Cycling 2,500 km vertically across Sweden to finally settle in the North- Norwegian city of Tromsø, Isak has a unique insight into adventurous living and what it means to live a life that is truly honest to yourself.
Around the age of thirteen Isak first realized he had an affinity for photography and his interest quickly grew and took shape. Living outside a little southern Swedish town called Ängelholm he explored the many options his mobile phone camera provided, striving for perfection with the means he had available.
He soon realized that this was growing into a passion and it was time to upgrade to a proper camera. Finally buying one together with a close friend he spent his free time depicting his surroundings along with his friends.
Nature and the wilderness had always attracted him and he started to feel a longing to “get away to a place that could maintain a proper winter season, because I feel drawn towards snow covered mountains for some reason. And I love the combination of snowboarding and getting away from urban society”.
“Many people think Sweden is a cold, snowy country but down in the south there’s actually very little of that. It’s mostly wet.”
With a couple of years left in high school his surroundings were pushing him to figure out what he wanted to do with his future. Slowly formulating an idea lead him to conclude that he wanted a simple life without the demand to make a lot of money to sustain himself, and to be in a snow-prone place close to nature was on the checklist. It was a vision of freedom that he felt our society wasn’t offering.
This dream was within reach, he just needed to go north... quite far north. He had a bicycle, a trailer, a tent and the rest. How hard could it be? Just keep pedaling and you’ll get there eventually. It would be the most unbound way to travel allowing for a great deal of spontaneity, and it also gave him a chance to slowly take in all of his surroundings as he went through them.
Having family and friends strewn over big parts of Sweden it was not too hard to find a bed and some company when the travel started to feel lonely. The rest of the nights he spent in his tent or with strangers he met up with along the road.
As he got further and further north the days got more and more beautiful but also lonelier whenever he didn’t have any company, it was a psychological challenge sometimes to go without a real goal other than going. But to turn around was never an option.
“I didn’t know where I wanted to end up. I went by the feeling, believing that at one point I would find a place where I would like to stay for a while, then I would take it from there. I would be free.”
3 months into the trip he reached the Norwegian town Tromsø where he was hoping to meet up with his cousin who was living and working there.
For anyone who has been in the most northern parts of Scandinavia you know that there is not much out there but a whole lot of mountains and vast nature. When Isak arrived in Tromsø he was exhausted after a long day on the bike, sweaty and really happy to have something to arrive to, to have a sense of belonging again.
He tried to call his cousin.. no answer. Not really knowing anything about the town except the name of the restaurant where his cousin was working he asked the first people he saw for directions: down to the right by the harbour. He found it right away, parked his bike outside and stepped in. There he was, his cousin, in the middle of service shouting orders in the kitchen. Isak, dirty and tired just stood there, in this nice restaurant filled with elegant guests and pointed at his cousin.
“I didn’t say anything. I just stood there, smiling. So so happy to have arrived, see that’s what I felt; at home. For the first time that whole summer as I was standing there I felt safe. Pointing at him. When he finally saw me it was like in a cartoon, when hes jaw drops down to the counter. He came right out, gave me a big hug and pointed to the tables and told me to sit down and have whatever I wanted, it was beautiful. Even more since 5 hours earlier I had been sitting on a rock by a gas station cooking some cheap pasta on my incredibly dirty Trangia stove. Quite the contrast."
Tromsø was never the intended goal of the trip but right away Isak had a feeling that it was special, he wanted to stay, at least for a while.
“Although a small city it’s still the largest one around so everything form a big area is kind of drawn here. There’s a big university attracting a lot of international people and culture is really blooming. The mountains are all around, the ocean close by and in the winter the whole place is covered in lots of beautiful snow. It’s a pretty magical place and I feel a sense of freedom here.”
Three years later and 2,500 km away from where he started Isak stepped off his bike and hasn’t gotten back on it yet. “There is no plan of staying but also no plan of leaving. Tromsø has been surpassing my expectations since day one and still is.” Isak says.
“I have my own business now, doing photography so I can decide pretty much when and how I want to work and I have access to the nature around me every day. The people and all my friends up here are really fantastic too. It’s a good place. It’s nice to be in the middle of life with no solid plans, it forces you to enjoy here and now and really just live.”
Isak Dalsfelt has joined forces with NYA-EVO and will be sharing his stories and images from what he himself calls “An honest living”.
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