This blog post is about my current state of my life. I would have put it on Iceland Geology website, but I don’t think it is a fit so I am rather going to write it down here. The reason why I write this articles is simple. I need an active outlet for my frustrations. I am really bad a bottle things up inside me mentally, so instead of just keeping my mouth shut I write. I can handle disappointments and failures (of certain types), what I cannot handle is frustration and living in a country that I have any interest living in. So I am going to start this blog post with Iceland and why I don’t want to live in Iceland.
The Iceland problem
Iceland has a great nature, volcanoes and earthquakes and that is about what I like about the country. For me there is nothing else in Iceland. I do got my family in Iceland and they want to continue to live in Iceland and that is something that I respect with them. I do not want to live in Iceland and nothing is going to change that view of mine. The reasons are economic instability, high price of food and other items. There is also a lack of culture that suits me, something that I know that I can find in Denmark or in Germany since I plan on living close to the border with Germany. I also don’t like the weather in Iceland, there are differences between years. In general however the weather in Iceland is cold, windy and has both lot of rain or snow for most part of the year. Summer in Iceland doesn’t start until June and only last until middle of August. Some summers are not even warm. In Iceland there is also a strong anti-intellectual culture, something that I do not like and has resulted in negative views regarding me and my work. I don’t know what the future holds in that regard when I start publishing Icelandic stories.
The biggest problem is money. Icelandic Krona is one of the world most unstable currencies and after the collapse in 2008 few banks in the world accept it as exchange currency (no banks in Denmark exchange ISK directly as can be seen here [in Danish and Iceland should be under Norden]). Living just on Icelandic income from my social welfare in Denmark is difficult but it is not impossible that for me that is what matters. I however need to be able to use most of my income for this and not paying off any debt, since paying off debt cuts the money I have left to use (and what I can allow my self) over the month considerably.
Living in Iceland also makes me feel bad. I don’t know for sure why or what that is, but I do feel unhappy about living in Iceland and that is creating cycle of some type of being unhappy on mental level. I don’t think there are any words for it, at least none that I know of (I am no expert in English), but I do know that I get some anxiety when I am alone and in Iceland. When I was in Denmark I didn’t feel any of it even when I was a lone in my apartment. Those feelings where present when I moved to Denmark in 2012, but when I moved back to Iceland in 2014 all of those feelings where gone and I felt happy inside, even if I did spend a lot of time alone in Denmark (as I often do spend my time). During the current five months of living in Iceland (and counting) those feelings have returned and grow every day. I try to keep them off and I manage it up to some point, but this is a lot of battle for me to do and it is far from being easy to do so in the long run. The only light that I have knowing that one day in few years I am going to be moving back to Denmark.
The tax and money problem
When I moved back to Denmark in the year 2012 I moved to the wrong location, a apartment that I was not happy with and on a location that was no good in my view, so soon after that I decided that I would move again. It would be possible. On my low income I was unable to do so and my only option was to take a overdraft loan for that. In 2013 I started to pay back that loan best that I was able to do. What I didn’t know at the time and was unable to prepare for was the fact that I also have to pay taxes in Denmark on my Icelandic income, since taxes in Denmark are higher then in Iceland, the difference is only around 15% (depending on where people live since municipality have different tax rate. Lack of information about the Danish tax system resulted it my owning tax for the year 2013 on top of what I had to pay for the year 2014. At that point in July 2014 when I finally got information about what I needed to pay it was clear that it was too much and I would be unable to handle such payments. After I moved back to Iceland the amount that I needed to pay in taxes for the year 2013 was lowered by half, something that I would have been able to pay but the total amount of the years 2013 and 2014 was a big problem.
The bad part in this story is that in fact I could have avoided moving back to Iceland. The reason for that is the eruption in Bárðarbunga volcano. That eruption did mean that for a short while I got enough donations to support me and my work properly and I would have been able to pay most of the taxes for the year 2013 in one go if I had not already cancelled the rent on my apartment when the eruption had started (August-2014). Since then I have changed the rules and in the future I am always going to cancel rent apartments with smallest amount of time possible, in Denmark that period is three months. I have now set-up a system that allows me to pay the taxes in Denmark just like any other bill that I have to pay. I won’t pay any taxes in Denmark while I am living in Iceland but once I move back to Denmark I have to start paying taxes again in Denmark. I also pay taxes in Iceland for the social welfare that I get.
