Last night we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty again. Not only did we nod along to every song (since we’ve been listening to the soundtrack on loop since we left Johannesburg), and appreciate the breathtaking cinematography a little more, but I feel like I finally understood the meaning of his “zone out moments”. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, (I sincerely think you should cancel your Friday night plans and buy/rent/download it), you’ll see Walter drifting into these imaginative visions throughout the movie. He lives a pretty boring, safe and routine-led life, yet his imagination takes him away from it. He conjures up exotic locations, fantastical powers and weird resolutions to his everyday occurrences. But by the end of the movie, there’s no need for them anymore. When he decides to change his life, and start living it to its absolute fullest, his life itself becomes wild and imaginative, and there’s no need for escape from it.
After our month staying in Kallsedet, living unplugged from the world we knew outside of it, I can safely say I understand why Walter felt the need to escape all his life, and why, when he began to really live life and experience everything it had to offer, he had no need for escape anymore.
Enter 22 June, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the day Stevo and I went on a little early morning adventure. You see, unlike most, we decided to wake up at 02:30am, on a mission to drive around Panoramavägen, to take a series of photographs for the area’s new website. With some sandwiches in the back, and a tank full of petrol, we headed off on a 200km roadtrip, that was nothing short of surreal. We were fortunate enough to see fox cubs, moose, reindeer, a badger, what we thought was a wolf, and some of the most picturesque scenery our eyes had ever dreamt of seeing. I felt calm, yet excited, and this was a feeling I rarely felt over the last 7 years of working. Viewing the world on this trip, there was no need for me to be anxious, and no need for me to dream up escapes to gorgeous lands, because I was now living that dream.
And the entire month reflected a similar theme. Yes, there were some tough moments, changing flat tires, ploughing fertilizer through dry grass, catching rare Swedish viruses (which we cured with age-old Finnish herbal oils), making many beds at the cabin accommodations, and scrubbing nothing short of 135 toilets; but the highs of cycling hills alongside Swedish lakes, canoeing to barren islands to fish for trout and sunbathe, making jungle gyms from scratch, spotting red deer on afternoon cycling trips, and creating inventive new recipes from the ingredients available, made this one of of our most memorable experiences yet.
Jörgen, Mariska, and the girls – thank you for our time spent at Kallsedet Fjällcenter, and for allowing us the opportunity to enjoy Sweden how it should be enjoyed – living outside, alongside nature and all it has to offer.