Sweden is truly a journey of the senses. It taught me that we are at our most awake when we allow ourselves to dream. Here's how I discovered this beguiling country:
In Stockholm, adventure comes together with a local cosiness to make it one of the world’s most unique capitals. Sweden’s main city is a feast of flowers, gushing fountains and glistening reflections, all brought together by a salty sea breeze. There’s no better place to start your discovery of this incredible country. If there’s one thing Stockholm’s good at, it’s design. My colour therapy began in the city’s boutique interior design shops, where bright hues and floral shapes transform ordinary objects into looking as though they were lifted straight from a Matisse painting. I soon learned that efficiency and design combined is what moves the Swedish spirit, which has given birth to some of the most extravagant yet successful projects over the years.
After heading in and out of design shops, we took to the waters of the Stockholm archipelago. Here, hundreds of islands were dotted along the sea’s silver surface, and our boat had plenty to explore. Most of the islands were covered with tall green forests and adorned with red summer houses. After venturing out of the city, I was ready for an adventure!
Ice carving is liberating, it’s about getting rid of the excess. A shape is hiding in a block of ice: are you going to unlock your potential? There’s only one thing to do – start sculpting! There’s a place in Sweden where international artists are recruited every year to turn frozen bedrooms into ice masterpieces. You can spend the night there, surrounded by giant ice jellyfish, translucent mermaids or shining abstract shapes. Material for dreams, material for visionary people. With no WiFi or home comforts to fall back on, I lay in my frozen room pondering over the meaning of the word “potential.” Perhaps we really are at our most awake when we’re dreaming.
“Weren’t you scared of leaving your life in Stockholm to move to the forest with the long, dark winters?” I asked our guide.
She smiled politely at my candid question and her eyes flashed in excitement. “Cities might be dark in winter, not the forest. The forest is bright, with its fields covered in snow and a huge sky filled with pulsing stars,” she replied. As we walked through the pine wood near her house, Eva helped me discover many colourful plants and juicy berries that were invisible to my untrained eyes.
Eva chose to leave the city to start a new life picking berries and herbs from the forest to turn them into incredible recipes. Whether the idea was ancestral or innovative, it’s certainly a delicious one! Pine bark is turned into bread, juniper berries transform into butter, while Labrador tea and Lyngen berries are forest elixirs of youth. And then, it hit me: youth is an active choice. Eva looked inside and found her new self in the Lapland forest. As she connects deeper and deeper with nature, her inner peace shines bright like youth to me. I hugged her and gazed at the forest behind me – when I go home, I want to find my forest.
“Some people call it mindfulness or therapy; I am here.”: Leonard chose these simple words to explain what the forest means to him as a Sami man.
The Sami tradition is made of tales, handed down through generations around the fire. There we were, contemplating in the company of a frozen lake with the wood logs smoking under our nostrils.
Sami language only started to be transcribed a few years ago, so a spoken word means everything. It carries the sense of identity, and gives justice to the collective joys and struggles of an ancient civilisation.
And if a word means so much, so does silence. The leaves moved by the wind, the crunchy snow under the boots, the fire cracking, the birds tweeting: silence doesn’t need to be filled in Swedish Lapland, it already means so much.
Sweden has been an ethereal journey from start to finish. Every corner of it seems to be saying:
“Dream high, allow yourself to pursue your ideas and, no matter how crazy it sounds, everybody will start
dreaming with you”.
And this is a UFO in the Lapland forest. Contact me if you want to know more…
If you'd like to follow in Melania's footsteps, get in touch with one of our expert travel designers today to start planning your journey to Sweden.