search instagram arrow-down

Join 921 other followers

Follow Andrea Hejlskov on

Support my work

You can support my general work via Patreon
and I hope you do, will.

The move

After we got here I´ve seen deer, wild boar, fox, (shadow of) elk, lots of squirrels and lots of monogamous birds.

The wildlife is so rich and the forest so plentiful that I swear to gods and I cry; thank you for this bounty.
Crawling through the underwood, sometimes on two legs, sometimes on four, mosquito buzzing around my head, ant biting my wrist, blood red hands from the wild blueberry, I am swollen with gratitude.
Alive. Breathing. Animal self (I know what that means now).

They came to our cabin to take down all of the trees around us, with their machines and their hard eyes but there’s more to it, of course, some of it I can’t share with you because of the kids (there’s a gender issue hiding somewhere here)
War has been ravaging the lands for many years, truth is; you can’t run from it. One day war will knock on your door and even if you don’t want to fight you may need to. Afterwards you may bleed.

Another truth: community is hard, roles can stick to you like big black snails.
Didn’t make it easier that we had positioned ourselves, been so open, blogged, invited so many strangers into our home.

Enough of all that.

The move came and had been underway for a long time.

Flexibility has become a key factor in our life since we moved into the wild-  we’ve had to adapt. Constantly.
Adaptation means breaking down your own emotional walls, it also means being able and willing to change, not only inner circumstances but outer as well. Constantly.
(remember those last loaded posts; that was the sound of me breaking, that was my armour finally, finally crumbling. Not a pretty process. Needed to be done)

Five years ago we arrived with all of our high hopes and belongings to a small river valley in Varmland, Sweden. We settled under a tarpaulin tepee and began the hard work: to build our own log cabin, to rewild ourselves, to become whole as a (broken) family, to learn, to live good and prosper.

Winter came and our log cabin wasn´t finished which was the first of many failures and defeats to come. Next year we relocated (cold seeps downwards, don’t settle in a river valley) and began constructing yet another log cabin (there was a hand dug well and the soil had been cultivated a hundred years ago= less rocks, better soil)
Growing food, tending to animals, being a family of six people, living on a construction site- the first many years were very hard but we got the second log cabin built and moved in. That first night in that log cabin, that victory… will stay with me forever.

Then I got sick. My body collapsed. I was sick for a whole year, slave bound to my bed almost all of the time. High on morphine.

Then the older kids moved away from home, out in the world to live free and prosper, to get their educations, to drink beer with friends, to manifest themselves as individuals in the world.
I´ve been a mother since I was 19. We had finally succeeded in becoming a flock, we had finally achieved what we wanted… two seconds before they moved away from home (childhood has a deadline, it’s the coldest truth of them all)
Adapt. Change.
New circumstances.

Then came the war and we were under vicious attack (you´re not paranoid if you’re being followed),  had to cover all of our flanks, realizing how vulnerable we are, one is, as soon as one does something DIFFERENT. What is life and logic to you might be used against you when the enemy takes you to court.

I told you I was a viking warrior.
I’ll do what needs to be done.

Raven banner, wild howl, glistening sword and I win, I always do, don´t I?

When running into the wild you can’t expect to live as a tree hugging hippie all of the time, sometimes you need the kill to survive. War paint. Chest bump. Maybe you won’t need to fight as hard as we did – we had the whole “public opinion” to deal with too. Plus our apparantly annoying personalities. Plus enemies (there might be a gender issue hiding somewhere here)
No matter what but especially in the Scandinavian countries though- you’ll need to fight for your right to leave…. the status quo, the perceived sense of community.
It´s an element of the experience that needs to be addressed when talking about living differently, rewilding our souls, I´ve said it a hundred times already: it’s not pretty.
It’s so devastating.

I´ll let it go.
I´ll let it go now.

