Sitting on a well-worn rock looking out into the distance, Elisabet Elfa looks very much at home. It’s pretty windy and the salty gusts whip up tendrils of her long blond hair and sling them into her eyes. But this doesn’t disturb her. She merely brushes them behind her ears.
“Nature and people are connected,” says Elisabet. “Maybe this is why I feel so free in the outdoors. I’m most like me when I’m out here.”
It’s autumn. We’re on an island far out in Stockholm’s vast archipelago and the sun is just dipping behind the horizon. The island, without it’s summer leaves, looks desolate. It’s also remarkably quiet. The birds have recently flown south for the winter. The only sound is our chatter over the swish-swosh of waves breaking on the rocky shoreline.
For some, this kind of isolation would be disturbing. But for Elisabet this is comforting. She feels most comfortable when surrounded by nature. She feels connected to it. As if it’s part of her. This could be because she’s from Iceland. A country that almost feels alive what with its active volcanoes, vast slow-moving glaciers, thundering waterfalls and wind-battered coastline.
“Sometimes I have to change the rock I’m sitting on because it feels like I’m disturbing something. I know that sounds pretty strange, but I can feel a presence, a kind of power or energy, that I can’t explain when I’m out in the wilderness.”
Growing up in Iceland has instilled a strong sense of respect and a deep love for nature and its ‘powers’. And although Stockholm is pretty well endowed when it comes to easily-accessible nature, it’s no Reykjavik.
“I really want to be closer to nature and this feeling has been growing in me since I started living in cities almost 10 years ago. In Reykjavik you can see the sea and mountains from the city and in just 15 minutes you can be at the foothills.”
That’s why Elisabet takes every opportunity to get out of the city and explore the best Mother Nature has to offer. And it’s something she readily encourages others to do too.
“We have to understand that everything is connected; that the ecosystem and nature are part of us .The more people who get out there and discover what we need to take care of, the bigger the chance we have of making the right changes.”
And although this climber, trekker, skier likes to go on big, epic adventures, she also loves taking a simpler approach too. The chance to just soak up the great outdoors in one deep breath. To look down as well as up, sideways and backwards. She never wants to stand still.
“There’s so much more to nature than what you see at first glance.”