Capital of Happiness in Træna

It has been almost four weeks since I have been here.

Here. Traena. On the island Husoya to be more accurate.

A small, exotic island with a four seasons on one day climate.

And I must say. I enjoy.


I come from a small, beautiful country, as flat as a pancake,

covering 41.543 km2, providing 16,8 million lives. To give you

an idea, it means that Norway is six time bigger then The Netherlands,

and we, The Dutch, have more then three times the population of Norway,

you can imagine that has effect on a culture, behavior and even wildlife.


I can’t say that I live a wild live while I am here in Husoya. No.

But I do enjoy the beauty of creation. The clouds. The sunsets.

The birds singing their songs of spring. The eagles soaring,

ready to make a nest. The cold wind and the warm sun.

The proud mountains. Everlasting. Traena. Norway.

The sound of silence. Providing the soul to speak.


I am Esli, tall and tanned. Half Dutch, half Molluccan

(inhabitants of the Maluku Islands, Indonesia).

33. Social Designer. People person. And the initiatior of

Capital of Happiness, a international good news project,

with a strong focus on Happiness worldwide. With the goal:

Connecting people and cultures threw storytelling and creativity.

It is in this context that I am staying on this beautiful island,

participating Tenk Traena’s artist in residence program,

releasing 27 Shots | changing perspectives, a ongoing photography project.

One of Capital of Happiness (side) projects. In this project I give people

a disposable camera and a list with twenty-seven questions.

And each question needs to be answered, by taking a photo.

Personal. Real. Stirring. What I do, is creating awareness,

‘push buttons’ and ask people why they do what they do,

without being judgmental. I confront. I poke the bear.

But without scaring or being scared. In love.


Esli Tapilatu is staying in Træna.

Esli Tapilatu is staying in Træna.

The first week of my stay I just absorbed the environment.

I mingled, ate with locals, listened to their stories, asking confronting

(but respectful) questions, getting to know the people and their culture.

A week is short. Yes. But still. It gave me the ammunition to write down the 27 tailor-made Traena questions.

I have released this project in South Africa, Iceland, Indonesia,

and when I get back home, I will release a special Refugee edition.

But releasing it on a island, in a small community where everyone knows each other,

I can say, its interesting. It goes further then just a project.

Its about building connections. Giving people voice to

tell a story. Their story. Maybe even stories they havent talk

about in a long-long time.


I am a listmaker. I write the down the things I want to experience,

in life, in places. And driving Norway, watching Aurora Borealis was

and is one of them. The last time I was in Norway we got to Alesund,

but I didn’t have my license back then. I remember the thought, ’the next

time that I am here, I will be driving my own car.’ So here I am.

It feels so good to do the things you always wanted to do. It gives me joy.

Driving here, enjoying the countryside, the beauty,

it was a pleasure. Creation is the biggest artwork there will ever be.


At this moment ten local heroes are doing the project.

And word on the streets says they are all talking about the project,

and how to answer the questions. Activating creativity.

I believe everyone has a story to tell and a song to sing.

Before I came here, I was hoping that if I would leave the island again,

after spending a month,  I would really miss the people on it.


For more information check or find Capital of Happiness on Facebook.

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