the long journey

On May 4th, 20 weeks and one day after it left my house in Seattle, my crate arrived in Trondheim! When I got the phone call the day before about its impending arrival, I actually got a bit teary-eyed. The day had finally come!

When I was packing up my stuff in Seattle, a few people commented that I could buy a lot of stuff in Norway for the money that it was costing me to ship my stuff to Norway. True, kind of. My job came with a moving stipend, as I guess most jobs of this type would. So while they would give me $5000 to ship my stuff (it actually only ended up costing just over $3000) they wouldn’t give me money to buy new stuff in Norway. And don’t forget, everything in Norway is 1.5 to 2 times as expensive than in the US, not to mention that the selection is so limited here. Plus, I like my stuff.

Going back to the beginning… on December 14, 2012, a nice fellow was patient with my many questions and my inventory spreadsheet as we packed up all that I owned (which really wasn’t all that much) into a wooden crate to make the slow journey to Norway.


I’ve spent a lot of time (6 years and counting!) studying how goods move around the world, so it was exciting to think about how my stuff was moving halfway around the world and how much coordination was required. In case you are dorky like me interested…


0 – A company here in the US managed the whole operation – they scheduled everything, including the shipping insurance, and managed the payments. 

1 – My stuff was packed up and put the crate on their truck. My crate was  consolidated with other “less than container” volumes headed towards Europe via LA. 

2 – My crate sat around (presumable in LA, but maybe in Seattle for all I know) for 6 weeks while it waited for a ship headed towards Europe

3 – My crate started its journey – down the coast of Mexico, to the Panama Canal

4 – In Panama my crate jumped ship, and hopped on another (the first was heading down the South American coast).

5 – Finally, my crate is making its way across the Atlantic. 

6 – First stop in Europe, EU customs in England, including a random x-ray inspection. And then more waiting around (5 weeks) for a full container headed to Scandinavia. So close, yet so far.

7 – It takes about the same time if you go by land or by sea (via ferry) from the UK to Norway. I am not sure which route my crate went.

8 – Finally in Olso, and in customs again (if you did not know, Norway is not part of the EU, thus a separate customs stop is required – here I had no additional inspection).

9 – The same day my crate cleared customs, it was placed on a truck and headed north.

10 – The next day everything was delivered into my apartment! And even more important, everything was intact!

photo (15)

Whew, what a trip! Google maps won’t calculate the number of miles between Trondheim and Seattle, but it is a lot – especially when you make a detour to the Panama Canal and to England. My only complaint with the whole process is it took far longer than estimated (although really not longer than expected given all it went through). I was told 10 to 12 weeks and it took 20. From when it left my possession in Seattle until it arrived here in Trondheim, my crate was in the hands of at least 12 different entities (trucking companies, port operators, shipping companies, customs)! And because it was a small load (not a half or full container), it spent a lot of time waiting around for other shipments to be consolidated with for travel. Approximately 11 of the 20 weeks were spent waiting around for other shipments. Moral of the story, if I had more stuff to ship, it would have only been marginally more expensive to ship (the logistics in the expensive part and there are more logistics involved in moving a smaller volume) and would have gotten here sooner!


Now all but a few boxes are unpacked and that bike is back in one piece, and while it is a bit more difficult to decide what to wear each morning (so many options!), my apartment truly feels like home now!

This entry was posted in a bit of home, the logistics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to the long journey

  1. Sharon says:

    Yay!! Happy nesting time!

  2. Kristina says:

    Call me a dork too, bu that’s actually quite fascinating! Good luck finding something to wear today!

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