Do you sometimes feel the urge to do something you have never done before? Like exploring new places, going on a trip on your own or building something you’ve always dreamt of building? That’s your Spark speaking. Keep that Spark alive and let it guide you. Because it’s going to make you shine. And when you shine, you inspire others to shine too. 

To inspire you, we’ll be sharing Spark Moments from people who follow their Spark.

Spark
Moments

Elle lighting a fire on a beach

Latitude 59° 13' 26.4"
Longitude 18° 32' 27.6"

In June 2021, we went along with Swedish outdoor expert Elle Nikishkova for an unforgettable day in the Stockholm archipelago. 

The silence. That’s the first thing we notice when we arrive at our destination. There’s no man-made noise, just a light breeze in the tree tops and the birds singing. The faint smell of seaweed reveals that the sea is close by, just behind that small hill. It’s early morning and still a bit chilly. But soon enough the sun will warm us from high above the cloud free sky. In a few weeks there will probably be more people here, looking for a refreshing dip in the Baltic Sea. But today, there’s just us. We’re about as far out into the Stockholm archipelago as one can get by car and it’s quite amazing that it’s less than an hour’s drive from Stockholm City.

Elle and the equipment she broughtElle picking berries in a pine forest
Elle paddling her kayak in the distance

Elle unloads the car, going through every item. Bowls. Check. Ladles. Check. Fire bowl. Check. Frying pan. Check. Lighter. Check. Just as when you’re preparing a meal in your kitchen, you need to have your equipment in order when you’re cooking outdoors. But we’re in good hands, Elle’s done this before. This is her passion in life and she’s using her creativity to get the most out of what nature has to offer. Which is a lot. Elle tells us there are at least 150 edible wild herbs and plants in Sweden, quite a few of them tasty too. Not to mention the many types of mushrooms. She usually dries a lot of what she picks and brings it on her winter excursions.

A parked kayak
Closeup of a red kayak with a red Cricket lighter on it
Mussels being cooked in a pan on a fireplace
A parked kayak
Closeup of a red kayak with a red Cricket lighter on it
Mussels being cooked in a pan on a fireplace

We found a nice place to sit on a rock slab next to the water. At first glance, the slab looks solid “grey”. But when we look closer, we see that it’s more of a mix of glimmering mica, shiny quartz, pink gneiss and grey granite with patches of black, green and grey lichen. Where the slab meets the water, it’s covered with light green, almost fluorescent, seaweed. Higher up on the hillside, there are small pools of water and dead seaweed, probably from a recent storm. 

We sit there for a long while, silently watching the sea, the gentle waves, the glittering surface of the water. Beyond the shore: island after island shimmer in the bright summer sun in colours ranging from moss green to light grey, and fade into the sky in the far distance. Sitting by the sea, sipping on a hot cup of newly brewed coffee is definitely one of those simple things in life one should appreciate more. 

We check the map to find a place where we can cook dinner over an open fire. A beach within walking distance looks perfect. Elle’s going to take the kayak there, the rest of us will walk through the forest. Elle puts the kayak in the water and heads out. Except for a sailing boat in the distance, her kayak is the only visible craft. Below the surface, there are perch and pike, and, this time of year, probably Baltic herring too. Fishing is of course part of the outdoor expert’s toolkit, but we’re not fishing today. Instead, we’ve brought everything we need for a delicious meal and Elle’s going to show us how to cook it over the open fire.

Elle drinking her coffee and looking into the distanceA Cricket lighter beside a blazing fireplace on a beach

Elle is paddling to the beach we decided on, and we find a narrow path through the forest to get there. The path is covered with a thick layer of pine needles, which feels soft and comfortable under our feet. On both sides there are pines and juniper wood, some of which hasn’t survived the harsh weather here and turned into twisted figures of silver shimmering dead wood.

When we get to the beach, a crackling fire is welcoming us. Being able to make a fire is probably the most important outdoor skill one needs to master, Elle tells us. The open fire is deeply rooted in us human beings. It’s been with us for several hundred thousand years and has accompanied us all the way into modernity. Apart from helping us to cook our food, an open fire keeps us warm and it’s of course wonderfully cozy to gather around for socializing.

“Being able to make a fire is probably the most important outdoor skill“

The day has passed too quickly and dusk is approaching. We’re now enjoying a delicious meal and we’re indeed very hungry after a lovely day by the sea. We can’t help but think there’s something very special about outdoor cooking, as there is about eating outside too. And sitting close by, watching the warm, vibrant flames cast shadows on the surroundings – it’s mesmerizing and a perfect way to wind down. Could one ask for more?

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