• Blaycation Travel

"The Great Outdoors" Winter Collection - Chasing the Aurora Borealis

After almost a year of lock down and restrictions, our urge to travel is even more present than before. Travel has always been a part of our existence and having this right removed suddenly from us, deeply impacted our moral and happiness. We weren’t meant to seclude ourselves indoors, staring at white walls or Netflix nature documentaries for most of our days - as much as I love to listen to David Attenborough! With Covid, a new form of nostalgia has emerged, namely a longing for a past that held the prospect of a future – A yearning for nature and the “great outdoors”, and the freedom to roam and travel wherever we wished. Covid has made simple things like holiday plans seem more challenging, and we’ve had to adapt and find pleasure in more simple, heathy and sustainable things – reading, gardening, crafting, biking, hiking and getting out into nature; be it just a walk in the park.

Some of us have also been separated from their loved ones for months. This separation has forced many to reconfigure how to manage day-to-day tasks (i.e. educating children and working from home). This social isolation adds another layer of stress during this time, and the emotional impact may be even more burdensome for many. Separation from family and friends can lead to increased worry, feelings of uncertainty and isolation, and an increase in mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. It’s important that we prioritize positive coping strategies during this time to preserve our happiness.

Health and science experts have determined that deepening our connection to nature is extremely important for boosting our overall health, mood and mental clarity. But how do we experience nature when our access to it becomes limited?

Have you ever heard of “Friluftsliv” (pronounced free-loofts-liv)? The expression literally translates as “open-air living” and was popularised in the 1850s by the Norwegian playwright and poet, Henrik Ibsen, who used the term to describe the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing. Today, the phrase is used more broadly by Swedes, Norwegians and Danes to explain anything from lunchtime runs in the forest, to commuting by bike (or on cross-country skis when the snow falls) to joining friends at a lakeside sauna (often followed by a chilly dip in the water) or simply relaxing in a mountain hut. The concept is also linked closely to allmansrätten, the right to roam. Scandinavian countries all have similar laws which allow people to walk or camp practically anywhere, as long as they show respect for the surrounding nature, wildlife and locals.

It's a concept that can be quickly exported. If you have time to watch Game of Thrones on Netflix, you also have time to be outdoors. It’s a matter of making choices and being able to see something green really adds value to everyday life. Staying close to nature makes us feel alive from the inside, and we should not compromise it for recent developments like urbanization, technology, or social media.

Unsurprisingly, friluftsliv has been the runaway hit of this corona season; In the world, we’ve seen a boom in domestic travel, people preferring to stay in their home country to discover the nature around them, going on family road trips and camping trips. It is easy to maintain social distancing while camping and it is precisely the tension between city and nature that makes the concept of friluftsliv all the more relevant. As we see some regions in the world heading into a second lockdown just six months after the first one was imposed, the pull of the outdoors has never been stronger. It is particularly desirable given that the concept is wholly experiential!

It’s with this in mind, that at Blaycation Travel, we’ve decided to launch our “Great Outdoors” or “Friluftsliv” Winter & Summer Travel Collection. This concept has already been a part of our agency identity from the start, consistently developing unique and unforgettable road trip adventures around the world, focusing on the connection with nature and local communities.

With this in mind, we are excited to launch our Winter Travel Experiences in the Nordics, chasing for the Aurora Borealis, in Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Finland.