Currently my debt is a problem that I am slowly resolving by paying it back. I am already half with the tax I need to pay in Denmark for the years 2013 and 2014. I have to continue to pay it back until November. Then the tax payments for Denmark are over. What I owe the bank in Iceland is just the overdraft. My other debt is just the Danish tax and a little amount that I owe mom and dad. I have already paid off one loan, I am not certain about overpayment of rental benefits in Denmark due to lack of contact and information from Udbetaling Danmark at current time (it is there fault. I’ve done the best that I can do). While I am in Iceland I plan on work as much as that I can, either with full time jobs or part time jobs in Hvammstangi. Some work is going to be seasonal (summer jobs) and some jobs are going to part time if I can get them. That is no way sure that I am going to get a job all months of the year. So my income is going to be a bit unstable while I am going to be living in Iceland.
Currently I am not out of my financial problems yet. For instance I hope to get a apartment in Hvammstangi soon. That is a social rental apartment (nothing else is available and there are no companies that rent out apartments in Hvammstangi). What I can’t afford is the insurance payment for the apartment (it is 680,55€ or 100.000,00 ISK). I am however sure that I can make a deal with Húnaþing Vestra [Icelandic only website] on how to pay it with little time or delay it until I get a job so that I can pay it in one payment. I am going to figure something out regarding this. But this is a good example of what happens when I just have income of 1.174,01€ [172.509 ISK after taxes] (it is slightly lower when I live in Denmark). Due to how the system works in Iceland my social benefits are going to increase about 224,58€ [33.000 ISK] a month once I start living in my own apartment. This increase is dropped once I move back to Denmark, along with few other payments that increase my social benefits to a certain minimal amount that is paid to everyone on social welfare in Iceland. This amount is far from being enough for normal cost of everything in Iceland, given that food is extremely expensive in Iceland. Compared to Denmark or Germany (where I have done my shopping).
Once I have paid off all debts (early 2016 I hope) I am going to start to save up as much money as possible so that I can move back to Denmark. I plan on moving back to Padborg, Denmark. I also plan on publishing more stories on Amazon and Kobo books in order to increase my income by writing and selling stories so I won’t have any money problems like the ones I have lived trough now.
Why I want to live in Denmark
What I like about living in Denmark is the fact it is less demanding then living in Iceland. In Denmark I don’t have to own a car, I can, but I don’t and that is a big difference. I can go everywhere I want without owning a car. In Iceland I would have to own a car to get where I have to. There is also stability in the rental market. I can live anywhere (or close to it) in Denmark. I also don’t need to buy a house if I don’t want to, I can just rent from a renting company (called Boligforening in Danish) for unlimited amount of time.
What I am going to be doing in Denmark is simple. I am going to be writing my stories and try to sell them on Amazon and with other ebook sellers if I can. I also like European and Scandinavian culture far better then the half-U.S culture that is now in place in Iceland. I also feel like being at home in Padborg, Denmark and in Denmark in general. I don’t have that feeling when I am in Iceland, I feel like I am a visitor looking in and I don’t feel like part of the Icelandic nation at all. What I also like in Denmark is the nature, the frogs and other things that live there. I also like molehills a lot. There is overall more for me to do and see in Denmark then in Iceland and I guess it has always been like that. I just didn’t discover it until I moved to Denmark in the year 2012. The weather is also far better in Denmark then in Iceland. The cold weather in Iceland doesn’t do me anything good, as my current experience is.
Writing is a lot of work
Writing is a awful lot of work. For instance I have been working on this article for the past seven hours and I don’t know when I am going to be finished with it. Writing on my Iceland geology website is also a lot of work. So much work that people at the Icelandic Met Office where wondering how many hours I put into updating it. The answer to that question is often up to eight hours (workday) or more, depending on what is going on in Iceland. If there is less activity I don’t have to write as much about what is going on. The problem that I have is that all this work results in surprisingly few donations and low to almost no income from the Amazon banners that I have on my website. I am far from asking people to donate or shop from Amazon if they can’t afford it, but in the long run this lack of income from my work is hurting my ability to do this properly, since everyone needs to pay the bills and the rent. I am not the only artists dealing with this problem as explained here. I don’t have my Iceland geology website subscription only because it is my view that this information needs to be read and people informed. Since volcanoes and earthquakes are highly dangerous natural force that can act and change lives of people without warning.
