At first, I thought I could just leave the city for a month or two, cancel a few jobs and take a pause to reflect a little, and I would be my good old self again in no time. First step was to visit my parents, who own a classic Swedish faluröd house just down the road from here. Even though they had lived here for years, and I had visited many times, this was the first time I could really sense nature – the distinct smell of moss after the rainfall, the fog lying like a heavy duvet over the meadow in the early morning, the immense feeling of peace when floating in the nearby lake, face to the sun and without a care in the world. I gradually learned that time is not something you can chase or win; basically, there is only this instant, and as humans we will end up unhappy and worn out if we do not at least try to be present in our lives, right here, right now. In this process of rediscovering who I was and what I wanted from life, I realised that I needed a far more radical change than a vacation at my parents’ house.
Today, I know that what I was experiencing back then was a stress-induced breakdown. A year has passed, I have witnessed the seasons changing, and somehow a circle has been completed. I have rediscovered my passion for photography, I have started travelling again, and I have found a way to live here and still keep in touch with my friends in the city. And even though I am a rare bird in the tight-knit community of local workers and farmers, I feel at home here – in the woods, on the lake, on the back of a horse. Nature has taught me how to breathe again.