After watching ‘Wild’ last night, a movie that shows Reece Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, walking 1600miles solo along the Pacific Crest Trail, and a really great run this morning, I am reminded of an article I read on an in-flight magazine a little over three weeks ago.
I was flying from Ireland to South Korea, after an amazing nine weeks at home with family and friends, during which time I got married. It was a very teary goodbye on my behalf. I can be a bit of an emotional eejit at times and this was the longest time I’d spent with my family since I graduated college almost 6 years ago. When I said goodbye I was facing into the longest stint away yet without a visit home - it will be close to 21 months before I’m home again. But with each passing day, home is one day closer and I’ve a whole lot of adventuring to do in the mean time. The goodbyes were hard, they always are, but with them said and behind me, I am firmly looking to the future.
Anyway, back to the article I mentioned earlier! It was about the Norwegian philosophy, or way of life, known as friluftsliv. It was the first time I'd come across the idea which, when translated, means 'open air life' and I was immediately drawn to the magic of the idea. It was first coined by Henrik Ibsen in 1859 (and gives me a whole new respect for the man who wrote 'A Doll's House', a play I was forced to study in school, that I really had no patience for!) and it's something that seems ingrained in Norwegian culture. It's even protected by law in an act known as allemannsrett which means 'all man's right' referring to everyone's right to access uncultivated land, no matter the owner.
Friluftsliv, pronounced as ‘free-loofts-liv’ (from what I can gather!) is about getting out in nature. It can be enjoyed alone, or with company. It doesn’t have to be a big expedition, completed with the latest gear and expensive equipment, it can be as simple as a stroll though the woods or sitting by a lake and absorbing the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. It can also be about big expeditions but the point is just to get out, and be in nature. To slow down, to appreciate the world around us, to ignore social media and the stressors of everyday modern life, and not to simply be, but to be outdoors.
From the little I’ve read about it, it seems to be a beautiful philosophy and one that we could all do well to embrace a little bit more. So with that, I’m logging off. It’s a gorgeous day outside today and I’m going to get out there! After all, 'nature is not a place to visit. It is home.' - Gary Snyder