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My name is Eef. I was born and grew up in one of Europe’s most densely populated areas: the provincial, residential area around Brussels. In this suburban maze I always felt something was missing. Right then and there, I couldn’t figure out what it was: I had many good friends, I have a great family, I had a good life. Yet something about it was not right. After doubting about my future in Belgium for a long time, one day I was sure that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for in my home country. I needed change. I had to leave.

Initially I moved to Sweden for a 2 year study program, but when the time came to go back I did not. During those two years I found what I had been looking for, but never thought about in the crowds of home: the great outdoors. The new friends I made when I came to Stockholm were all outdoor people, and soon I filled my free time with hiking, climbing and paddling trips. I grew accustomed to living in proximity to a vast backcountry, and I could not miss that anymore.

Meanwhile, the urge to be outside grew stronger. I was about to finish my master’s in political science when I realised I was still not on the right track. During a six month internship at a research institute in Stockholm I thought I was going to lose it. Would this be the rest of my life? Stuck in an office every single day from 9 to 5? I panicked. I spent 7 years studying a field I had no future in. That summer I went hiking in Sarek National Park in northern Sweden to think about who I was, and what I could do next. That’s where I decided I would throw my life around and become a guide.

I left Stockholm the following autumn to start working as a musher. During that first season in Lapland I met PJ, who had also decided to change the prospect of office jobs for something entailing a little more time outside. Already living in Bodø in northern Norway it wasn’t such a long way for him to a job as an adventure guide in northern Sweden. That summer we moved to Flåm in the Norwegian fjords, enjoying as much time in the mountains as possible.

Ever since we have been inseparable, exploring and traveling together. During the past four years we have walked three long distance trails: the 1000km long Bibbulmun track in Western Australia, 3000km long Te Araroa spanning the length of New Zealand, and the Nepali part of the world’s toughest trail, the Great Himalaya Trail.

We don’t see how we fit in offices or 9 to 5 jobs. The remoteness of the backcountry is where we feel free, and the mountains is where we feel at home. Now we are creating a future around the outdoors: a life on a slower pace, a life of enjoying simple things, a lifetime spent outside. A life without regrets where nothing is impossible until we’ve tried.

 

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