Enjoy a Transformative Summer Like The Norwegians Do
If you only do one thing for yourself this summer, make sure to get outdoors as much as you can. Even better, follow the lead of Norwegian people and adopt a friluftsliv (free-loofts-liv) way of living—or ‘open-air living.’ It is more than going to the park—it is truly a way of life that can lead to exciting transformations in your spiritual and physical wellbeing. Friluftsliv philosophy means getting completely unplugged, forgetting about electricity and the modern world luxuries, and getting completely immersed in the pure energy of nature. The best part is that the benefits of such an authentic experience are bigger than one would expect.
How Norwegians Spend Summer Outdoors—Differently
The best way to experience friluftsliv is to spend a whole day or even days outdoors. In Norway, this is even easier because of a law called “the Right to Roam.” This incredible law from 1957’s Outdoor Recreation Act is a true gift to free-spirited nature lovers. It allows anyone to camp overnight for up to 47 hours in one location virtually anywhere.
You can set up your tent or just sleep under the stars—no permission needed.
This is also true for walking and hiking. As long as you show respect to nature, you can go anywhere—even privately-owned lands—as long as you keep at least 150 meters distance from any inhabited houses or camper vans. This also excludes cultivated lands, but shores, forests, bogs, waterfalls, and mountains are free to roam all year round; fields and meadows can be legally accessed between October 15 and April 30 every year.
You can also pick most berries, wild plants, and mushrooms anywhere (with special rules applying to cloudberries, which are related to raspberries).
You can fish without a license as long as it is for you and not commercial purposes.
In conclusion, Norway stands out with its love for outdoors because if you are not hurting the animals, destroying wildlife, or disrupting the growth of fields, you are free to enjoy the outdoors in any way you like almost anywhere in the country. This seems like a dream for those of us who came across a beautiful beach or forest that was private in another country and therefore inaccessible. In Norway, nature is waiting for you, and it may be well worth the trip!
Experiencing Friluftsliv Outside Norway
Other countries in the world may not follow Norway’s example with this amazing “Right to Roam” Law, but that does not mean that you cannot incorporate the philosophies of friluftsliv to have a similar experience.
Think like the first land explorers. The true spirit of friluftsliv started with Norwegian explorers who wanted nothing more but to connect with nature and get ‘lost’ in it—no cars, no electronics, no luxuries.
Bathe in the simplicity of life. Day to day life with commuting to work or school, chores, and responsibilities can be draining after a while, and the mind needs to recharge. Being in nature and focusing on mindfulness of each passing moment is a great way to do that.
Connect to nature with intention. How you spend time in nature matters as much as the act itself. You can find your favorite tree and meditate by its trunk. You can attentively study the behavior of insects or follow where the butterfly leads you.
Connecting with nature is an individual experience, and you can make it personally tailored to you.
Involve your community. Social picnics in the park, weekend camping trips, and day trips to the lake are even sweeter when surrounded by family, friends, and people you know.
Unplug from all electronics. With the growing wireless grid, it is tempting to check email and Facebook, or various applications, even when enjoying nature—wherever there is a signal. If you promise yourself to stay away from technology, only then will you have a 100% effect from natures healing powers.
Spending time—unplugged!—in nature can:
- Reduce stress
- Improve your mood and feeling of wellbeing
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Help you stay active and fit
- Feel more energy
- Decrease inflammation
- Experience better sleep
- Help prevent cancers and other diseases
The philosophy of friluftsliv is just one of the reasons why Norway was voted the happiest country in the world in 2017. Norwegians are doing many things right, and you can start following their example by immersing yourself in nature this summer. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.
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