Having Visited Shetland…

…I’ve been in the habit of staying informed about these wonderful islands in the North Atlantic and found the BBC’s Island Blogging site. Naturally, I got hooked on the wonderful language of the bloggers as well as I keep myself informed about life there.

A gentle Shetland croft image near Eshaness, North Mainland

One new blogger in particular has caught my attention and, besides having a mutual background of living in America and leaving it to another place as well as having an exciting ability to write, she wrote something that I wanted to comment on.

She wrote of discarding possessions and backpacks as well as asking, ” When you are on your death bed, do you think you will wish that you had spend just one more day at the office?” She sounded like I do at times. (read- “Gift from the Sea”)

The fact of the matter is, a “commenteer” alias Flying Cat suggested that “It’s the things you can do with money that can bring happiness…” and continues with “…usually people who have none who insist it’s not contributory to happiness.” Therefore I feel I have to put my two cents worth into this.

For many years and many backpacking (trekking) trips, I have learned about the joy of only needing what you can carry in your backpack. I have food for the day, I become physically and mentally more awake from hiking. I have shelter against all types of weather with my tent. My sleeping bag keeps me warm. I lack nothing, but still I have such beautiful and rewarding entertainment with the mountains surrounding me…speaking with me and teaching me.

I’m sorry that Flying Cat hasn’t discovered this, yet. I would like to ask the question, What is it that money can’t buy?

It can’t buy good health or a Blue-Throat landing on the toe of your boot to say good morning. It can’t buy watching a bear kill a moose on a mountain slope. It can’t buy the midnight sun nor a steel-white snow covered night. It can’t buy perseverance against a raging storm nor pride from an honest climb upwards. It can’t buy honesty. It can’t buy inner contentment. It can’t buy life nor can it buy wisdom…nor…happiness.

Surprisingly, if one would spend a whole summer in the Laponia mountains, and you would have only a little money on you, you will have the same amount leftover when you leave the mountains. There is nothing to buy that you need and, still, you will boast of the most splendid time in your life. Something to think about?

Shetland coastline at Eshaness, North Mainland

So, in defense of Shetland: finally home, perhaps there’s some truth in what she is pointing out…it just takes wider eyes and an open mind to understand the wisdom with less possessions in this life…and it’s not too late since a death bed lurks ahead for all of us.

I do know, I can be better with this thought, too …now, back to throwing things away!

English for Swedes: “Commenteer” a person, often with others, giving comments on, in this case, blogs.

10 thoughts on “Having Visited Shetland…

  1. Your blog really inspires me. As you probably know I spend a LOT of time in front of my computer. Once in a while I get out and maybe even do a hike, but it´s not often. Reading all this lights a longing for the openess and freedom of the nature in Laponia. It makes me want to hike more often.

  2. Thank-you for the compliment! Just take a decision about how you want your life to be…then, do it! It is so relieving not to have junk to haul around like the chains of “Marley´s Ghost”. Try just going for a brisk 40 min. walk in the afternoon everyday after being in front of the computer all morning! See what you can discover. Take it from there and see what happens…

  3. Hi there! I am 19 years old and have not yet left my parents home to make my own life yet. I long for nature but both of my parents and my “syskon” are born and have lived all our lives in the city of Stockholm. None of us have any knowledge in how to get closer the nature. I would like to know how to get started? Should I start in a small scale and go out and just pick mushrooms? (Never done that actually) All I know is that I love the nature and want to spend more time near it, but I do not know how to get out there. I have no passed on knowledge from my parents and have no idea what I should do. Perhaps you can help me?

  4. Batus: I would start by picking berries, not mushrooms. It is easier not to come home with poisonous berrys than mushrooms. Mushrooms are sneaky and look really similar to eachother. You have to know exactly what you are doing when picking mushrooms. Also, if you pick one poisonous mushroom and put it with the others you can’t eat any of them.

    Go out and pick some lingonberries! I recently discovered that making lingonberry jam is really easy! Be sure to wear good and warm clothes, especially on your feet!

  5. Wow! This was a big question and not that simple to answer. I’m not sure how you live in Stockholm, but my first reaction was to start by sleeping outside for a night in your backyard. Do this several times and take a friend along. This allows you to learn about setting up a shelter, to learn about sleeping in a sleeping bag, maybe prepare a simple meal over a simple fire/stove, what clothing is appropriate and learn to appreciate the fresh air, stars, nighttime, different sounds…independence etc. Why not suggest this to your parents? Take them out, too! Heavens, it’s about time they engage themselves with this challenge.

    Now, I’m going to consider your question more and maybe write something with more detail for the “first-timer”, but here are some links for you to contact and ask. Try the birdwatchers in Stockholm. They usually are outdoors a lot and birdwatching is one part of nature..and it’s relatively inexpensive.


    Keep me posted when you feel the need-

  6. I was not attacking Finally Home. I do like to get to the heart of things without obfuscation or woollymindedness. Without money you would have no tent, sleeping bag, whatever you need in your backpack. Truly poor people, a concept alien to those of us in the rich West, can’t afford to go hiking, unless it is to trudge miles in pitiless heat to get enough dirty water to keep their family alive – if it doesn’t kill them. The joys of hiking with everything you need in a rucksack are familiar to me, but I didn’t kid myself I was doing it without money. Therefore I say again – money per se does not bring happiness, but the things it can buy, can.

  7. Thank-you Flying Cat! I’m glad you made a comment. I respect this but still cannot agree with you completely. Yes, we don’t live in the ice-ages and “money” is used in barter and exchange for what we need to live on. So, I stand partially corrected.

    But, I would suggest to re-consider the content value of “Gift from the Sea” and perhaps see what isn’t obvious to the eye. Also, even if it means using money, I recommend everyone to go to Africa! It’s a mind changer! They start walking at the crack of dawn and do it all day and into the darkest evening. And, lastly, I actually have slept without a sleeping bag and under the stretching bows of a spruce.

    Now, perhaps someday we will continue this discussion but let’s leave it for now? Thank-you again for your comment and contact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *