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Embracing freedom: A Summer of sea swimming in Gotland, Sweden

In a world dictated by the relentless need to be doing something all the time, there are moments when we just yearn for the child like simplicity of freedom, where the minutes stretch into infinity, and the only agenda is to follow the whims of the day. This is precisely the experience we tried to lean into while exploring the picturesque and surprisingly Mediterranean landscape of Gotland, an island gem nestled in the Baltic Sea, off the mainland coast of Sweden.

Leaving from Stockholm via the car ferry, our road trip started on the island with no real itinerary, no "cool spots" or "tips" to get too, and no pre-planned agenda to tick off. With the windows rolled down and most likely Steely Dan or Eagles playing on the stereo, we set out to try and explore the sprawling fields, rugged cliffs, and pristine beaches led by our curiosity alone.

Driving around Gotland feels like venturing into a world untouched by the hustle and bustle of modern life. Time seems to stand still as you meander through quaint villages with their charming cottages painted in hues of red, ochre, or white. Each turn of the dusty roads reveals a new dramatic rock formation or vista, inviting us to park up the car and join a handful of locals or mainland holiday makers, usually taking a soak in surprisingly calm and warm sea.

The evenings in Gotland hang on late, the sun dips below the horizon around 10:30pm, casting a golden glow across the air. The long evenings mean we would gather around the barbecue until late just hanging out and making the most of the long Summer days and grasping onto that feeling of lightness that Summer brings so strongly.

Whether it was a round of poker, an overly competitive match of Uno, the simple act of playing cards and being in the moment brought us together in a way that we often somehow lose when we return to our over busy lives in the city.

In the midst of our renewed carefree spirit, we re-discovered that feeling of freedom and how it lies not in the absence of our constraints but in the ability to embrace each of life's moment with enthusiasm and gratitude.

It's hard to explain why the feeling fades when we return home, but we promised each other to try and hang onto the spirit of adventure and spontaneity and let it guide us back home.

Our time in Gotland was a testament to the beauty of taking the time to relax and take life a little slower, savouring all of life's little experiences. In a world where time is often our most precious commodity, it is so easy to forget the transformative power of those moments when we have no time on our hands – it is in those fleeting moments of pure, unadulterated freedom that we actually learn to live.

Words by SLOWE Living

Photography by Ella Åström

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