Being asked to take a cabin holiday in the Swedish wilderness in order to judge how it affects your mood has to rank up there with ‘being paid to eat cake’ in terms of things we’d very much like but doubt would ever happen.
However some lucky folk are doing just that (the cabin thing, not the cake thing) thanks to Sweden’s tourist board, which is undertaking a study to “investigate the health effects of life within Swedish nature” and to explore the benefits of switching off from modern life.
The cabins, located on Henriksholm Island, are made almost entirely of glass (presumably there are no neighbours in the middle of nowhere) so that stressed-out participants can wind down as close to nature as possible.
The minibreak will last 72 hours so the cabin residents can “take pleasure in common Swedish outdoor, off-the-grid activities, such as swimming, fishing and cooking.”
Additionally, the website states: “Their wellbeing will be monitored in a case study developed in collaboration with the leading researchers Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, based on parameters such as stress levels, problem solving and creativity.”
Visit Sweden says 95% of the country is uninhabited, hence the Swedish people’s close and grounding relationship with the great outdoors. In fact, the right to enjoy all this natural beauty is written in law; Allemansrätten grants the ‘freedom to roam’, with the right to access, walk, cycle or camp on any land other than private gardens and land under cultivation, as long as the general principles of “do not disturb, do not destroy” are adhered to.
Alas, we must inform you that this particular dream minibreak is not on offer to the likes of us just yet – the organisers have first identified five people with “some of the world’s most stressful jobs” and they’ll be the ones getting to monitor just how relaxing a free holiday in one of the world’s happiest countries is.
There’s a police officer from Germany, a taxi driver from France, an events coordinator from the US and two Brits: a travel journalist and TV presenter Ben Fogle. Because Ben bloody Fogle doesn’t get to do enough cool stuff as it is, we guess.
However, the cabins will be available for the public to book following the study.
Visit Sweden says it hopes the experiment – which is taking place this week (7-10 September) and the results of which will be presented in October – will show the world what Sweden has to offer, and explore the benefits of a close relationship with nature.
Jennie Skogsborn Missuna, chief experience officer at Visit Sweden (a job we would very much enjoy), tells us: “For many Swedes, nature is a source of recovery, and works as a springboard for self-development, quality of life and happiness.
“With ‘The 72-Hour Cabin’, we want to give people around the world an opportunity to gain insight into the relationship that Swedes have with their nature and inspire more visitors to explore Sweden’s vast, accessible nature.”
Meanwhile, one of the Karolinska Institute researchers, Walter Osika, says: “Sweden’s nature offers a physical and mental space where you can be at one with yourself and others. I find that many of my patients have benefited greatly from spending time in nature and I support this initiative.”
To read more about what Ben Fogle will be enjoying, visit visitsweden.com.
Images: Visit Sweden / Maja Flink