We have a cabin by a lake just 35 km from home, and spend most of our free time there during the summer – and during the 4 week summer vacation we live there.
This year we actually stayed at the cabin for 6 whole weeks* – it only takes around 30 minutes to drive there, so I commuted to work the first and last week when I was working.
The cabin is off-grid. We have solarpower, enough to charge phones and run lights and a small refrigerator. The lake provides us with water for washing up, and we are fortunate enough to have a fresh-water spring available for drinking water. If we want hot water we heat water from the lake with wood and fire. Primitive, but fully functional! Living there is a bit more work, but it is also very relaxing.
Time runs slower, we eat when hungry and sleep when tired, not by the clock. The cabin isn’t big, 32 m² (344 ft²) (after the add-on we made this summer, a topic for another day). There is a living room, with a great view of the lake. A small kitchen (powered by liquefied petroleum gas, LPG), a toilet (with no water, a urine-diverting dry toilet) with a shower (to which you first heat water with wood outdoors and bring in a bucket). And a bedroom. All we need. Our time is spent improving things (a sauna, outdoor bathtubs, a nice sundeck – mr L likes building stuff), fishing, cooking, eating, cleaning up – and hanging out with our friends and neighbours.
And then vacation ends and we move back home (although we will return to the cabin for the weekends until snow comes).
The first days at home I’m amazed at a lot of things. The space! Why to we have that much space? (70 m² (750 ft²) – not very large, but compared to the cabin huge.) And stuff! Do we really need all this stuff? (Great time of year to do some decluttering…) The luxury of running tap water. And hot running water straight from the tap as well, how amazing! The convenience of household machines – dishwasher, washing machine, vacuum robot… Electricity. I get so used to these things that I hardly notice them. Luxuries that I take for granted most of the time.
I am very privileged. I live in one of the richest countries in the world, and since you are reading this chances are that you are too. Even at the cabin we still have power, and free access to fresh water – more than a lot of people in the world have at home. There are many things I forget to be grateful about in my everyday life – but this year I’ll make an effort to remember.
* One of the perks of living in Sweden is that everybody has 5 weeks of vacation, by law. Fully payed vacation, if you have worked a full year. The law also states that you have the right to have 4 of those weeks in one unbroken period during the summer (june – august). Some employers, like mine, actually offer more payed vacation – I have 32 days/year.
Mr L. has decided to retire by january 1:st 2019. He too has had a lot of alotted vacation, but has often chosen to work instead – but since he is ending his employment this year he needs to take the time off (or get a sum of money for each remining day, but that is not a very good option since most of that money then goes to extra taxes). So this summer he took a 6 week summer vacation, while I opted for 3,5 weeks. I only work 3 days a week, so most of my time was vacation anyway. I do live a very priviledged life!