Most people left for better economic opportunities. I had ancestors who also left that area about the same time as Jens' family members and one of my family also claimed that she hoped for more religious freedom. Kvalnes was and is a very small farm homestead along the edge of a steep sided fjord in Hordaland, Norway.
That entire family, Jens, his siblings and parents all left for "Nordamerica" before 1860. What his obituary lists as a passport date was actually the date that the local minister recorded in the books there that Jens with a younger brother and a sister were leaving the parish.