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What Shall I Do Now

Sweden-boredom-dusk-BTI have come to this place to be bored. It is a little corner in the southwest of Sweden where boats gently rock against the shingled shore. It is a landscape of barren beauty, where the summer sun lingers reluctant to bid farewell. 

Sweden-boredom-harbor-BTThere aren’t any monuments to dissect, no grand natural features to explore. I’m not on the hunt for any interesting stories. My days will be simple rounds of perambulating the wharf, stopping into the grocery, and watching from my window as a motley of meteorological cloaks garb the maritime topography. I’m looking to be mired in a repetitive cycle of quotidian tasks. I’m anticipating the moment when the excitement of observing the island’s single ferry docking will wear off. 

Sweden-boredom-houses-BTThe locals, descendants of Viking fisherfolk, guard their privacy here. Aside from pleasant nods during my morning walks, they leave me to myself. There are a few books in the house to occupy me, there is a television. However, I don’t plan on using either. Even my journal lies unopened. 

Sweden-boredom-roofs-BTI’m doing nothing on purpose. I’m endeavoring to overcome my inner voice berating me for being unproductive. I’m applying myself to monotony, giving my faculties a chance to lay fallow. Like the seagulls whirring round the pier, I’m attempting satisfaction with existence. This is a time-out — a concept of punishment I never understood because it seemed to me a reward, a chance to be alone with my thoughts, to steep in my mental disarray. 

Sweden-boredom-sailing-BTIn the precious hollow of this boredom I’m hoping new dreams will hatch. Perhaps the tide’s tedious swishing will unfurl hidden communities. Perhaps the repetitive clanging of rope against mast can enliven lost senses. On the other hand, no fruit may bear from my dormancy. I will make peace with that too. 

Sweden-boredom-rain-BTMy period of inactivity, of sitting in pause mode, isn’t a process. It is a short-term goal. A different way to be for me. I’m carving out a linear portion in time’s infinite loop, devoting that slice to cognitive wandering, an uncomfortable session with the space inside my brain. This will be another form of traveling, a journey into my interior landscapes.

Sweden-boredom-window-BTUnfamiliar places can be wonderful. Novel experiences can be invigorating. But, I also long for those childhood summer months when my family and friends simply let me vegetate. There were no reading lists to accomplish, no supplementary lessons, no extracurricular pursuits, no planned escapades. I would hide out, unseen from adults and playmates, to daydream. From these reveries would spew forth rocket designs, fantasy tales, fortress blueprints, mystery plots. 

Sweden-boredom-yachts-BTI’m embracing that release which boredom grants me. I’m appreciating the disengagement, the not wanting. Who knows if I’ll devise grand schemes to fashion an empire or people the pages of my next book? The serpentine circuitry to that destination will be marvelous. 

sweden-boredom-sunset-BT


TRAVEL NOTE:

Daydreaming is enjoyable in a cozy Swedish interior. Swedish style today is synonymous with the national brand IKEA, but originated from the creative designs of Karin Bergöö. Educated as a painter, Bergöö transformed her home — Lilla Hyttnäs — into a functional, airy habitation. An innovative artist, Karin eschewed the typical dark, stuffy Victorian decor of the period by introducing the use of unfinished birch furniture, handmade fabrics, and white-and-blue as predominant color palettes.

 


Is boredom useful to you? What bores you and why? If you wish, tell me in the comments below.

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154 replies »

  1. Insightful post! I think it is a blessing to be able to do what you are doing. Reminds me of ” mastery inactivity and watchful expectancy.” I think most of us want to live in the present reflecting on the past and dreaming of the future. Cognitive wanderings….. what a wonderful expression!

    • Thank you for that delightful insight. I really like the idea of “watchful expectancy.” Ideally we should all be in the moment, but it’s such a balancing act. Wishing you a wonderful week.

  2. What beautiful words and images. My desire to explore Scandinavia has been reignited! However, I too am in need of a pause first. We can be so busy “doing” that we forget the value of doing nothing for a while. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    H

    • I’m so delighted to hear you’re excited again to explore Scandinavia through my post! I’ve fallen in love with Sweden’s landscape. I do so agree that as adults “we forget the value of doing nothing for a while.” Somehow, “productivity” took on huge significance in my life, rather than simply being — on my own or with loved ones. Wishing you a wonderful and rewarding period of “doing nothing”!

  3. This sounds a little like my children’s summer, nothing on the agenda…I’m loving it! Sometimes a little nothing is needed in life, enjoy and may you find the opportunity to schedule more nothingness down the road when required.

    • Ah, your kids are having the perfect summer. I remember back fondly now on how my parents letting me have some time when nothing was scheduled really fed my sense of freedom, my imagination, and my love of exploration. It’s been a much needed component for my adult life and I’m looking forward to scheduling more of it. Thank you for your sweet encouragement!

