to work on accepting myself, worry less and be accepting of what life gives me.

And also I need to work on my carpentry skills, my patience with both animals and people here at the farm, and my Polish (Martin is Polish, and our kids is gonna be bilingual).

I became aware of what I need and what attracts me when I met my partner:
showing all kinds of emotions, creative ideas, courage and a strong drive to achieve your goals.

There is a calm inside of me.

No matter how much anxiety and worry I feel, I can always work on finding inner peace.
Things do get better. 

At this moment the ultimate dream is to be able to make a living at the farm. We want Syftestad Gard to be a place people come back to, where people find peace, where animals live their best life, and where we can make a family with a bunch of kids.

That would be kinda epic.

And I also dream of Martin making me a pottery studio.

Follow Martin and Lise on their incredible journey as they transition from city life to becoming farm owners.