Leaving the hamster wheel
From New York City to a Swedish island. How to live on a budget and to love it.
What is sustainability for you?
Sustainability is such a broad term and something we could go on about for a long time, but the short answer would go along the lines of a way of life – personally, societally, globally – that is in harmony with both oneself and our planet. Where people feel connected to nature and have found a mindful balance in their everyday routine, but above all where the world as a whole isn’t causing our planet harm and stripping it of its resources (and beyond).
What would you like to achieve in your life?
We want to contribute towards positive change by for example inspiring people to cook vegetarian cuisine through our food blog, consume less and live more in tune with nature. We also want to be able to look back and see a life for ourselves where we always prioritized time together over money, where we remembered to see all the small things in life for the sparkles of wonder that they are and where we did what we could for a safe, livable future for coming generations. And one more thing: as the devoted runners as we are, we definitely love becoming faster and able to run farther and farther!
What makes you happy?
The (seemingly) small things in life! Good food, homegrown vegetables, baking our own bread. Cinnamon buns coming straight out of the oven, sunsets and sunrises, nailing a tough running workout. Skiing, reading great books, finding a new chanterelle mushroom spot. Watching our son grow up and seeing the world through his eyes, witnessing his new discoveries and getting to share his wondrous excitement. Knowing that we live a life with freedom and space for our passions. Ice cream bowls, oatmeal bowls, peanut butter. After a few years of living this life, one of the most striking things is how we so genuinely and so easily find happiness, contentment and excitement in everything around us (well, almost – perhaps not when moose come feast on our apple trees, haha).
How do you make money while living on an island in the forest?
We bring in money doing a variety of things. Mike left his engineering career behind himself as we moved here and works as a photographer now, which creates one part of our (joint) business. Sophia is a translator and does various freelance gigs as that. Together, we’re content creators, influencers, food bloggers/bloggers, writers and running coaches, all tied together by our love for nature and the outdoors.
For people, who want to leave the hamster wheel and move out in the nature, what are your top tips?
Ask yourself how you would live your life if no one was watching to get a clear idea of what motivates you, what your genuine dreams are and what ingredients matter in your life. Having a clear idea and vision for the life you want to create is key. Next step: cut your costs! Learn how to live on a budget and learn how to love it. A downshifted life won’t feel like too much fun if oysters and champagne equal happiness. Look for joy and fulfillment in other things and focus on those! And last but not least, look into job options that will allow for you to work from home. Moving to a rural area and having to commute far will defeat the whole purpose.