STN Global – Särna, Sweden
Longtime staff member Teka Gabaldon experienced the launch of our base in Sweden firsthand this past winter in the small mountain town of Särna. Read below to get excited for what’s ahead for our Sweden base and how you can get involved!
Growing up in Southern California, I’ve never experienced a proper winter before. I, unlike my peers growing up more North, did not have memories of making snowmen or bundling up like the kid in A Christmas Story. Not being a huge fan of the cold, I wasn’t particularly sad about missing out. However, when I was invited to join the pioneering of our first out of country base in Sweden during the arctic winter, I knew I had to go.
During my time at Surfing The Nations (STN) I’ve met countless Swedes and made friends with so many. So, finally traveling to Europe and meeting up with so many friends seemed like a no-brainer. I made it to Stockholm, spent the night and then caught the early bus for a 7-hour drive North to the quaint town of Särna. Having lived in a busy city over the last 4 years, the silence hit me like a ton of bricks as I stepped out of the bus into a literally empty town. It was sunny and freezing cold and there wasn’t a single outside.
I was picked up in a snowmobile and whisked away to a cozy yellow house. I soon found that Särna offered much more than I had seen at first glance. Located in a region called Dalarna, Särna holds tightly to much of Swedish history and traditions that make it so culturally lively.
You might be asking yourself, why would STN plant a base in Sweden, let alone a town which experiences brutal winters? Some of the first pioneers of Surfing The Nations were Swedes! And Särna happens to be the gateway to the immense and beautiful mountains of northern Sweden, much like Wahiawa (our Hawaii base) is the gateway to the North Shore. It may not have waves, but it does offer prime skiing and snowboarding opportunities just five minutes from the base.
I’ve always been fascinated by people doing life closely together and although Swedes are known for keeping more to themselves, I found it nearly impossible to not get to know my neighbors and those I met. This became especially true because of the tradition of Fika. Fika is a Swedish break time, taking place sometimes multiple times a day to enjoy tea, coffee and small treats. For me, Fika was more than just a time of eating, it was a time to share food and bond with those around me. In all of the countries I’ve been to, breaking bread together has been a special time and has not only made me feel close to those I’m with, but it has also helped me to appreciate and take part in their culture. What’s better than being brought together by food? In my opinion, nothing compares.
As 2019 approaches, our Särna base will be preparing for the launch of the 3-month Internship program. We invite you to come do an internship with us in Sweden, experience a radical culture of rich heritage, snow sports close at hand, and experience personal growth in another country surrounded by a solid community. What are you waiting for? Click here to sign up now!