Monday, October 2, 2017

Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Way

Over the last few weeks I have learned about a very interesting way of life. A very Norwegian way of life. They even have a word for it: friluftsliv. This translates to "free air life" and it is a very important underlying way of life here. Scandinavians, especially Norwegians, spend a great deal of time outside, but it is so much more than just spending time outside. They build a connection with nature; a relationship that develops and grows with time. When they spend time outdoors they get lost within the surroundings. The experiences in nature lead to deep thoughts and deep understanding. They are recharging from the busy world that we live in. 

One of my courses, experience of nature, gave me the chance to nurture my relationship with nature and understand the importance of having one. The class spent so much time going outside and learning how to respect nature. We went on hikes, one that was on a glacier (something that has been on my bucket list for years!), canoeing and camping and all of this influenced my understanding of the connection the Norwegians develop with their surroundings. Our tour guide, Esten, for the canoe tour said something that really made me wonder. Esten said that he loves going into an area that seems completely untouched and spending time there. Once he is ready to leave, he makes it look completely untouched as if he was never there. Not only removing trash, but even putting stones back that he used for a fire pit and dispersing the wood used for the fire. He means everything back to the way it was. It makes you see that if we did this for everywhere we would have a much prettier world. 

I hope as my time continues here that I will develop an even tighter relationship with nature and that I can carry this into my daily life at home but I know it will be hard. I take every chance I get to spend time in the nature here and I plan to do the same when I get home. As the weather gets colder, wetter and windier, Ill keep you updated on how much time I spend outside!