Teaching has been my trade for the last thirty-some years, and I practice my skills with 13 to 16 year-olds in Bergen, Norway, which has been my base camp for even longer. I teach History, Geography, English and Music, and I have always enjoyed doing so very much.
I was born (1955) in Sweden, and had a suburban upbringing in Stockholm and Linköping. At 22 I moved across the border and across the mountains to settle in Bergen, and here I was married for many years. My daughters Hanne, Hilde and Astrid are now all past 25, and this last spring I became the proud grandfather of the twins Arthur and Georg.
Shortly after my move to Norway, my three sisters all moved to Australia, and finally my parents joined them there. They have since long made up the core of the Swedish community of Townsville, Queensland, and this has, of course, turned me into a round-the-world traveler. It is through my sisters and brothers-in-law that my connection to PNG came about.
My education is a mix of Teachers College and university studies, and I have a Master degree in History from the University here in Bergen. My thesis was about development in modern Egypt – quite a while ago now, but Egypt still has a place in my heart.
I am a part time writer and a hobby photographer, and ‘Beautiful Tufi’ is my first book. Previously I’ve had some magazine articles published, I have written some musical dramas for my school and I have a web page with some travelling stories. Some of my photos have appeared in other writer’s books and I have a good number of visitors to my web albums on Flickr and Panoramio(Google Earth).
I have many (too many?) interests I try to keep up, practice and enjoy: music, arts, sports; I enjoy the outdoors – trekking, skiing and diving; fresh air, scenery and wild life. When sitting by my desk writing, as right now, I always feel I should have been out there some place, breathing. Did I mention travelling?
In 2010-11 I took a year off from my school work to spend time in PNG, collecting stories and information for my book. It also gave me an opportunity, of course, to spend some time with my Queensland family. The seven months I spent in PNG – six of them at Tufi – were the most fascinating, interesting and rewarding seven months of my life.
When writing this bio, I am also preparing for a short return to Tufi (where they call me Mr. Jan) for a local ‘launching’ of my book. I’m truly excited, and can’t wait to again step off the plane at the little airstrip, and again meet with all my Tufi friends; to paddle by the fjords, to walk the forest paths, and to put on a mask and peek under the water surface. My canoe is waiting for me at the beach by Kofure village, I know!