We had signed up for two weeks of wwoofing in the Swedish Laplands before leaving France. We thought it would be a nice way to break up the trip, meet other travelers and sleep in a warm bed after our adventures in Norway. We had no idea what to expect really, but as we biked the 13km outside of town along a dead end forestry road, we knew we were onto something good.
We stayed for two weeks. Spending our days chopping wood, feeding chickens and painting dog houses. We spent our nights by the lake, in the sauna and around the fire. We had found a community and connection. We felt like we were a part of something again and our days had a different kind of purpose. I cooked and cleaned and fed hungry bellies. Matt was immediately drawn to the sled dogs, and he fell in love with early morning runs out in the wetlands, and grew curious about the lifestyle of a musher.
Two weeks turned into three and half and we still weren’t quite ready to leave. But we thought that we should finish our trip just the way we had planned and continue down through Finland. I had tears in my eyes as we left, words can’t really describe why but I was just so overwhelmed by all that this trip had brought us. Finland was quiet though. Something had changed and we were no longer connected to our trip the same way as when we started out. We had found somewhere that just sat right with our hearts and we couldn’t think of anything to do but to go back. So we did.
And then there were forests filled with berries, folk music festivals and nordic nights to watch from our bedroom window. There were pies, jams and cookies. There were more people to meet, different travelers and neighbors to get to know. Early morning fishing and canoeing at dusk. What started out as short relationships turned into real friendships.
I now realize that there are so many beautiful places in this world to see. Different countries and mountains and valleys and oceans, all worth a breath taking moment . But for me, traveling is so much more about the people we meet and the connections we make rather than the places we see. For me it is about learning, growing and contributing. Building memories and relationships.
Many people have dreams of what they would like to be when they grow up, and if you ask my 32 year old husband he will tell you he wants to be an adventurer. He wants his years to be filled with experiences, challenges and excursions. So when the opportunity for him to return to Sweden this winter and spend his days under the northern sky training sled dogs, well he just couldn’t say no. I love him so much for this. For his love of adventure and the unknown. And I am so proud our ability to support each other in our dreams. It will be hard, for sure – I would never wish to spend a winter without him, but at the same time I could never wish him a better experience than this. I have never seen him so happy. So totally free. It was like I was getting to know him all over again. I’ll visit, of course – but as we’ve learned from our past, life is never what you set it out to be, and the best moments happen when you are open to change and listen to your heart.
Somewhere, in the Swedish Laplands, there is a small town at the end of a dirt road where time seems to stand still. And for us this summer, it was absolute paradise. Until next time.