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In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I downsized my material possessions by 80%, resigned from my job of nearly 20 years, moved out of my apartment in the city and booked a one-way ticket to Norway. After spending a full year in Norway, mostly living and working in a small ski town called Geilo, I returned to the U.S. in October 2022.

While I spend most of my time between Norway and the U.S., I spent the first four months of 2023 traveling the Balkans, kicking the year off in Dubrovnik, Croatia, then exploring Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo until early May, when I arrived in Norway just in time to celebrate Syttende Mai.

After a summer in Bergen, and a stateside visit in late summer / early fall, I am back in Norway, based in a small village called Skånevik.

This blog is a way to document this journey, and to share my story.

Takk du at for leste.


“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver

Welcome to Marla Goes North.

About Me

I was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on August 27, 1979.

Raised in a tiny town called Retreat, near the Mississippi River in the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, I spent my childhood working in tobacco fields, riding horses and exploring nature.

In 1997, I graduated from De Soto High School, then attended the University of Wisconsin. The last few credits of my degree in Human Ecology were earned as a service-learning project, as I had begun volunteering in Biloxi, Mississippi, to help rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.


In 2008, after spending a year and a half volunteering along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I returned to Madison, Wisconsin and began working for the public school system. In August 2021, I resigned from my job of nearly 20 years, and rented out my apartment of 13 years.

From Sept 2021 to Sept 2022, I was in Norway, where I worked in a 6-month seasonal role as a Communications and Outreach Specialist at Hakkesetstølen Fjellstugu og Hytter, a traditional mountain lodge in Geilo.


I'd love to hear from you!

United States +1 608 770 5101 

Norway +47 922 98 926


12858 Rutter Hill Road

Ferryville, Wisconsin 54628


Leknestangen 5

Skånevik 5593

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