Sweden released Norway and then they discovered the oil, but the Norwegians have always gone for a “walk about” on their mountains. The oil had slid through our fingers, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all of the Swedish people have now started to walk, just like them. All of us Swedes go out and about, like the Norwegians on their high mountains.
I remember a man Lasse from a small town in Norway, who became part of our family, when my husband Peter went to Bible school in Uppsala in 2009. He was with us daily, but would suddenly disappear without a trace and later come back with an explanation “I have gone on a ‘walk about’”. What if we Swedes understood this before the new national disease “burnout” spread. The oil slipped out of our hands, but the phenomenon of “going for a walk” we have finally managed to get a hold of. It was not the burnout that took us out into the mountains, but the global catastrophe Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the health effect of hiking probably provides exactly what is required to get rid of the burnout. We fill ourselves with exercise, beautiful views, simple food on the BBQ, instead of needs, anxiety, stress and hectic city life.
In Stockholm in the 90s a male colleague from my first job as a graduate economist said that when city dwellers or more precisely “08s” go out into the wilderness, they do not manage well outside the marked tours. The documentary “Into the Wild” was about a young man who took his motorcycle out into the Alaskan wilderness in the 90’s. He had experienced a traumatic childhood and did not want to live by the norms of society. As a child of a rich man, he had all the prerequisites to become a success story in the modern world. He refused and instead went out into the wilderness on a motorcycle. It ended unhappily, without a map in an unmarked wilderness and in addition with ignorance. He ate a plant that turned out to be deadly. Had he met Jesus, he might have lived today and with Jesus forever. Jesus would have been his wisdom and protection.
Now my husband Peter and I are in the wilderness 2020, although it has become more and more marked the more popular it has become to go on a hike in our dear homeland. We hiked in Southern Lapland in Hemavan at the beginning of the summer. The snow cover had not yet been lifted off the slender mountain peaks, as it only melted in some places. So even though we as unaccustomed hikers chose marked trails, it became a bit of a wilderness tour. We did not know where to step and put our boots, if we did not want to go far down under the ice. We learned to camp at good empty places and go to the toilet in nature. Only a stick was needed to dig down the tracks from “No. 2”, or toilet paper from “No. 1”. We got so hooked that we also went out to Grövelsjön in Dalarna at the end of the summer. There it was difficult to find empty campsites. One night we had to make a sacrifice by setting up our camp in “the human village”. Even the human village sleeps it would turn out, and there was an outhouse in the neighboring village.
As a child in the 70’s in Sweden, we sang the song “we walk over dewy hills, lalala” only we found a small hill to climb and the rain fell like cats and dogs on the slopes or dripped unnoticed on us small children. Let us all go over dewy hills, lalala. Be it hills or real mountains. Exercise and fresh air make the burnout escape and our inner tanks to be filled. The immune system is also raised as a defense against Covid-19. In the mountains we breathe in fresh air and inhale beautiful views. When we go to the toilet during the night, we step out of the tent straight out under the crackling starry sky of the universe. Welcome to Sweden 2020s.
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Svensk version finns som krönika torsdag vecka 6 2021 i nyhetstidningen InBlick.
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