Writing stories, as I do today and when I have time is a lot of work. Taking days to months needed to complete just one story, sometimes even just a chapter in a story, depending on how complex it is and where the story is going on. It can even take me years thinking about story before I start writing it, since writing a story is not just sitting down and writing it. I need to know where the story is going and what it is about before I write it. That on it’s own is a lot of work and always have been. I just hope that ones my bigger stories are ready I do get something paid for them. The ebook market is difficult at the moment and even harder for people starting the careerer as a writer. When I enter the publishing market and publish a book on paper I do not know, that might take few years at best. I do hope that is going to happen one day, since I really want to be on that market one day with my stories.
Current websites that I update (both regularly and not so regularly)
This one – Mix of Icelandic and English.
Jarðfræði á Íslandi – Icelandic only.
Iceland geology – English only.
Spacewatch – English only and no regular updates.
Jón Universe – English only and this are only short stories and there are no regular updates.
Published ebooks on Amazon and Kobo Books
The signal (short story) on Amazon Kindle. It can also be found on Kobo Books here.
If people want to donate after this long reading, they can do so from any of my website using the PayPal button on the sidebar. If you want to donate more then 500€ I suggest that you don’t use PayPal to do so, since there are at the moment some limits on my PayPal account (it is new and not properly verified yet). The best way to donate more then 500€ is to do so directly to my bank account. The bank account information to do this can be found here.
If you have managed to read all of this text then you are some short of hero I guess. Since this is almost 2600 word long article. It took me close to twelve hours to finish writing it. Thanks for reading.
I might correct this article later for spelling and wording problems if I see them.
7 Replies to “Current state of my life”
Sorry to read of all the difficulties. You obviously understand the Danish tax system in a deep way. I just wonder if you have taken advice from a tax lawyer (free by telephone from University of Iceland on Thur evenings) concerning tax being taken from your money before it leaves Iceland. Unless there is a double tax agreement between Iceland and Denmark there may be a way to stop this.
It is not nice to rely on temporary jobs for a portion of your income. Having done so to some extent since 2008 I know how unpleasant this is.
I sympathise with you finding out things were slightly better than they seemed after you had made irreversible decisions. I hope that soon something turns out better than you hoped and you can take full advantage of it.Law of averages hopefully.
There is a tax agreement between Iceland and Denmark. So I don’t pay tax twice on the same income. What I have to pay is the difference in the tax percent between Iceland and Denmark. Tax in Denmark deducts what I have paid in tax in Iceland from the Danish tax, what is left is what I need to pay. That is not a high amount each month, around 147€ (1100 DKK). So I can manage that properly. The problem now was that I was just paying so many things and my income has been so limited. That is why everything did go into this big mess. :/
I want to move to Padborg and grow old there. I like it that much living there. That feeling is not going to change and I am now going to work towards it moving back there as explained above.
The only good thing about crises like this are the lessons I have learned. They are going to make sure that I never am going to do those mistakes again.
It is great that you love Padborg so much, many people do not have a special place where they know they would like to grow old. You are so right about a crisis usually teaching us something deep and meaningful and you have discovered the golden key is to listen in. Many people just go into a kind of mental fog in a crises which prevents them from noticing or responding to any lessons. I wish you well with everything.
I understand living in a place you don’t like and being mostly alone. It makes life more difficult. I live in the US and with all of the changes and new regulations and restrictions, I no longer enjoy living here. Hope that you are able to quickly get out of debt and make a living at writing. I like to write, but can’t see me making a living at it. As you said it is a lot of work.
I enjoyed your posts in the midst of the Bardarbunga eruption and learned a lot about the nature of volcanoes from your posts and from all the comments. I will check out some of your stories.
Europe is always looking for talented people. You can check out Germany since they have less restricted immigration rules then Denmark, Norway, Iceland and many other countries in Europe (this are the only countries that I know about how the rules are). You can check out the other countries in EU, but rules on immigration for people outside EU are different between those countries. It is a lot of paperwork that takes a lot of time, as is normal with such processes.
I must warn you. Germans are strict on the rules and that they are followed (it depends a little bit on the state in question how strict they are), sometimes to the letter and above it. That does not change the fact that Germany is a nice country.
I thought you were moving to Flores Island?
After long thought I did cancel that plan for good. I did also cancel all other plans on moving somewhere else then to Padborg, Denmark. I came to that conclusion that Padborg is the place where I want to stay for the rest of my life.
As for Flores Island I plan on going there as tourist, maybe stopping there for a month or two and maybe even do some early writing over there. But I won’t be living there for good. Since my place is in Padborg, Denmark next to the border with Germany. 🙂
Lokað er fyrir athugasemdir.