Ice cream and loneliness

You can read the Norwegian version of this interview here.

“Karl Melby practices the art of facing loneliness, seeking the good it has to offer, exploring it and coming out stronger on the other side. One of the places where Karl Melby experiences wholeness is at the piano, facing the black and white keys. If you want to join and experience it all with him, now is your chance. You are hereby invited and warmly welcome.”
That is how Litteraturhuset introduced Karl Melby’s book “Lonely man on the road” at the launch, which took place on 1 April 2022 in Oslo. The book focuses on loneliness, a theme that never gets old, and many of us are familiar with the feeling or even have an intimate relationship with loneliness.
But what made Karl dive deep and write a whole book about it?

I had to find out and interview the “Guru of loneliness.”
He has done several different solitary projects in recent years. He takes loneliness very seriously but is said to have a unique, curious and playful approach to life. He would prefer to talk about his vision than present himself traditionally. He has, among other things, been the initiator and organizer of “Norway’s first national loneliness conference”. He has been on the Norwegian Tour with the “Ice cream and lonliness” project.

 Karl Roger Melby, who is the lonely man?

– I think many men, and women for that matter, feel a touch of loneliness without being fully aware of it. I had the feeling without being conscious; I only discovered the concept and the feeling of loneliness in my inner self in 2018. When I started exploring it, I found that it comes magically in so many different ways; I want something, it passes – and it leaves me longing for something.

– Where does the ice cream come in?

– Ice cream can be delicious; it can also be too much for some. I have had a passion for ice cream for a long time; my serious exploration of it started in 1999. Since then, I have read countless books on the subject and found my way to make ice cream, which is simple, tasty and sustainable. I can show you a million ways to make something as simple as vanilla ice cream. It’s the same with life and loneliness; we can twist it into something we like when we understand it more. For me, it gives life meaning. Both ice cream and loneliness are cold. They both consist of different ingredients. Most of us know them both. We can talk to anyone about ice cream and loneliness. Everyone has a memory of ice cream, and everyone has a memory of loneliness. Both create intense emotions in us. Emotions are something we all need to practice facing and figuring out. It can be refreshingly good with ice cream, and we can also benefit from self-imposed loneliness or loneliness we have a conscious relationship with.

– Can you introduce yourself to the readers?

– I am 57 years old and have lived mainly in Eastern Norway. I am divorced and have three adult children. In recent years, I have retrained from economist to teacher, trained as a coach and got a master’s in writing.

In recent years, I have realised that I have a mission to embrace loneliness instead of keeping it at a distance. My vision is that the veil that covers the treasure chest of loneliness is drawn aside and that we see and extract the treasures it gives every one of us. I dream of great openness, generosity and vulnerability in the face of our own and other people’s loneliness. My mission is to turn loneliness into a place where we bring out great new joy, personal development and new direction. I dream that we look more closely at our loneliness, listen to it and learn to extract the golden treasures it brings. I want us to recognise loneliness as something completely normal that everyone has and start talking about it. I dream of free people where fear gives way to warm-hearted love. You can call me a visionary. I am looking to create a change. As a coach, speaker and author, I want to shed light on this significant public health problem. When couples gain more intimacy, it affects their working and family lives. 

I am keenly interested in good conversation, focusing on loneliness. Thousands of people live with unnecessary sadness, and many live far shorter than I would like. I’m on a mission to do something about loneliness!

– Why did you start this book project, and what was the project’s purpose?

– I decided to go on a road trip in a borrowed motorhome in “The hunt for loneliness” and write the script for a book. I wanted to learn more about myself, my loneliness, and what others think about it. When I finished the project, I set myself the goal of lecturing at Litteraturhuset in Oslo. Three weeks later, I gave a lecture to 40 people.

– Loneliness. What have you found out about it? Does it look the same to everyone you’ve talked to, or is it different in different people?

– I have found that loneliness develops quite differently in people. It is, therefore, exciting to use as a gateway to conversations. It can consist of several other emotions, such as anger, frustration, withdrawal, anxiety, sadness, restlessness, and so on, and comes in different strengths as the circumstances hit us. Loneliness is an internal feeling we are responsible for dealing with; at the same time, I think it is not something to hide. We all have responsibility for our communities, and in that sense also have responsibility for each other.

– What can we do about loneliness? Which often is linked to shame? (And the feeling of shame can be conscious or unconscious.) What are your thoughts on that?

– We can regard loneliness as a friend who wants us to get well. We can listen to it. The feeling of loneliness has a purpose. It will tell us what we want and need. There are several layers to this, different in different situations, and we are all individuals.

We can recognize our situation and the feeling that arises and stay with it carefully until we lose control. Shame can be linked to the feeling that you have not had as good a life as someone else. There must be something wrong with me when it seems everyone else has it so much better than me.

– Is modern man more lonely than before? If so, What are your thoughts on it?

– I imagine loneliness has always been there in many ways. We are born into the world lonely when the umbilical cord is cut, maybe before, for that matter, and when we die, we have to cope with it alone. There is something about learning to cope with the fact that we are all independent individuals, standing on our own feet and at the same time being aware that large parts of life are about living in relation to each other. If there is more loneliness today, it seems that more people have become aware of it in recent years, that we have been able to talk more openly about it. In that way, at least, it seems there is more loneliness among us nowadays. Technological development also makes us more accessible to each other. But it can also replace the fact that we seek each other out physically, leading to greater loneliness for some.

– Has the feeling of loneliness changed for you? In what way and what has been the path for you in this change process?

–The fantastic thing is that when I shared my new experiences with loneliness, I received feedback that surprised me. I feel seen. My best friend from my youth told me that even then, I was concerned with the theme of the songs I wrote for our band. Since then, loneliness has probably been present to varying degrees and became more consciously apparent to me following my separation in 2016. Loneliness now also applies to me far more than I had previously understood. Now I know it and am increasingly confident in the face of the feeling and other feelings that arise in me. Loneliness can come in waves, also linked to external events in life.

– Do you have any suggestions on how people can deal with Loneliness?

– Sit with it for a while, take it seriously, play a bit with what good it wants for you, see it from different angles, talk to someone you trust about it, take care of yourself, and initiate new steps towards connecting more firmly to your dreams. Find someone to share it with who can support you. It is also about gradually creating a network within oneself and with others and finding greater meaning in life.

– Where can people find you, read more about your project and get hold of your book?

– I live in Holmestrand and work at Lier’s primary and secondary school. Online, you can find me on FB under my name and on Instagram @play_like_karl, and you can order the book at

You can also visit my website and book an online coaching, sound, or body movement therapy session with me. If you have any questions about my services, please do not hesitate to email me. I promise I will not spam, sell, or inappropriately use your email address.

And would you like to travel to #perú but do not dare to do it alone? Contact me, and I will help you # organise your #trip
according to your budget!


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One thought on “Ice cream and loneliness

  1. Pingback: Iskrem og ensomhet | People, Life, Politics And Bullshit

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