Friluftsliv, like ‘hygge’, is a Scandinavian concept that became better-known thanks to social media. However, it relates to a lifestyle and not, as some people on Instagram seem to think, taking a selfie out in dramatic scenery.
Friluftsliv is a way of life in Norway and as we know, Norway, Sweden and Denmark invariably top the results when it comes to the happiest countries to live. Those countries have a higher life expectancy, superior social structures and much better style (which yes, is incredibly important) than other countries.
Scandinavians, in short, live longer and happier lives.
The Norwegian concept of friluftsliv has been adopted throughout Scandinavia and is believed by many to be one of the reasons, if not the reason, for the happier, healthier lifestyle that Scandinavians enjoy. And its principles are easy to adopt.
The translation of the words tells us exactly – Friluftsliv means ‘free-air life’.
Yes, nothing more exciting than getting out n the fresh air and enjoying nature.
Hang on though – when I say ‘nothing more exciting’ what could be better? Fresh unpolluted air, great exercise, natural living, fabulous scenery and all at little or no cost. Apart from the obvious advantages, there are additional benefits of fitness, better health and fun. And several studies have shown that there’s a huge improvement in mental health.
Experiencing the outdoors is well-known to relieve stress – and stress-related diseases.
For the traveller, Scandinavian countries have a strong freedom to roam policy. This means that we can camp, walk, hike, climb, almost anywhere we want to in these countries even on private property. Certainly there are a few simple common-sense etiquettes to keep in mind. Known as ‘allemansrätten’, the principles are as follows:
- The public is allowed nonmotorized access to most public or private lands for responsible recreational use.
One may travel (by foot, ski, horse, bike, or boat) through, as well as forage and sometimes fish on uncultivated lands without the landowner’s permission
- Camping for one or two nights is fine, provided the user does not camp too close to (usually 200-300 feet) the landowner’s home or in gardens or agricultural areas
- Users should be quiet and respectful
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JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.