We spoke to Caroline Fredin, the woman who was born and raised among the mountains in Vemdalen. For most of us, it's mainly known as a resort where people come to ski during their winter holidays, but there is so much more to it. If there is anyone out there who knows every corner of this magical valley – it's Caroline. She runs the account Vemdalen on Instagram, which is her way to show us her roots, her commitment to the village and how it stems from her love for her hometown.
Caroline is wearing the Off-White Minna Fleece
We know you're a mountain gurl, nature lover and advocate of Vemdalen, a village in Härjedalen, Sweden known for great skiing and beautiful surroundings. What did we miss out on? What sets your heart on fire?
I grew up a skier and I still love skiing. I also love experiencing nature in different ways all year round. Everything from going bear watching in the spring, hiking alone to the mountains and spending days up there, taking a walk with my son and looking for reindeer horn or whatever it might be. Usually it's the simple things that appeal to me and being alone, one with nature, is unbeatable. I also love photography and writing which is perhaps one of the reasons why I work on instagram and as a communicator. I love to live life to its fullest!
I've had the jobs I've dreamed of, lived in places I've longed for and always done what I've wanted. I recently told a young person here in the village about it, and his reaction was – "Wow, what a lot of fun you've had, and what an incredible life you've lived!" And that's exactly how I feel. I do what I want, and what I dream of. If I can't do things, I learn and develop along the way.
You grew up in Vemdalen and lived most of your life there, tell us, what makes Vemdalen such a special place?
Vemdalen is a special place for me simply because it's where my soul lives. Here, I roam around the mountains where I feel at home, the people I love, and many of my relatives also lives here. Being close to the farms where my ancestors grew up is also a very special thing. Then, I love the appreciation everyone who lives here shows for the village itself. We all kind of know each other, and it feels like a safe place for my child to grow up. The village is in the middle of the mountains in the valley, and I think that contributes to a special feeling among us "locals".
What's your relationship to nature and how has it changed over time?
Growing up in Vemdalen, we have always spent a lot of time in nature. Both with my family, at school and for example in the slalom club. There have been mountain trips, excursions, hikes, etc. In my teens I wanted to see the world and I lived in Rhodes one summer, travelled a lot to China (where my sister lived), explored Thailand, etc. I was supposed to study textiles in Borås but dropped out after a year when I realized that the jobs were in Gothenburg/Borås or Stockholm, and that was not where my soul wanted to live.
Instead I moved back home and started an interior design shop which I ran for 8 years, before I hit the wall. At that point, my relationship with nature changed completely. and I discovered the healing powers of nature. Although I have always enjoyed being outside, it became crucial for me to heal. I overcame my fear of being alone in the mountains and basically moved into my dad's mountain cabin located by a lake. A very beautiful place where I stayed 3-4 days/week all winter. As soon as I got back home, my husband said I could go back if I wanted to. He saw how much it improved my health. Later I bought my own cabin by the same lake, and we love spending time there all year round. I didn't use to appreciate nature the way I do now.
In what way do you think living in the mountains affects people?
I think overall it makes them calmer and more grounded. A lot of people spend a lot of time in nature, and personally I find that I feel worse if I haven't been out in the woods or mountains for a long time. It's also cool to see the kids grow up and be able to make fires, handle portable stoves, compasses, ski cross-country, be around animals and nature, etc. I think it gives them a broad life skill as they get to experience a lot. I also believe that living close to nature makes you grateful for what you have. Living in such an incredible and beautiful place, makes you realize you can't buy happiness.
Do you have any fav local spots you wanna share? What's not to miss?
I will keep my best spots to myself. :) Jokes aside, I love being by myself in the mountains and forests, and rarely go to the usual places. But there is a lot to discover here. Fettjeåfallet is one of Sweden's highest waterfalls in our neighboring village of Klövsjö. Hiking to Björnrikestugan is one of my favorites. Easy to get to, and not a full day hike. I sometimes go there to work "from the mountains". Taking the weasel up to Jaktstugan on a sunny pre-spring day and then snow-racing down the slopes with my son is super fun! The list goes on and on and I try to collect tips on my newly started blog livetivemdalen.se.
How do you like your Minna Wool Fleece Jacket?
I love it. I'm often cold and I love that it has a high collar. It's easily the coziest jacket I own. I live in it. In fact, I've even slept in it on really cold nights.
Thank you Caroline for sharing you love for Vemdalen with us! Check out her new blog livetivemdalen.se and her IG account if you'd like to dive deeper into all the amazing things you can experience when going there! If you liked this read, make sure to check out the rest of our Wild Women blogs.