We dreamed of moving to Skellefteå, living in the countryside in a lovely wooden house surrounded by forest and fields, birds chirping and sun shining in the summer, snow falling and silence landing in the winter and becoming the curators of our own slow life. And we totally got that.
However, can slow living be too slow?
We come from England, a country where things are mostly done at a rushed pace. Traffic is buzzing from dawn 'til dusk, cars bumper to bumper just about everywhere, from city centers to the school runs in little countryside villages. There is a perpetual need for speed and haste that can make one feel like you are living on a hamster wheel.
Our desire for having everything we want right now means that it’s pretty commonplace to go online and order anything from your groceries to picture hooks, new clothes to a washing machine and have it delivered if not the same day, then the next.
You’re hungry? Use an app and order your food, any culinary delight you yearn for, and it will be at your door in 30 minutes. Fancy a bottle of wine? Pop over the road to your little village store and choose from a pretty good selection: it’s open 'til 10pm, so no rush.
Now let me review the situation in Skellefteå. We live out in the countryside and there's no village shop. Even if there were one it would shut at 7pm latest and there’s no chance of a last minute drinks run, because all proper booze is sold at Systembolaget, which opens at odd hours! As for a takeaway food delivery, ha! No chance.
If I need something quickly, and I order it from, let's say, Amazon, it’s not going to be delivered anytime within the next three days; it'll be a week! And even then it’s likely to be delivered to a collection point a 20-minute drive away, rather than to my front door.
We are still waiting to hear back from a local firm about getting the exterior of our house painted. I originally enquired two years ago!
While it can be frustrating at times not to have everything you need at your fingertips, I do feel that it has actually taught us all a valuable lesson. The slower life here gives you a chance to really think about whether you need something.
It has certainly cut down consumerism in our house. Do we really need something brand new, or can we repurpose what we already have, find it second-hand perhaps or just quite simply do without. Often it’s the latter.
We do, however, desperately need the exterior of our house painting. Any volunteers?
This is a column and the views are the author's own.