The other day we were watching a tv series (on the computer, hard disk full of survival/bushcraft series) (most of the kids are home right now). Afterwards we began talking about how much of the things from the shows we already knew. We knew about the plants and the herbs and the trackings and the survival. Such a relief. It’s been five years- but it was only yesterday I fully realized how much we know, how much we’ve learned. “We´d last a lot longer than those people”, “I´d like to go full survival again” said the kids who are no longer kids.

One of the hardest things about living in the wild has not been nature though it´s been other people. Community. Relations. Me, blogging, being in the media, meant that we got a lot more or less invited guests. People settled in the woods around us. You become trapped in your own ideology, you become trapped in your own story.
Shake it off.
Shake it off.
Living in the wild means being able to ADAPT.
Imposed continuity and demands for you being able to explain and defend every little detail and choice in your life (ask yourself: can you answer all of the question you’d ask me?)- meant that I had created these very stern images and stories, I had to, explanations, justifications but this is who I am:

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well.
Then I contradict myself.
I am large. I contain multitudes”
(walt whitman)

(this is another element of alternative lifestyles that I think needs to be addressed; it is demanded of us that we create these bulletproof storylines and brands. Brands don’t change or contradict themselves)
(also I don’t want to be a brand)
(which is difficult because I need the money)
(which means that I´ll need to not need the money)
(which I do) (freedom is achieved through lowering your living standards)

One day, up in Varmland, he said: “I have noticed how hard it is for you to be the one hunting for money. Let me hunt for money for a couple of years, then you can be the one building house and foraging”

In order for him to hunt for money we need to be a little bit closer to where the game is.
That´s one the reasons.
Another reason is the children. Closer to them, with all of their educations and wild travellings around the world. Also: break the story, shake the tree. If we are to be the movement of resistance (and we are) we need to regroup and reconsider our methods (and we do).

Truth: the wild is not wild anymore, they’re growing the trees just like they grow barley, it´s not a forest, it´s a field. Realize the scope of this. Wild hardly exists anymore.
Closer to the motherland and closer to people they don´t take down the trees, the forests are privately owned and not used commercially, the trees are old here, in my garden there’s a willow and I think it´s five hundred years old. The biodiversity is greater here, absurdly enough. Beech, hazel, oak, elderberry, aspen. I forage, never had a pantry this stocked before, and we’ve not even been gardening this season.

We’ve rented a small farmhouse from the 1800 hundreds, there’s a barn and a boat and many acres of woodland all to ourselves. Deer. Wild boar. Foxes. Apples. Hazelnuts. Berries in almost obscene amounts. A bit warmer winters. A bit longer summers. Self Sufficiency will be so much easier here.

I sit and I look at the black lake for hours a day. I try to make sense of the last five years. I try to make sense of the now. Try to make sense of the change.

I am no longer the same person as I were five years ago. Deep down I think that’s what I wanted the most.
I wanted to change.

Also I found happiness. Shivering atoms. I’m as free as I ever will be.


This entry was posted in Blog.

13 comments on “The move

  1. John Newell says:

    I am not sure if I missed something, I hope not, I am subscribed by email. Still, it was good to hear from you again this morning. And your posts add a lot to my life, including this one. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BeeHappee says:

    So nice to hear from your new place of longer summers. 🙂 Wherever life blows us, it is all good. Sounds like so much family and happiness and learning and berries in your stories that I almost hear and smell it all. We have travelled through much of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia this whole summer just across the Baltic here and I love these summers, this peaceful life and the red currant pastries. Much Peace and Love to you. Kristina

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrea, lovely woman, I think of you as one of those nomads all those thousands of years ago who set out, armed with their confidence (sometimes) to discover new lands because they needed something. Sometimes it was peace because war was in their homelands. Sometimes it was just more because the home tribe was too big for the resources. Now you’ve moved on for all sorts of (good) reasons and you’ve found a more temperate land. I’m so happy for you. So much you’ve learned on your journey just like the nomads of old. The old journey was not always happy, joyful. Sometimes it was very hard. You speak of it poetically. It’s the insight of the nomad who must of necessity be a warrior. The world around is not always friendly. It is sometimes hostile. The nomad warrior learns to adapt and therefore survive. And write poetry. Or make music. Or art. Out of adversity comes beauty. You make me better than I am and for that I am grateful. Peace, Renee

