We spoke to Lina Skandevall – the Swedish entrepreneur, foodie and travel-writer from Småland, who's constantly inspiring women around her (like us) to try new things and explore the world and nature among us. We got curious about her ways of achieving that amazing work-life balance, and therefore asked her some questions.
First, tell us about your passion, and what sets your heart on fire?
I love getting new impressions, and I am constantly curious. All knowledge is good knowledge to me, and that’s why I love traveling where I get exposed to different cultures, food and nature. I also love traveling by my own! That’s when the unexpected happens – from meetings to challenges. My soul needs different places and environments to grow and to bloom, it really fuels me with energy. If I find a place or a thing that I love – I will do all in my power to let everybody know about it. I'm an ambassador for everything I love. (The city Norrköping knows all about that.)
Looking at your Instagram, it seems like you design your life to include a lot of time outdoors, exercise, cold swims, good food and travel. What’s your own life philosophy, any guidelines you’re trying to live by?
My grandpa always said: “A flying bird always get something – a sitting bird doesn’t get anything”. In other words: Go get the world! If you fail, at least you have learned something from it. I'm definitely a person that doesn’t hesitate – I just go all in. I've done many mistakes on the way but that’s just something to put in the knowledge bank. I'm really trying to live life to the fullest every day and have no regrets. But I don’t need to travel all over the world to get the satisfaction – I just need to feel alive. A cold swim is the easiest and cheapest way to do it, to walk a different path at home or to pick some fresh blueberries for breakfast.
We love following your travels around Sweden, it seems like you’re not in one place for a long time. How many places do you have that you call home?
Haha, far too many, I guess. But home is where my heart is. I moved from the city to the countryside outside Norrköping ten years ago – that’s when I realized that I need the calmness from the nature to find the real inner peace in my intense lifestyle, that (normally) includes a lot of traveling and hard work. When my boyfriend entered my life I moved to Stockholm but I wasn’t ready to let go of my place in the countryside. Which now is a place where we spend most of our summers and where we go for workations. It's still my place for peace and quiet and I go there almost every week. We also have a place up in Jämtland (Ramundberget), and that’s a new love for me. So – three places to call home. Except from Småland of course, where all my relatives live and where I grew up.
What do you do for work? Seems to be something digital-nomad-isch, at least remote friendly!
I have been an entrepreneur with “Skandevall Media”, my own communication and PR agency for 17 years now. I started since I was done with being bossed around, and done with being a boss. I wanted freedom, and to do things my way. I just love it! One of my missions in life has been to explore the world, and I have been a travel journalist for twelve years. So the digital nomad-life started early. My customers are used to me being all over the place. As long as I do my work and can reply quickly, they're happy. When I moved to Stockholm two years ago I actually got employed two days a week at Företagarnas headquarters as an expert on women entrepreneurship. So, I work for them two days a week – but with the same flexibility (I wouldn’t have said yes otherwise).
What’s your relationship to nature and outdoor life, and how has it changed throughout your life?
I grew up in Småland in a small village called Gemla, so nature was always a natural part of my life. As a kid, I loved playing in the forest or go canoeing, and I was also a part of Mulle, Strövarna, Frilufsarna – a very good knowledge base for outdoor living in Sweden. Nature has always been there, and even if I work in the travel luxury sector – I find camping outdoors in a magical landscape the most luxurious experience out there. I need it to find balance in life, to clear my mind. I need to follow the seasonal changes in nature to feel good, like picking flowers or see the trees changing their colors. It gives me total satisfaction. And I know almost all the names of plants and flowers in nature – especially the eatable ones. Mum always tells me that I asked about that all the time as a kid, so she had to keep her knowledge updated to answer all my questions. As years have gone by I really have understood how important nature is for me to feel good. I can't find real inner peace in Stockholm, as I'm very affected by my surroundings. We have a terrace that I really have turned into a jungle now, to compensate the houses outside that look the same all year round.
We know it’s hard to say but, if you have to, what’s your top outdoor activities, where and why?
- Kayaking in St. Anna's archipelago in Östergötland. It must be one of the best places in the world for kayaking. Millions of small islands, almost no boats and a lot of places for a base camp on your own little island. Bring a tree tent as an extra spice – I just love the feeling of sleeping above the ground.
- Hiking in the Swedish nature - in ALL the national parks.
- Trail running on all the lovely trails in the forests of Sweden. (I always find good paths on the app Naturkartan). Bring a backpack with food and water and go in your own pace with a lot of stops.
- Mountain biking! Especially on trails that gives you flow, not too challenging but with beautiful views, like in the areas around Mittåkläppen and Fjällnäs. It gives you the feeling of South Africa! (But with reindeers instead of elephants.)
Any smultronställen you want to share in the Swedish mountains? Any experience in the nordics that were extra memorable that you wanna share?
Definitely Funäsfjällen! I have sooo fallen in love with that place. Especially late summer and autumn with all the colors. Ramundberget, where we have our cabin, almost only have arctic birches around, so the colors really explode there! Ramundberget is also a perfect spot for hiking, mountain biking, trail running and of course alpine and cross country skiing (and off pist). You can always be active up there and there are many mountains to explore, just bring your tent and go! I will be stimulated for years in that area. Right next to us, we have the mountain Mittåkläppen which is pretty easy to reach. It suits almost everyone and has a beautiful formation. Also, to hike up on Helags mountain is a wonderful challenge. It’s a bit difficult to reach and you have to hike quite far to get to the mountain. But it is SO worth it. It's ranked as one of the top hikes in the world by National Geographics, and I do agree.
Tell us about an upcoming adventure you’re excited about?
I have been exploring the whole world for years – I sort of have saved a lot of Sweden for later. Then the pandemic hit, and the time came for Sweden. It’s a really exotic country and I haven’t explored the north that much. In February, I'm going to Abisko for some northern light hunting, skiing and well – just to explore what Sweden can offer up north.
You have such a great style, and we’re honored you have not only one, but two pairs of our pants! How did you hear about Astrid Wild and what do you like about the Astrid and Amelia pants?
Thank you! I always want to wear nice clothes – even outdoors! Outdoor wear has been very "male-isch" for a long time. It's sort of basic knowledge that high rise pants is a clever thing to produce for active outdoor women. I adore that I can have the pants when I'm out for a walk, picking mushrooms or out for a Sunday walk in Stockholm. But the best thing is the shape – The pants fits like a glove. The quality is great, I don’t know how many times I washed them and they still look as new. I really look forward to the upcoming products, and I will definitely go for then new merino wool set – with high rise!
Thank you Lina, for letting us pick your brains. Our traveling nerves for sure got tingled, and if you wanna get to know this lady even more, we suggest you head over to her here Instagram and YouTube-channel right away!