Skip to content

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.

158 replies »

  1. “…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!

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. This sure sounds like a wonderful idea to me!! Better than wonderful, actually.
    Boredom is most definitely useful to me. I just wish I had a bit more of it. 🙂
    For me, it is so useful to just decompress, and empty my head of to-do lists, schedules, etc.
    Enjoy every moment of your boredom!

  5. What a great thing … to take a time-out! Many of us place too much emphasis on being ‘productive’, thinking about the past and worrying about the future. Our brains need a rest from time to time, to just wander. I always remember this … ‘we are human beings, not human doings’. Great writing and photos … I love the blues and reds.

  6. What a beautiful idea. I sympathise completely with your need to sit in silence and do nothing but observe and overcome your inner voice. What better a location than in Sweden? It sounds very similar to a “silent” retreats I’ve been considering.

    Good Luck – I look forward to reading about how your silence serves you!

  7. Oh, how well I recognise that feeling of doing nothing … it is not boredom! It’s being, living, feeling. Every summer I have the chance for a few weeks in Sweden to do just the same, meeting family and friends, view the boats, walk on the rocks, explore the forest. I wish you a fabulous time and definiitely no ‘inner voice berating me for being unproductive’! Creativity needs the chance to rejevenate, refresh … everything in good time. xx

  8. I think the word boredom is wrong for the mood you are describing. Boredom is definitely negative whereas a period of inactivity, a ‘resting’ mode, can be used to refresh the spirits and re-charge the batteries. I often strive for this, in fact, I’m having one today after a hectic long weekend. Reading my emails and replying does not constitute work even if I spend more time on them than I wish, but blogging (which require a bit more input) and other mental work is out for today. We find our own way of relaxing, so do what suits you, and SW Sweden is a perfect spot.

    • I’ve always thought of boredom as doing nothing, which is probably why I don’t see the word as a negative, but perhaps I need to invent a more positive word for my version of doing nothing. “Resting mode” as you phrased it, sounds more in line with what I had in mind. Enjoy your own ‘period of inactivity’ and thank you for stopping by to chat with me.

  9. I believe that boredom, as you define, allows one to become attuned to a place, to gain a deeper understanding of its nature and subtle changes, of the wonder of waking to a new day and being in that moment. A satisfying way to travel, to live, to be. One day you might decide to do something else, experience something new and that is the right time for that.

    • You’ve put it so precisely for me. That is how I have been thinking about boredom and how I wished to talk about it in this post! Thank you for so beautifully stating what I was fumbling to explain.

  10. I love how you began this essay: “I have come to this place to be bored.” You had my attention right away!

    I’m someone who struggles with Productivity: I feel I should always be productive & feel guilty when I’m not. This is a wonderful thing you have done; you have inspired me.

    • Yes, I know that guilt extremely well. It’s deeply rooted in my conscious and has difficulty letting go. I think the more I deliberately practice periods of daydreaming, the less I’ll hear that voice. I’m so thrilled to know I’ve inspired you. Wishing you a lovely time in your own place of satisfaction with existence.

  11. While this place looks beautiful on your photos and we all need some time off, I know I am unable to do nothing even for a day. It isn’t so that I would be regretting quiet moments, but I just need something: writing, painting, sketching, sewing, designing, whatever. I am workaholic, that’s for sure, and I think that is what suits me very well, being always busy is great. When I cannot be very mobile, I still do something which does not require much standing and walking.
    If you have made it your goal, good for you. Time can be very slow in such places, like really slow, and that is when one discovers a lot about themselves.
    Well, I do regret now any days which were spent without achieving something. The older I get and the less time is left, even if it is theoretically, the more I value every moment, every minute. I am 60 soon, and that is a number which says that the most important things one should have accomplished. I haven’t. That is why I am not satisfied with anything so far and I am trying to make sense of every minute. Health is a big issue and causes terrible slowdowns.
    I wonder if you are still young that you can afford such an incredible luxury as doing nothing for a while and letting things happen whatever way they may? It is fantastic, it is a great method to recharge and return to life’s challenges as if reborn.

    • I’m incredibly lucky that I have the luxury of doing nothing for a bit and equally lucky in health. I cannot imagine how my perspective will change when I don’t have either of those. I often feel time flying too quickly, but I’ve been feeling that if I don’t pause and recharge, I won’t be able to function as well. Thank you for sharing your own counterpoint to this and for your encouragement!

Send A Note

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

My Books + Journals

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog:

Join 18,610 other followers

Follow Bespoke Traveler on WordPress.com

Feed The Meter

On Social Media

Pick Your Poison

My Writing Elsewhere

And Also

%d bloggers like this: