Growing up, we never had a summer house, as many Swedish families do. Neither did we have a lot of money to buy one. Instead, my dad and his wife rented a little one-room cabin outside Stockholm with no electricity or running water. Every summer, we would spend weeks in our little summer house. We celebrated midsummer with the other families, and I loved helping to carry buckets of water from the well. This might sound like it was hundreds of years ago, but this was the late ‘90s.

During those summers, my best friend and I spent most of the time outdoors. We caught butterflies, read books, picked flowers and spent time with the other members of the community. Because the whole site was car-free, we gladly ran around without fear of anything besides snakes or drowning – but we had our rubber boots on, and obeyed the adults’ rules of never swimming in the lake by ourselves.

Despite this picturesque childhood memory of playing outdoors, I wouldn’t consider myself a nature-lover – but it did teach me that a happy summer doesn’t have to be spent in exotic places. Of course, I went abroad a few times and loved it, but I enjoyed the Swedish summers just as much. As an adult responsible for my own summers, I still seek out holidays that don’t include airplanes, that keep costs down and will give me time to rest. That’s what the summer vacation is for, isn’t it?

Alejandra Cerda Ojensa is a Swedish sustainability blogger based in Copenhagen. She loves sustainable fashion, plant-based food, natural wines and music, and writes a column for Scan Magazine about sustainable lifestyle.


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