Women that makes a difference: Ida Fjørtoft

Ida is the most eccentric person you will ever meet. She learned Italian fluently while connecting with people living on the streets in Florence, she has passed by eco villages and communities and is living in her van with her two dogs in Italy. I met her while she is in Norway and we talked about her life in Italy, being a good human and believing in anarchy.

What made you go to Italy?

The first time I went to Italy I wanted to be a potter. So I went to Italy and took a pottery course. I didn’t become a potter, but decided that it is something I can do when I’m older. Actually it was also because I was so tired of this capitalistic world in Norway. I was on the rise and shine level. I rented an amazing apartment, worked a lot and earned a lot of money. I had everything that “you should have”, but it didn’t make me happy. I worked at an Italian restaurant and I had heard that Italy had really good soil, food and wine. It was also convenient that it was not too far from home (Norway). I think that if I had moved to India my mom would not have been happy.

But you were in India as well?

Yes, I was. I danced for 4 months. It was really fun. I learned a lot about the world.

What are you doing in Italy?

I’m learning about planting vegetables, olives and cutting trees. I also go to different social gatherings and cook.

I think that there are many people who play with the idea of doing what you’ve done? but most people don’t do anything about it?

Yes, but of course there are several times when I have traveled that I’ve thought “What the hell I’m I doing?!?”. I think that it may be my naivety that made me do it. Because I always think that “everything will be okey”. Then you suddenly sit there and think “what the fuck am I doing. How do I get from this touristic view to the real world? Then it’s really all about not giving up and be patient. You also should try to be a good person. So that you get the right connections. I think it’s about karma. If your are cool, honest and see other people. I think people will do the same with you. If you have good intentions when it comes to others, people will have good intentions toward you as well. There are many times I’ve been thinking “fuck, I hate everything and want to leave” and then I get reminded about what’s really important. It can be someone I know or someone from nowhere. You are never alone. I’ve also noticed on my travels that I meet a lot of different people and visited several communities and eco villages. It’s really beautiful to see well functioning groups working together.

You also lived on the street in Florence and learned Italian?

Yes, I learned Italian by the hobos living on the streets in Florence. When I was taking the pottery course I stayed at a hostel and thats when I learned Italian because the hobos where so friendly and easy to talk to. They lived here and now. It was so refreshing. They were street clowns and jugglers. I met a guy who were juggler in the street. He was traveling around juggling. So I joined him. It was so fun and we went to Bologna for some months. We planed to buy a van, but it didn’t work out in the long run. Then I went to Florence to another guy who was a strong anarchist. So that made me learn more about anarchy.

in what way?

Anarchy is very important for me. I think it is internal anarchy. To detach myself from the capitalist needs, the religious needs etc. within myself. I think mental health is very important. In an anthropological way. When people are mentaly healthy it is also possible for people to live in anarchy. There are many anarchistic systems that works and others don’t. Internal anarchy for me is to being able to build it yourself, to be independent and to stand on your own feet.

I’m parked on a land where there is an well functioning anarchy. It’s really nice. The people believe in it and it’s working. Of course, there is always norms. I think it comes natural. You realize that one can not only eat from the cake because it will be empty. You have to fill it as well. So everyone can have. I think it comes naturally for humans if you are healthy. If you look at indigenous people and the last major anarchist societies, you’ll see it.

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What are you doing now?

I’m going back to Italy to my dogs and van.

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by nature, mother earth and people. The more I learn about nature and seeing results when I grow food. The more inspired I get. In the recent years, I’ve learned a lots of different skills from playing instruments, to making pots and repair cars. Now I want to learn more about welding. I think it is so motivating and inspiring to see that we have the capacity to learn so much. I also think that my function as myself as a human being is very inspiring. What I have capacity to learn and do.

Do you have any daily rituals?

Yes, I have. I stretch my body.

yoga?

I’m not very fond of rules, so I call it anarchist gymnastics. Haha, just kidding. I am very sensitive so I have to stretch myself and breathe every day. I also like playing on my drums once a day. To clear my head and energy. Last year I lived without electricity for a period. In the south part of Italy. It was really nice. Being able to live so freely is really nice. The simple life. Where your routines become survival. I like to wake up with the sun. When you live in your car, it’s really easy. I will return to that. Now I’m only in Norway to work a bit for investment.

what is your philosophy in life?

Don’t take more than you need. You should think about every time you take more than you need, the less other people get. That sounds quite obvious to me. When I was in India I met a Sri Lanker that told me something important “don’t give to get something in return, give for everything you ‘ve already gotten.” That was quite life changing for me. I think if you don’t, you might end up being bitter. Give what you can and share what you have.

Line Gedde-Dahl