Everything is so close here, so simple

At the end of her teenage years, Erika Strömberg left Arjeplog, convinced that she would not be moving back here. But after several years of traveling and working around the world, she did come back. First to Sweden, and then to Arjeplog. Here she now lives in her childhood home, with her husband and children.

“Everything is so close here, so simple, she says.”

The family is made up of Erika, her husband Thomas Wilds and children Evelina and Alexander. In the yard, in front of their house, there is an ice rink. It’s made of a tarp laid out on the lawn, which they’ve then poured water on. A play area for both young and old, easy to make and highly appreciated.

“We love winter and winter sports. When the first snow fell last autumn, as others sighed, we collected all the snow in the whole yard and built a snow castle. And Thomas loves skiing, after the first winter here he competed in the Vasaloppet ski race”, says Erika with a laugh.

In summer, the family likes to go swimming, both in lakes and in their pool in the yard. Cooking outdoors, preferably on an outdoor stove, is a favourite activity, as is cycling and berry picking.

Erika’s husband Thomas is from England. They met in China, and eventually decided to settle down in Sweden. The choice then fell on Norrköping, for work-related reasons. But they wished to go north, and looked at Luleå.

At the same time, Arjeplog was in the picture, because Erika had taken over her childhood home here. And finally, the family decided to try Arjeplog.

“Even though as a teenager I thought it was boring to live in Arjeplog, and wanted to go out and see the world, it was always fun to come back home.” And it is a perfect place to live for a family interested in the great outdoors, and outdoor activities. Everything is so close. Instead of booking a cabin and travelling five-hundred kilometres to ski for a few days, we can get changed at home and be out on the slopes within half an hour, at any time during the season. And after work we can get to the beach in ten minutes, says Erika.

Trading a life of travel and work around the world for one in Arjeplog was of course a big change for both Erika and Thomas. Thomas left his role as a travelling agent for Siemens, and now works in elderly care, while studying Swedish.

Erika works from home for Vattenfall distribution. It can of course be a bit lonely sometimes, but she copes by having digital coffee breaks with colleagues in other locations, and the downsides are outweighed by a richer life outside of work.

“It is, of course, an adjustment. But right now the benefits of Arjeplog win out. It’s safe here, it’s easy to go shopping, it only takes a few minutes to reach the preschool, or the hockey rink, or the ski trail. And when you meet your colleagues for a digital coffee break, it becomes obvious that Sweden is a very long country. Some are talking about lobster fishing or green lawns, while we have full winter here”, she says with a warm smile.

Text & picture: Maria Söderberg