Keeping It Simple

One of the true joys of traveling comes through learning other cultures. Discovering how the locals of your destination perceive the world and making connections creates a sense of kinship. Explorations can lead to learning something new you can take home with you or appreciate its difference from your own perspectives. Find a simpler lifestyle to get acquainted with when visiting Norway.

In her latest book, Destination Wellness: Global Secrets for Better Living Wherever You Are, Annie Daly goes into detail about a practice she came to call the “Norwegian sprawl.” She recounts a hike she took with friends as they set out to find the Northern Lights. But upon arriving at their destination, they had several hours to wait for the right time of day to see the lights.

Thinking they had planned other activities to do in the meantime, Daly was surprised when they simply sat around and did nothing. As she settled into this new form of rest and relaxation, she lay on her side, one hand under her head, staring into the fire: the Norwegian sprawl.

You may have heard of the Danish practice of hygge, indirectly translating to coziness, but the Norwegians have their own version of this concept known as kos. Norway’s kos goes further than physical comforts and focuses more on doing what is considered good for the soul. It’s about enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

The idea of kos developed long ago, when surviving Norwegian winters was harder than it is now. Kos served as a reminder to slow down and take time to enjoy life. It fostered a sense of finding gratitude within the strife.

It also goes beyond what Americans consider a perfect moment or quality time, as kos encourages recognition of the changing of seasons. This opens the door to practices like mindfulness and connection with those who surround you and your environment. The mindset continues to evolve in Norwegian culture, leading to a holistic lifestyle that supports the connection of mind, body and spirt.

In line with the concept of kos and Daly’s “Norwegian sprawl” is Norway’s love for the outdoors, friluftsliv. It’s a philosophy that encourages everyone to celebrate time spent outdoors, regardless of age and physical abilities. Whether it’s snowshoeing in the mountains or napping in a hammock as you smell the fresh air, any moment spent outside is meant to be cherished.

These philosophies of connection and mindfulness harken back to Norway’s cultural values of egalitarianism, part of Jante Law. For Norwegians, everyone and everything should be treated with respect and equality. It also means practicing humility and simplicity, which is why the people of Norway are not highly concerned or impressed with status and titles.

Lead the simple life on a luxe-adventure voyage to the Norwegian Fjords aboard World Navigator.

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