Experience is the new luxury

Tired of cruises? Try an expedition aboard the MS Roald Amundsen

Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten’s newest vessel, MS Roald Amundsen, is an “expedition ship” built for the extreme environments of the Arctic and Antarctic seas.

If your image of a cruise ship is a floating monstrosity the size of a city block, full of casinos, colorful iced drinks with bendy straws, and overblown attractions like waterslides or ziplines, housing thousands of drunk travelers on their way someplace tropical—in other words, if you’re the kind of savvy traveler who scoffs at the idea of cruises—it’s time to take another look at Hurtigruten.

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Voting, here & there

Elections and voting in Norway and the United States

voting in Norway
Photo: Emily C. Skaftun
This is an actual ballot from Oslo’s municipal election. It’s incredibly different from the ones I’m used to because this entire ballot is the vote—in this case, if a voter chose this ballot to put into the box, that would constitute a vote for the Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV). The polling place has forms like this for each of the parties, and all a voter really has to do is choose one of these. In that voter’s home municipality, they can also check one or more of the names on listed (or write in others), to give “extra” votes for individual candidates*.

Emily C. Skaftun
The Norwegian American

While in Norway this August, I had the pleasure of accompanying my friend Chloe to the voting shack. It was three weeks before the official election date, and Chloe’s flatmate Erland was haranguing her about not doing her civic duty yet. So of course, we all got to chatting about the differences in voting systems.

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Why is Seattle Parks and Rec hip-checking roller derby?

Emily C. Skaftun

Amid all the bad news for women and other uterus-having people, the smaller-scale tragedy of Seattle’s roller derby apocalypse might understandably have slipped your radar. Why complain about something as mundane as losing a warehouse lease or some lines on a community center floor when from Alabama to, well, Washington state, legislation is being proposed to send women, barefoot and pregnant, back to the kitchen?

But while fighting the big fights, the little fights remain important, too.

Roller derby empowers the (mostly) women and girls who play it; just ask any of the thousand-some participants in the Seattle area. Yeah, it’s big. You know someone involved in derby, and it might not be who you think: We are students, tradespeople, professionals and parents; we are school-age children and old enough to be grandparents; we are queerer than average, with a quarter of players identifying as something other than heterosexual; we are all genders, one of few sports welcoming trans and nonbinary players.

To keep reading, head over to Crosscut, where this piece was originally published.

In which I embarrass my cousin

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Drew Gardner
Photo: Amy Skogen
Drew all dressed up for Seattle’s Syttende Mai parade (with his charming girlfriend, Tatum).

Emily C. Skaftun
The Norwegian American

Since 2013, my cousin, Drew*, has been the star of Syttende Mai. That’s the first year he had his full Hardanger bunad on full display. Of course, at Seattle’s Syttende Mai celebrations, Drew is far from the only person all decked out in their Norwegian finery, but his costume is sufficiently impressive to turn heads. Strangers ask to take photos with him, like he’s a Disney prince.

I confess that I don’t entirely understand the appeal.

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