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Disconnect from the chaos of the day-to-day and allow yourself to lean into a wilder and simpler way of being, while embracing the wisdom of indigenous culture and learning to see and capture beauty everywhere.
SWEDISH LAPLAND IN summer...
Imagine a crackling campfire under an open sky. It's late in the evening and the sun is still showering the untamed surroundings in a soft golden glow while you sit there, engulfed in inspiring conversations with a group of like-minded women.
You have just finished a delicious dinner after a day hike through dreamy mountains and old-growth forests and the sauna is about to get warm.
Perhaps you will be lured out into the river for a cold plunge in the light of the midnight sun, before crawling under the blanket in your warm, comfortable bed to the sound of nothing but the wind and the birds.
When you're lying there about to drift off to sleep, it hits you that you didn't check social media once that day.
Not because your phone died due to the few charging options out there, but because you were so content being present with all your senses, there and then.
Where photography meets indigenous culture
This long-weekend is intended for anyone identifying as a woman, with a love for nature and photography, and a curiosity about a simpler way of being, living the indigenous way.
Your host Lennart is of Sámi heritage himself - the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia and Russia.
During these days he will share his own in-depth knowledge about this way of life, in close relationship with nature.
Award-winning photographer Sara will be by your side all weekend to teach you how to take more compelling photos and answer any photography-related questions you may have, no matter what level you're at.
RETURN HOME A LITTLE WILDER AND WITH...
- A sharper eye, able to search out beauty everywhere.
- A deeper sense of awe and wonder for our natural world, and a desire to keep shooting and improving your photography skills.
- The inspiration and confidence to spend more time in nature on your own.
- A calmer and more balanced body and mind.
- Several new, like-minded friends, perhaps for life.
- A first hand experience from a slower and simpler way of life, in harmony with the land.
- A deeper understanding of indigenous culture and wisdom.
- Energy to live life with a greater sense of passion, and the ability to give more of yourself to the ones you love.
About the location
Our home during these days is located right in mighty Laponia; a giant unpoiled land area above the arctic circle in Sweden. To some this part of the world is known as Swedish Lapland, but to the indigenous people that have been looking after these lands for countless generations it's known as Sápmi.
Here mountains, old-growth forests, glaciers and enormous wetlands spread over thousands of square kilometres. Nestled in the middle of it all you'll find Sápmi Nature - an amazing off grid eco camp, founded by Lennart Pittja. He will be our private Sami host welcoming us into his world for the duration of the retreat.
We will be staying and sleeping like queens on comfortable (real) beds in traditional and beautifully decorated lavvu tents, miles and miles away from nearest human settlement.
This off-grid camp has been listed by National Geographic as one of the world’s most spectacular and sustainable places to stay if you care about the planet ♥
Immersed in nature
Here you will not only be told what life is like, rather you will get to experience it hands on.
The camp does not have any electricity, or running water/sewer, but Lennart has made an amazing job to secure comfort anyway.
To make sure you will be able to capture all the magic with your camera, we will use a generator to charge batteries for a couple of hours each evening.
When it comes to showers, the sauna will be heated by the end of the day so that you can refresh like the locals do. An experience making you feel clean and renewed a way that's also kind to Mother Earth.
More info about our accommodation and host here.
Nourish your body with the exotic flavours of the indigenous north, as traditionally prepered by the Sámi for generations, often directly over the fire.
Due to the extreme northen latitudes, the Sámi people traditionally eat a lot of meat and fish, along with plants and berries collected during the short summer season.
Taste delicacies such as Arctic Char, Souvas and Gáhkku - fish caught in the same waters that flow by the camp, and meat sustainably hunted from the animals that roam the local forests.
For allergies or special food preferences, place let us know when requesting to join.
THIS IS FOR YOU IF YOU IDENTIFY AS A WOMAN AND...
- Are longing to escape the mundane
- Love nature and the outdoors
- Want to learn photography from a pro
- Crave a digital detox
- Know that being the best version of yourself start with looking after yourself
- Want to dive deep into the indigenous culture of northern Scandinavia
- Want to experience serenity and wild beauty beyond meassure
- Long for connection with like-minded women from all walks of life
- Desire to feel more like the wild creature you truly are at your core
- Deeply care about the planet and want to support eco tourism while also exploring a simpler way of life
This is NOT for you if you...
- Desire to be on your phone 24/7
- Need constant on-demand electricity and online connection
- Require to be able to take long, warm showers at any time of the day
- Lack a sense of adventure or an open mind
- Don't care about indigenous culture
- Are freaked out by the idea of being fully immersed in nature for a few days
A glimpse at the itinerary
Nature is impredicatble, and we will be dancing along to the beat of her drum. But to give you a rough idea of what these three days together could look like, imagine this...
Gathing at the train station in central Gällivare around midday. We'll kiss civilization goodbye for a few days and head west togetherm, towards our remote base camp.
Once you're all fed and settled in your cozy home for the weekend, we'll pack our cameras and daypacks and head out for shorter hike in the beautiful surroundings.
A delicious traditional dinner will be waiting when we get back, prepared by our host Lennart. We'll make the most of the soft evening light, and afterwards you might want to enjoy the sauna, and maybe even a plunge in the cold and mighty Lule River.
After breakfast we will jump into the van before venturing deeper into the mountains by foot - in the habitat of moose, reindeer and lynx and other wild creatures that call this stunning place home. Lunch savoured under an open sky.
The drive itself is breath-taking; the longest dead-end road in Sweden that takes you through a spectacular and yet quite unknown natural area.
The evening will once again offer a lovely dinner, campfire moments and maybe a sauna.