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ach, as so often happens I get up early, sit down to the computer and say something I have regretted. I thought of this when I left the computer to go out and feed the animals and clean up their pens. I often say to my partner “I do my best thinking when I’m scooping poop.” There I thought: I just did what Andrea describes. I labelled her and put her in a pigeonhole.” So may I offer apologies. It is SO hard not to label. We need to think we know things. We’re not hopeless. We’re just nearly so.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The thing I love most about the internet is when the pure human contact occurs. Here we can sometimes see more clearly. I feel like you see me. It makes me profoundly happy. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tiffany says:

    It was sad when they logged all the forest around ours this Spring. All the paths are gone or greatly changed. We had so many animals sheltering on the plot (10 acres only) we own, that I rarely went past our house much, as I felt they had been disturbed enough. They’re moving back out, and into that mess of branches and limbs on the forest floor (loggers only take what they want and leave the tops) and I know they (animals) will improve the place. Still, I seem to be having more trouble adapting. The sassafras grove is gone, as are the elderberry bushes. Some of our trees, as well, cause if you don’t keep a constant eye trees get cut. Made a deal with loggers after their errors, so they left areas with springs alone that were just off our property.

    Sad to hear you had a far worse time, but glad you have arisen stronger and more aware.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should check out a book called “The World Without Us” and it might hearten you to be reminded how resilient Nature is and how fast She moves to regain stasis. I bet those sassafras trees would be sprouting from the root stock if given half a chance. Peace to you.


      1. Tiffany says:

        Thank you. I will read it, and hope. Peace to you, as well.


  5. Dorte Lykke says:

    So sad and so life promising at the same time. Thank you for all your sharing, and may ease bring back full blossoming of your anarchist strong soul.
    And may we start to cooperate with the nature and grow our respect and wisdom towards everything life growing.

    Love to all your changes and transformations.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Andy Jukes says:

    So happy to have your words appear to greet me this morning. Thank you.
    One thought to offer in return. It is about the Wild, about Nature. It may seem that Man dominates and destroys Nature. Logs it. Harvests it. Builds over it. But Man is short sighted and in a hurry – demanding quick returns. Nature is patient, slow and relentless. All our triumphs and civilisations will eventually return to the Wild. Nature will always win. Eventually. Because we are just a part of the Natural world – not it’s Master. We are all Wild. We just have lost that understanding for a while. Chosen to ignore it. But we can’t escape it. No matter where we live. We can be Wild in the City. The Wild is there. In the spiders spinning their webs. In the falcon roosting on the church tower.

    The Green, in the greyest night,
    Through loose Tarmac and crumbling mortar,
    Time is sharp
    And everything collapses.

    It’s good to have you back.


  7. Abigail Higgins says:

    dear andrea,
    you have been in my thoughts so it is good timing to have you back on the “airwaves” this morning.

    what are monogamous birds? do you mean like my geese, pairing for life?

    as american society stumbles and blunders along towards the novembre dénouement i am becoming numb-er and numb-er, not like you heading off to paris to demonstrate, but putting my head down and cultivating my own garden. the only cheery optimists out there are the finance guys (and molls) who know they will be enriched regardless and rub their hands in anticipation. oh boy, another arms deal, oh boy, another war.

    all best in the new phase,
    ~ abigail


  8. DM says:

    As some of your other readers have already said…it is good to hear from you!~ I especially resonate with the Walt Whitman quote. We too live in an old farmhouse…surrounded by deer, wild turkey, dozens of crows, an occasional badger, and quietness. Wouldn’t trade it for the world either. DM


  9. Ananda says:

    Rävakulla is just perfect, even kind of forest down there 🙂


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s