I never thought I’d be on a boat.
For some reason, when my host family proposed that we go stay at their summer house, I didn’t consider the fact that a boat may be involved.
In Sweden, it is common for families to have a summer house on one of the islands in the Archipelago. With a national guarantee of at least five weeks of paid vacation, Swedes like to spend a lot of time in the peaceful nature for as long as the weather will allow.
My host family’s summer home is on an island split with one other family. To get there, we had to drive onto one of the larger islands close to shore, then sail a small motorboat the rest of the way to our island.
For me, the trip to the summer house included several firsts:
- My first time eating boar, which we picked up on the way out at an ethically-sourced game butcher;
- My first time using an outhouse, which was surprisingly high-tech for a place where we had to bring our own drinking water with us;
- And my first time swimming in the Baltic Sea, which was both brief and freezing
I’m not typically a very outdoorsy person. I’ve been camping a few times, but I generally avoid the heat, bugs, and humidity of the Georgian wilderness when I can.
However, the tranquility of the forest, the freedom to explore the island, and the grace of a passing bevy of swans convinced me that the Swedes know what they’re doing. Taking time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to enjoy nature and family is a tradition I hope to bring back home.