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Friluftsliv, the Norwegian Concept of Outdoor Living

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 22, 2020

Two people out walking in a snowstorm

As winter weather approaches here in North America, those seeking relief from pandemic isolation might take inspiration from the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv (meaning roughly “open-air living”).

In Norway this is not as outlandish as it might seem in other nations. The Reads are simply following the concept of friluftsliv, which translates roughly to “open-air living” and is deeply engrained in the country’s heritage.

From the remote Arctic to urban Oslo, friluftsliv means a commitment to celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather forecast. “It’s the most natural thing for me because I’m Norwegian,” says Alexander, who documents their father-daughter journeys on Instagram.

The idea is as Norwegian as cross-country skis and aquavit. But amid a pandemic that’s upended rhythms of daily life around the globe, friluftsliv might also be a model for coming more safely — and sanely — through the northern hemisphere’s approaching winter season.

I wrote last year about The Secret to Enjoying a Long Winter and I’ll have more to say about how that approach worked out for me personally in a future post (short version: well), but for now I’ll just mention that one of my favorite things I did last winter was going on a 7-mile walk in the freezing cold with a friend. We were both dressed appropriately and keeping warm through movement — being out in nature and the engaging conversation was so enjoyable that I could have cared less about the temperature. (via kottke ride home)