Lola Akinmade Åkerström is a travel photographer and writer, the owner of Geotraveler Media, editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm, and a founder of Nordic Travel Bloggers. With an eye not only for visual aesthetics, but also the beauty of small things, the practices of everyday life and slow discovery, she believes appreciating the beauty of a place is all about discovering what touches you in that moment.
What is the most beautiful place on earth, according to you? And why would you describe that as beautiful?
The most beautiful place on earth is a difficult superlative because beauty comes in so many forms. From the internal beauty that shines when you’re genuinely and warmly welcomed by locals in places like Jordan and Nepal to the physical beauty of nature that stuns you in places like the Faroe Islands or beauty in the serene that invites calm and comfort like the Mediterranean. Beauty moves in so many ways.
In what way is Sweden similar or different to that?
For me, Sweden is more about beauty in the serene. In the quiet rolling hills, archipelago islands, lush greenery, and low hanging clouds similar to that iconic Microsoft blue sky-green grass background image on a PC. Its physical beauty is seen in the way it naturally invites calm and relaxation especially during the summer.
What pictures have you taken that really manage to catch the beauty of something Swedish?
The photo above is one of my favourite because it truly describes that feeling of calm and absolute relaxation that summer in Sweden brings. my husband and I were invited by a friend to go sailing around Stockholm’s archipelago islands. Finding a small islet, we docked for a quick picnic on board, the waters gently bobbing the small boat, quietly rocking. Where the world and its complexities were shut out temporarily in a moment of idyll. That’s the serene beauty I mean.
Many of our readers have been in Sweden for a while (with that I mean three years or more), and they start to feel a bit tired of the country. To them, it is somehow boring, unspectacular, mundane. What would you recommend them to do to rediscover Sweden and find the hidden beauty of the country.
A road trip is a quick fix. Even if you’ve been traveling by train around the country, chances are you haven’t taken road trips all over the country. And there are many offbeat places and interesting detours we miss when we dash by on a train. So the next time you’re heading to, say Gothenburg, and have enough time, plan a road trip instead of the train ride, and let Sweden open itself up to you again.
In what way do you believe the Swedes define beauty? And how is this different from your experiences of living and working elsewhere?
How we define beauty is really a personal thing, though different societies across the world also try to impress their opinions of what they believe to be “standards” of beauty. In Sweden, it really is a dichotomy because Swedes see beauty in simplicity and a “less is more” approach. They try to espouse a deeper view on beauty yet are just as superficial as everyone else.