Cities are great. They have everything. The hustle and bustle of urban life, foods from around the world, people, noise, lights. Everything. But it’s not real, it’s a Disneyland for grown-ups. A playground for the budding student, or the 30-something professionals. So, sometimes, you have to get away from it all. One option is jumping on a low-cost (it’s never really low cost though, is it?), high impact airline and flying to a beach someplace, sitting amongst the crowd of tourists and sipping down cheap, sugar-happy cocktails. Lovely. Or you can seek some peace and quiet a little closer to home. For nothing. With little or no footprint left behind.
So, that’s what we did. We stuffed our backpacks and took a short bus ride to a national park, just outside of the city limits. National parks are great – a wonder of the modern world, spaces left relatively untouched, and cared for by good people. Plus, they are normally free, or come at a cost which contributes towards their own preservation. Sweden has a ton of them, 29 to be exact and Tyresta was our destination of choice.
It’s a joy to see these places in motion. The little help desks with their guidance and attention to the details of preserving nature. The neatly marked out paths. The complete and utter lack of man-made products, smells or sounds. The designated camp sites, with clear instructions about when, where and how to light a fire. It all helps to give you that ‘away from it all’ feeling which we tend to spend so much time, money and fossil fuels to find. It restores your faith in people; seeing families sitting round a fire, snacking on berries picked only a few meters away.
So give it a go. You don’t need much, even in the cooler months. A decent enough tent, some warm clothes, perhaps a camping stove if you are going off trail. There’s plenty of sustainable camping suppliers out there, or you can buy all your stuff second-hand, so you can camp with a clear conscience.
National Parks in Sweden: https://www.sverigesnationalparker.se/
Sustainable equipment: http://www.adisgladis.se/
Recycled and second-hand camping equipment: http://recycleoutdoorgear.com/