“Oscar’s lifestyle is a reminder that there are alternative ways to attack these decades we call life.”

On leaving it all behind
March 03, 2021

Every Friday for the past few months, we’ve been delivering a weekly travel guide to a Nordic destination here on Scandinavianmind.com. This might seem like an odd format to launch in the midst of a pandemic when people are strapped to their hometowns for the foreseeable future, and even pan-Nordic travel is something of a distant utopian activity. But it has become one of our most popular pieces of content, perhaps because we are so starved of exotic experiences. 

For us, this is a different way of profiling the many interesting and insightful personalities in the universe of lifestyle and technology that we cover. It’s also on par with our mission to become the window into Scandinavia for curious onlookers (there are quite a few from the UK, US, Germany and beyond, according to Google Analytics). It’s a fun and lighthearted way of kicking off the weekend and internally, and increasingly in our preambles, we have come to refer to these articles as our armchair travel series, and you all seem to agree it’s a splendid idea. 

So, now i have a confession to make. The last guide we published, the one from Hemavan in the north of Sweden, was somewhat of an ego-trip. For this week’s sportlov — the Swedish sports holiday — I’ve relocated with my family to this northern ski village where my parents own a little house. And what better travel literature to bring with me than a fresh guide, curated by my friend Oscar Ödling. 

Oscar’s life is a never-ending source of awe for me. He used to be a highly active fashion operative, working for some of Sweden’s most renowned brands, including Acne Studios, Byredo, and his own shirt company Another Shirt Please. Until one day, in a Keyser Zöse-like move, he was gone. Since we’d only kept in contact in a somewhat superficial way the past few years, I was not in the know of his life changes. So it was to some surprise that I found him three years ago on the top of the Hemavan mountain, flipping burgers from an outdoor grill to happy passerby skiers. 

Since then, Oscar has been one of the most joyful characters in my social media feeds. I see him roaming the mountains in the summer with his stray dog, building a mobile sauna which he places by the most serene lakes, and all-in-all seeming to live a rather hassle-free lifestyle, some 900 kilometres from central Stockholm.  

Oscar’s transformation is a reminder to all of us that there are alternative ways to attack these few decades of time we call life. And it’s no surprise that my first stop when arriving on the slopes of Hemavan last Saturday, was to stop by the mountain café Folkes, where Oscar is still flipping burgers for most of the high ski season. He serves me an excellent local IPA and sits down to talk to us about life in Lapland. 

His next move? Building a brand of snowmobile overalls. 

I know a lot of downtown hipsters who would line up to buy their pair of overalls, if only to get a small piece of the freedom that is Oscar Ödling’s life in Hemavan, Northern Sweden. 

I know I’m enjoying my slice of it this week. And I will savour it for many months to come once I’m back in Stockholm.