Coffee, the Future, and the Faroe Islands: Adventure-a-Day #8

Maybe it’s a leap to connect this photo of the Faroe Islands with my coffee conversation today, but I don’t think so.

On a beach covered with kelp and seaweed, a small group of young adults are looking at things in the water

Marine biology class on the Faroe Islands
(Photo credit Jill Browne)

I met up with my friend Susan Wright (of Susan on the Soapbox fame) today at one of the two Waves coffee shops on 17th Avenue here in Calgary.

The reason I mention there’s two of them is because of the gentleman who may have been looking longingly at our comfy chairs when he asked if we were meeting a group. “No,” we said, “Are you?”, which led to a kind of gruff reply along the lines of “Oh, they’ll be here.” Well, actually, I don’t think we were challenging that idea, but as it happened, his group didn’t show up so maybe there was an address confusion problem. Coffee drinkers venturing to trendy 17th Ave, don’t let this happen to you. You have heard the cautionary tale.

Since Susan and I last talked, she’s been to Copenhagen and I’ve been to the Green Party of Canada convention, so part of our coffee talk today was about Denmark and politics, but not Danish politics.

We got to thinking about the future and the implications of today’s decisions for the our kids and the next generations.

The young people in the picture are marine biology students in the Faroe Islands, learning how to take samples on the beach and in the water. About 200 metres away, there is a farmhouse occupied by the same family for 17 generations and counting.

The Faroes, which are part of Denmark in an autonomous kind of way, lie halfway between Norway and Iceland in the north Atlantic Ocean. The islands are stunningly scenic and natural. The people live a modern European lifestyle and seem to be equally as at home in the office as they are working on the farm or fishing.

The problem the Faroese youth face is the same problem as young people elsewhere in the developed world: what opportunities are there for them? Will they have to leave home to make a living?

I hope they get to stay if they want to, but there’s no guarantee.

I would recommend a trip to the Faroe Islands to anyone who likes photography, birding, hiking, and generally wants to be comfortable but off the beaten track. The Hotel Føroyar is a modern building with traditional grass roofs and a wide-open view of the sea, the harbour, and the capital, as well as the slope in between and the distant islands. The food was top-notch.

You can get some insight into Faroese life, in English, from the Faroe Islands Podcast. The Faroes also make a good appearance in Simon Winchester’s book, Atlantic, and if you study Viking history at all, you have probably already run across them.

Of course, if you’re a Brit, you hear about the Faroes every night on the Shipping Forecast and sometimes in the football results.

They’re not for everyone but they tick all the boxes for me.


This is my standard form of disclosure that I am retroactively adding to all blog posts done before April 1, 2018, and will add to all new posts.

1. Is this experience open to the public?


2. Who paid the cost of me doing this?

The coffee date, I did. The trip to the Faroe Islands in 2010 was sponsored by Faroe Islands tourism. It was a familiarization trip associated with a blogging conference I went to. I paid my own conference fees, travel, and accommodation in Copenhagen. The trip to the Faroes from there was fully paid for.

3. Did I get any compensation or special consideration for writing this blog post?


4. Would I be as positive about this place if I had gone as a regular visitor?

Yes. I am in love with the Faroe Islands and dream of going back.


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  • Reply
    Susan Wright
    September 9, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Jill, one of the things I love about our coffee talks is the fact that I never know where our conversations will lead. Our conversations, like this blog, are an adventure made all the more interesting by the fact that you’ve actually been to places like the Faroe Islands and can talk about them from a personal perspective.

    I know you’re heading out on another fabulous trip and look forward to tracking your adventures on MOTRLT and then catching up over a coffee when you return. Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Thanks, Susan. I agree, we do seem to cover a lot of surprising ground when we talk. I’m so glad I got to hear about your adventures in Amsterdam and Copenhagen while the trip was so fresh in your mind. I hope to hear more when we next get together.
    I also think we need to plot our Fargo adventure.

  • Reply
    Donald Reinhardt
    September 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm


    Nice view of the Faroe Islands and youth. Where is the best future for youths anywhere on the planet? Where is the safest, the best,the most profitable places to be for any youths? Of course, where is the best place to be for anyone?


    • Reply
      September 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks, Donald, and those are the big questions indeed.

    Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post or anything else on this website.