  4. What a wonderful place to lollygag as I enjoy a morning sans boat work. The lighting in your images is magnificent. And of course I adore the sailboat photos. Hugs from Madagascar 🇲🇬

    • So happy you’re taking a bit of time off to gather yourself for the next adventure. While doing nothing along the coast of Sweden I was thinking of how much you would marvel at the beauty of this landscape and enjoy sailing along these lovely waterways. Sending all the best wishes to you in Madagascar. 🤗

  5. It sounds like you try to practice something that is called Wu Wei. The Dao De Jing teaches: ‘The Way never acts yet nothing is left undone.’ This is the paradox of Wu Wei philosophy. It doesn’t mean not acting; it means ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action.’ It means letting go of ideals you may otherwise try to force too violently on things. It invites you instead to respond to the true demands of situations, which tend to only be noticed when you put your own ego-driven plans aside. It invites you to let others act frantically, and then lightly adjust yourself as you see the direction matters have evolved in.

    • Wow! I love how poetic this makes my doing nothing sound! Thank you so much for this inspiration. I now really want to give thought to what ‘action-less action’ would mean to my life, especially in terms of responding “to the true demands of situations.”

      • Glad you’ve like my comment. I would like to apologize for having been absent for a while, but I was in the middle of a promotion campaign for my first novel and then had to fly from Barcelona to Berlin and Brussels to arrange some private matters. The campaign kicks off tomorrow, but now that everything has been set up, I can also practice a little Wu Wei. Once you gave a plant soil, water and a good place into the sun, you can lean back and watch to see if it grows.

      • Thank you. Launching a first book requires lots of restrain for not constantly tinkering at the campaign. It’s also a huge distraction from what I should be doing; writing on the draft of my third part. I hope you find what you’re looking for on this island in Sweden. Usually people are getting unhappy with their familiar self when there are certain areas of experience or Self-knowledge that are beyond their reach. One way to discover these fields is to extract from the present environment. Every form of new organization or integration inside the psyche is preceded by a certain degree of deregulation. The less someone is feeling adopted by a family or other social connections, the more he feels the urge to distinct himself as an individual. Originality asks for the courage to break with accepted norms.

  6. Well… what can I say. I totally envy you in this post. I think it is incredible, awesome, special and necessary to allow yourself to just be once in a while, and to let the world take over. Let it go by without interfering. Let those thoughts quieten or refocus. To go on “a journey into my interior landscapes” – what a wonderful expression.

    I never, ever, ever get bored. And, I’m “worried” I never will be bored either. So many things to do, to see, to visit, to experience, to read, to write… And, even if/when I’m burnt out, my thoughts and ideas are never-ending. I have a mind that is 100% active, 100% of the day and night – stupid thoughts, grand ideas, exciting dreams, writing blogs and stories in my head… If I would have the money to finally go on a real vacation, I’d love to take a time-out, from life, from myself, from thinking… Well done, you! 🙂

    • 😊 I wish I always had such a constant flow of creative ideas as you do! Thankfully, doing nothing isn’t costing me anything extra other than time, which is indeed a privilege for me.

  7. We don’t know how lucky we are as children to have all that ‘boredom’ time. I’m not often bored as I was an only child so knew how to amuse myself! But your boredom bodes well, with some wonderful words and pictures coming out of it.

  8. We rarely get moments like these on our trips. Our trips are always about motion and getting those feet moving. 🙂 On the rare occasions, when we do manage to catch our breath, and just observe: it’s sheer bliss. I guess, as travellers, we’re lead to believe that we need to keep moving and take in as much as possible. We’ve been lucky to stumble upon idyllic villages/towns and it was liberating to not want to see a famous sight or eat a local delicacy. We were happy to sleep under a canopy of stars and watch fireflies light the forest path. And it’s alluring to want to live a life like this forever. But it’s also difficult to predict boredom. You never know when and how it will strike. 🙂 Love your captures and I’m such a fan of your writing!

    • You’ve put your finger on it. There is something very enchanting to me about the hermit-philosopher’s life, but I don’t have the courage to pursue it as a career. I’m always striving for that ever-elusive balance between planning for the future, reflecting on the past, and being in the present. It’s rather a yo-yo act for me. 🙃 Thank you so much for the praise and encouragement. It comes at a much needed time. I’m deeply grateful for it and for your understanding. 🤗

  9. What a treasure, this post! A little breathing room….the analogy to childhood summer vacations is perfect. And the wisdom that even if it doesn’t yield “results” the interlude is valuable is key. I like the way the rainy photo interrupts all the perfect vistas – very real, and delightful. I don’t think I need to wish you luck or anything – all is well.

  10. “…applying myself to monotony.” Love it. This is a worthy pursuit. There’s so much wonder and energy in what happens while we’re still and the world moves around us. Enjoy every minute!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful vacation to me! Sometimes doing nothing is the best gift we can give ourselves. It’s a chance to reconnect with some of our innermost thoughts and feelings, and to simply experience what it going on around us with no agenda and no schedule. Enjoy!!!

  12. This kind of “pretty” boredom is exactly what I was looking for for my next getaway. Shame I am nowhere near Sweden and I have to “make do” with the California coast. Looks amazing

    • 😁 I’m certain the California coastline is delighted to hear you will “make do” with its beauty, but it is a shame you are nowhere near Sweden. You would love the tranquility here.

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