View of Samsø and wind turbines from the ferry.

“I been thinking lately about the people I meet

The carwash on the corner and the hole in the street

The way my ankles hurt with shoes on my feet

And I’m wondering if I’m gonna see tomorrow”

— John Prine


SAMSO ISLAND, DENMARK — It’s hard to believe we have been here on Samsø for almost a week. My travels started 10 days ago and time has become uncatchable.

My trip began with three days in the beautiful city of Copenhagen. I have never been one to enjoy city life, but something about the long flowing canals and kind smiles kept me warm inside. The Danish have something beautiful right below their feet and I believe they know it as well as anyone.

After three almost sleepless nights, it was nice to finally get back to life under the stars here on Samsø. The grass in my toes and the dirt on my jeans have calmed my mind. I am thousands of miles away from the place I was born, the farthest I have ever been from my home.

I’ve learned so many things here that I would wish to see more of back in Maine, but I have also seen how wonderfully similar Samsø and Maine really are. Prided with place and people, we both create a society with strong connections to our environment and all that it has to offer. We love our rolling hills and our deep valleys, and the ocean is never far away for a swim. What opportunity there is for two communities to learn and develop from each other.

I am drawn to beautiful places, and beyond the leaning and the experiencing, Samsø Island is a beautiful place. To rest my head within the confines of my small cabin overlooking the sea, and to rise again in the morning to the sun flowing through the cracks in my window has left me in awe. This island is a small piece of heaven left here for the simple minded people to enjoy.

Green trees, long rolling fields of potatoes, wind turbines, and beautiful people; what more could you ask for?

Today started late. I was up till the young hours of the night finishing our first assignment here on Samsø. A short documentary of interviews with Samsingers to help us better understand the community here on the island. This project led me to the homes of amazing people, with new ideas about energy, agriculture and human understanding.

To be welcomed into someone’s home is one thing, but here on Samsø we were made to feel part of their family. We enjoyed long conversation with wonderful people and a few cups of tea all afternoon. These people have shown me what it really means to be a community, how working together with your neighbor leads to a beautiful chain of human interaction and progressive living. I am a sucker for inspiration and these people have filled my heart with hope and possibilities for when I return to Mount Desert Island.

Not only have I felt love and inspiration from the people on the island, but also the wonderful people working here at the Island Institute. They work so hard to help us understand all that goes behind the projects that have emerged here on the island and how we can use this information to impact our own islands off the coast of Maine.

Hard work and ambition are contagious, and I think all of us are coming down with a bit of something funky.

— Zak Kendall is a second-year student from New Sharon, Maine. “Since I was young I have expressed an interest and fascination with alternative energy. My love for the outdoors has inspired me to find new and less harmful ways to produce energy in this country. My focus of study had been sustainable construction and I hope to further that study while on the island of Samso.”