TRAVELING AND SAUNAING - WITH AND SANS BEBE
photo by Hanna Skoog
BY MALIN ELMLID
1. TRAVELING SOLO
For me, traveling on my own has always been necessary. I always come back with new energy. Before I had my son (Lode), I would go away to write for a week in the forest, hike in the mountains, explore a new city, dive into new wine regions. My need for ME did not end with motherhood. So me and my husband have a deal that one week each a year, we have to ourselves. He goes snowboarding, I go alone wherever the wind blows.
2. TRAVELING WITH MY SON
I did not expect this, but going alone with my son has until now been very similar to going alone. My son is now 1,5 years. It is actually sometimes easier to travel just the two of us than going the whole family. I don't have to compromise much. I strap him on me and off we go. He follows my routine. As long as we stay spontaneous, we can do almost everything I used to do alone - Thai massages, pedicures, hiking, wandering through streets and stopping for food where it seems inviting.
Our first trip was to Georgia (not the US state, but the country that borders Russia), when Lode was four months old. To know we could do this on our own, and that we both had fun, was so liberating for me.
This actually started when I became a mother and we moved (from Berlin) to Helsinki. Even though I am born in Sweden I must admit that I did not really understand the meaning of doing Sauna until we moved to Finland. In Finland, Sauna is not a spa experience but rather an ordinary way to clean yourself. This is ideal, especially at the summer cottage, which often doesn't have warm water (or even running water). Finnish people cherish simplicity. Water is heated up on the hot stones and you wash your hair and body in a similar way as at a Turkish Hammam.
One night a week is my "Swimming and Sauna" night on my own. Also, since Lode was around four months old, we've been going together once a week, usually just the two of us. Everyone, even pregnant women and babies as young as three months are advised to do Sauna in Finland. On thursdays, after daycare, we go together before dinner. I love it. My son loves it. I make sure to keep him hydrated, earlier through breastfeeding and now with bottle of water. We both wind down in the heat and it feels like weekend started one day earlier.
Malin is a native of Sweden but has spent most of her life traveling and is currently based between Berlin and Helsinki where she lives with her husband and son Lode. Malin is an author, speaker, bread-baker, globe trotter and the founder of The Bread Exchange - a personal project that is dedicated to the notion of bartering and offering her naturally leavened (sour dough) breads in exchange for recipes, handmade goods, and above all, special experiences that come from giving generously of yourself.