Life Under a Tarp
During the summer of 2016, I lived under a green tarp in the woods of Saltoluokta, northern Sweden. Many people that I met throughout the summer wondered why I would willingly choose to live under a sheet of plastic. So I decided that my tarp-life deserves to be explained a little more in depth…
Lying under my green tarp in the woods...
I have shelter from the rain and the wind. I have a soft, comfortable mattress of fresh green moss. Looking up, I can see the beautiful patterns of the forest trees shining through the green material of my shelter. I can hear the sounds of the woods around me, the wind whispering in the trees, the birds singing and the sound of the icy cold stream close by.
This is my home for the summer.
I am living under a tarp, which is basically a thin sheet of green plastic, and I can honestly say I have been looking forward to this the entire winter. The simple life in the woods is the best life I know. Here I have everything I need.
Sleeping close to the earth every night changes you inside and out. It grounds you and fills you with vitality. The best medicine I know is coming back to nature and sleeping on the earth.
Tarps are lightweight and easy to bring with you on a hike. They are perfect for camping in the woods. In a tent, I feel more closed off from the natural world around me. A simple tarp makes me feel more a part of the environment. I also love sleeping out in the open on a clear night, or under a tree for shelter.
One woman asked me up front, “so then, how do you manage – you know, being poor and all?”
I didn’t really know how to answer that question. Poor? This was news to me.
I have shelter, warm clothes, fresh water from a crystal-clear mountain stream and good food to eat everyday. I have friends living close by. I am healthy, full of life and joy. I have my drum and my singing voice for making music. I have my notebook and pen for collecting all the stories I’ve found here throughout the summer.
I’m living next door to Laila Spik, a Saami medicine woman, who is the reason for me being here. I came here to stay with Laila for the summer and learn about the Saami culture, language and nature medicine.
I learn so many things here every day, and I sleep like a log every night.
But people look at me living under my tarp, barefoot and with holes in my trousers, and they judge me to be poor and strange. Many are afraid of the woods and think I am mad for sleeping there.
Well, that is fine. People may think what they like to think.
Not everyone thinks I am mad though. Some understand and that makes me glad. Some are inspired to go on their own adventures.
But for those of you who don’t understand why a woman would like to sleep in the woods on her own, then please understand that a woman is free to sleep in the woods if she pleases. Respect others even if you do not understand the way they live. And please, don’t feel sorry for me or think something about me that might not be true.
Get to know me instead, and who knows? Maybe you might learn something new.