It`s minus nine degrees Celsius. The sky frowns over us and the wind blows fiercely in our faces.
But my Norwegian friends tell me the weather is perfect for a walk. And a walk in Norway usually entails at least 15 kilometers trekking in nature. Across slippery forest paths, frosty meadows and misty mountains. As the popular Norwegian saying notes: there`s no bad weather, only bad clothing.
Friluftsliv: Norway`s love for open-living
Living in the open air is like a religion in Norway. Chilly temperatures, dark rainy days and ferocious wind are no reason to hide at home.
The passion for nature is deeply ingrained in Norwegian (and Scandinavian) culture. There`s even a concept referring to it: friluftsliv that can be literally translated as open-air living.
The term was coined in the 1850s by the famous Norwegian playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen. Friluftsliv for my thoughts is a concept that showed up in Ibsen`s poem On The Heights, telling a story of a man searching for solitude and clarity of mind in the great outdoors.
Nature as a source of energy
It`s not surprising that Norwegians cherish the great outdoors. Shaped by glacial and tectonic activities, Norway`s landscapes are harsh and dramatic. Nature is literally luring locals and travelers with its breathtaking fjords, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, and coastlines.
The diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities. All Norwegians are born with ski on their feet, as the popular local saying claims. And it`s no exaggeration: almost every local practices cross-country skiing, trail running, dog-sledding or at least hiking.
Loving nature from an early age
Love for nature is nurtured from an early age in Norway. Did you know that locals send their children to something that is called friluftsliv barnehage?
The term refers to a kindergarten in the open space. Kids are spending the whole day outside in the frosty weather and are encouraged to play in the forest and climb trees.
Inspired by the friluftsliv?
Sounds strange and a bit too much for you? Perhaps, it is. Especially for people with different cultural backgrounds.
But if you have time to watch Netflix after work, you can schedule some time for a walk in the nearest forest. Or at least the park if that`s easier. Wouldn`t hurt to try, right? Beware though: you might lose your bad mood.