For those of you who'd be up for an early start, we'll grab a thermos of coffee and head out to capture some early morning magic, either by foot or kayak. Chances to spot wildlife at this hour are extra high.
Once we return home breakfast will be waiting for us and after that, the rest of the morning is free for you to enjoy in whatever way you'd like around the camp.
Go for a forest stroll, headout on another paddle on the river, work on your cold plunging technique (the water is still freezing in June), or snap some last amazing shots to add to your Laponia collection, while bombing Sara with questions.
After one final meal together we will drive you back to Gällivare where we'll part ways in the afternoon.
Meet your Guides
HI, I'M SARA, YOUR RETREAT LEADER AND PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE.
When I was 23 I took off to South Africa with the intention to study international relations, but returned home with a nagging dream to do travel photography for a living. Long story short, that dream came true.
Since then, I've had the priviledge to roam all over the globe to chase light and beauty with my camera through my work, but it has struck me that few places compare to my home in Swedish Lapland.
It took a global pandemic for me to slow down enough to fully see and then rapidly fall in love with the untamed beauty and serenity still available in this remote corner of Europe, and today I'm wildly passionate about sharing it with others. Not only for it's visual splendour, but for the impact wildness has on our wellbeing.
I am all too familiar with the conscious commitment it often takes to prioritize your own well-being and find the balance in life. That struggle of turning off the mental noise constantly demanding us to be more, perform better and get more shit done. Nature is the place where I go to recharge, find my inspiration and reconnect with the whispers of my heart.
My intention with gathering a small crew of women here in June is to share some of the many treasures I've found, to teach you how to use nature and photography as a kind of mindfulness tool, and to give you a glimpse of a different way of life, a little wilder and simpler.
Lennart's philosphy is perhaps best explained in this beautiful video, created by Swedish Lapland Visitor Board;
⦁ Full board: Traditional (delicious) home-cooked meals, starting with brunch day 1 and ending with lunch before departure day 3
⦁ Two nights glamping accommodation in a luxury lavvu tent, shared by two. One private tent available at an extra cost.
⦁ Your private professional photography guide.
⦁ Your private Sámi host, chef and encyclopedia for wildlife and local indigenous living.
⦁ Day hikes and excursions to Stora Sjöfallet National Park etc.
⦁ A wood-heated sauna by the river.
⦁ Free access to kayaks.
⦁ Evenings around the fire in the midnight sun.
⦁ Transport from/to Gällivare train station.
What's NOT included?
⦁ Flights or train travel to Gällivare
SEK 12,900.- (shared twin room)
One private tent available at an extra cost.
Group size: minimum of 4, maximum of 7 participants.
** EARLY BIRD OFFER**
SEK 2,000.- OFF !!
Until 30 days before start date - 50% of the fee will be refunded in the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your booking. After this point no refunds will be given due to the difficulty to fill your spot on such short notice (unless you find your own replacement).
Make sure you have an insurance covering you in case you would get sick or otherwise unable to attent.
If we are forced to cancel the workshop for any reason (like too few participants signed up), your entire participation fee will be refunded to you.
Arrival point: Gällivare train station. Make sure to be on this location no later than 1.30 pm on the arrival day.
The night train from Stockholm is a great, sustainable way to get here!
Although we encourage starting your adventure by travelling here by rail, an option is to catch a flight to Gällivare (a couple of departures per day). More info here: nordica.ee
Another option is to fly to Kiruna or Luleå. There are several trains and buses heading to Gällivare from both airports every day.
Don't hesitate to reach out for any questions! We are happy to give you guidance.
I don't have fancy camera, can I still join?
Yes, absolutely! I’ve had people on retreats with nothing but their iPhone camera! Although it’s one of the cornerstones, my retreats are about so much more than just photography. They provide you with time in nature, stillness, sisterhood, and an opportunity to truly slow down. All you need to join is a curiosity to learn and maybe a little extra patience for when other people stop to take photos and might require more time with their camera equipment.
Do I need any prior outdoor experience to attend?
No prior experience is required. Most retreats are designed to accommodate all skill levels, from beginners to experienced outdoor enthusiasts. However, a basic level of physical fitness is recommended.
What should I bring?
You’ll get a full list of recommended things to bring when you book your spot. In general, you should pack comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor activities in accordance to the season you're traveling, layers, sturdy footwear, a water bottle, your photography equipment - and of course, a sense of adventure!
Are there any age restrictions?
Most women that have attended my retreats in the past have been between 25 and 55, but the space is open to any age, as long as you are at least 18 years of age.
Can I attend a retreat if I have dietary restrictions?
Yes! We are able to accommodate most special dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, lactose and gluten-free, or allergies. Be sure to let us know your dietary restrictions when you book your spot.
I would be traveling solo for the first time - and I’m a bit scared!
Traveling within Europe is generally safe and fairly easy due to the excellent train and airport network. Of course, you might feel a little out of your comfort zone in the beginning but we will provide you with all the information you need to make it safely to your destination. Traveling to Arctic Sweden? Get excited! Despite what most people think, real people live here and we have roads and infrastructure to get around!
What about all the wild animals, will they eat me?
Most likely not ;-) You will hopefully see wild animals of all sorts, from very small to large, but the chance of something happening to you is statistically extremely low.
I love the sound of this but I don't identify as a woman. Do you offer retreats for mixed groups?
From my experience, women tend to have a harder time relaxing and taking up space in mixed groups. That’s why I’m focused on creating women-only spaces at the moment. I’m open to mixed groups but don’t have the marketing bandwidth to launch another offering at the moment. If you’d like to explore options for a private workshop or retreat, I’d love to hear from you!