Published on November 26th, 2022 Updated on December 28th, 2022 By Elizey

Friluftsliv

(FREE-loofts-liv, noun)

Living an open-air life

Friluftsliv – or “open-air life” – is a centuries-old Nordic tradition of connecting with the natural and cultural landscape in everyday life. I like to think of it as the outdoorsy cousin of hygge. Open-air life revolves around feeling joy outside, regardless of the season or the weather. It’s about learning useful skills, without pressure to compete or achieve. Through open-air life, we can peel away the demands of modern life and let go of stress and anxiety. Whether we’re cooking a meal over an open fire, going for a walk in the woods, taking a dip in a freezing lake or foraging for wild berries, open-air life helps us restore balance within ourselves – and the planet. Nature is everywhere around us, so you don’t need to venture far to experience friluftsliv. Just open the door and step outside. 

"Friluftsliv isn't something you can touch. It's something you feel in your soul."

– August Casson

Is Friluftsliv the New Hygge?

How a Deep Connection with Nature Can Save Us from the Pressures of Modern Life

The Swedish government typically defines friluftsliv as spending time outdoors to get a change of scenery and experience nature, with no pressure to achieve or compete. Others say that it’s not an activity or program with a narrow goal, but a philosophical lifestyle based on experiences of the freedom in nature and the spiritual connectedness with the landscape. In reality, friluftsliv means different things to different people, but in its original and most pure form, it can be described as the notion that returning to nature is akin to coming home.

Talking about open-air life

I’m often invited to talk about open-air life on radio and in podcasts. Here you can listen to a few of the interviews.

"Friluftsliv, or open-air life, is where humans and nature intersect and the values that we create in those meetings. Simply put, it’s a way to nurture a personal relationship with nature through direct experiences.”

– Linda Åkeson McGurk

How to really enjoy – and not merely survive – winter

While summer is usually easy to love, getting outside in the cold simply takes a bigger commitment – and decidedly more gear. But we need the outdoors just as much during the cold months as we do during the balmy sun-bathing season, if not more. The beauty of the Scandinavian friluftsliv tradition is that it calls on us to embrace the outdoors in all seasons and I know you can too. If you’re having a hard time motivating yourself to get outside in the winter, this one is for you!