We got to Know Zandra through Instagram, and loved her approach to life and family adventures. Zandra is Swedish, living with her family in Australia. We reached out to ask her how this background influences the family's outdoor lifestyle.
You describe yourself as a “Swaussie” Mama (Swedish living in Australia). Could you tell us a bit about your family and your lifestyle?
We’re a mixed nationality family, with myself being Swedish and my husband Timothy, Australian. We have 3 “Swaussie kids”, Rohan and Archie, (twins 2.5yo) and little sister Sienna (1.5yo).
I’m a stay-at-home Mama for the time being and Timothy works in construction. We love the outdoors and spend most days outside on different adventures on the beach, at national parks or in our own backyard.
What have you learned from the Swedish way of life that you’ve been able to apply to life in Australia?
Being Scandinavian and living half the year in “darkness” I’m a natural “sun seeker”. My husband couldn’t at first understand my urge to always be outdoors as soon as I saw the sun. He thought I was crazy until he had been to Sweden and experienced it himself. A good thing here is the fact that Australia has a lot more sunlight to enjoy! Yay!
In Sweden we have a saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather....”, and we really do spend time outdoors no matter the weather. There’s always blankets available for outdoor dining when there’s a chill in the air, or a warm fire to gather around during cold and snowy winter days. As a Swaussie family we take this on, and enjoy a fire more or less every afternoon during winter. We also go on endless picnic adventures, even on the coldest days.
Having had nature easily available as my playground all my life (as much as 2/3 of the Sweden’s area is covered by forest) it’s definitely an addiction to be outdoors. We try to explore as much as we can during the day. We play in puddles on rainy days, splash at the beach on a warm summer day, jump in sand dunes or go bushwalking.
For a Swede it’s important to have a good balance in life. Getting together over a “Fika” (gathering for something to eat and to socialise) with family and friends in nature is one common way to relax. Be it by the ocean or hidden away in deep forest, there’s always a “smorgasbords” to enjoy. For us as a Swaussie family we make sure we spend our days exploring the outdoors and of course there’s always cozy blankets and a big picnic bag ready to go too.
An outdoor adventure can be simple but magical if you put your soul into it. Looking for birds with homemade binoculars, chasing butterflies, building a cubby house from fallen branches and sticks, making “farm animals” from pine cones and leaves (like me and my family always did while growing up), and playing in the sand on a beach are a few things that doesn’t take much, but gives lots of happiness, creativity and energy. Listening to the kids telling us about how much fun they had during the day is priceless to us.
Why is outdoor adventure important to you?
What impact do you notice it has on your kids and yourself?
Being in nature works wonders on both mind and soul for sure. It’s where I feel most alive and aligned with myself. I grew up on the countryside on a small island surrounded by thick forests and open ocean and spent my days outdoors whatever the weather was doing. I believe that this bond to nature is something deeply rooted in me. I always feel happy, relaxed and creative when I’m outdoors and I see that in my children too.
My kids usually ask me in the morning “What we doing now? Going on adventure?” And I love this so much! Outside is our happy place! none of us do too well being inside between four walls for too long. Exploring new surroundings, creating things from and in nature, imaginative play and moving our body is something that makes us happy.
How have you managed to keep getting out and connecting with nature during these recent times?
We’ve been pretty lucky living in a small coastal town in NSW with nature just around the corner. Me and my little tribe have spent endless days in different national parks, beaches, and on our little backyard. It’s been a tough time away from family and friends, but being creative is fun, and nature does wonders for one’s mental health too.
We have also been active at home, bringing nature inside when we’ve been forced to stay at home. A few things we’ve been occupying ourselves with at home during this time is painting rocks, leaves and sticks, made our own little “beach” on oven trays for little cars. We've also played countless games of hide and seek with objects brought in from our outdoor adventures. Oh, and lots of water play in the backyard too, lol.
What have you learned through these recent times with everything that’s gone on with COVID?
Firstly, take nothing for granted. Spend time with loved ones whenever you can. Be kind and love generously.
Secondly, fresh air and quiet places in the nature does wonders when you’re anxious, tired or bored. A bit of running around on the grass can change the whole day.
Also, creativity is the key to many things in life and especially in times of change. You can choose to have a good day, even though the world is in lockdown. You just have to be your own kind of sunshine. The kids are happy without a playground, anything can be an adventure for them.
Do you have a favourite quote?
I have a few quotes I always come back too but one that inspire me a lot at the moment is this one;
“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realise they were the big things”.
It’s easy to just let the days roll, but I think it’s important to stop in the moment and actually enjoy the small things you’re doing. I’m reminding myself all the time to be present with my kids in our daily life cause one day they’ll grow up and I will miss our small day to day adventures.
What's your favourite piece of Wild Island clothing you’ve got and why?
Oh, hands down my pullovers! I literally live in them! So warm and snuggly like a hug. Also for me the patterns and the style of them reminds me of “home” (Scandinavia) with pine forest and the ocean.
And the kids loooove their overlander overalls so much! When we first got them and I had them try it on - it was love at first sight! They looked at each other with the biggest smiles on their faces and then became very upset with me when I had to take them off. The overalls are the cutest little outfit ever!!
Where can we see and hear more from you?
I post about our daily life and adventures on Instagram: