Hygee - the danish art of living with purpose and a short sailing story


There’s no one word to describe Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) it’s a Danish word that translates into English as “coziness”. The Danes see life as an art form, incorporating hygge into their daily life so it becomes a natural extension of their everyday ritual being aware of good moments making daily rituals seem like special events. Or making special events extra special. It’s a cousin to relaxing but in a slightly contemplative or meditative way. Taking a daily sauna is very Hygge.

Books glamorize hygee which is the exact opposite of what it should be. You can’t buy Hygee you need to live it. It is more about adopting rituals to let you slow down be attentive to your surroundings and smell the roses or the coffee if you prefer.

You can not Hygee while checking your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook account. Honest.

As we were fighting Chris’s cancer last year I realized that life for me had just become go, go, go, I took a day off to just be. I’d planned to spend the entire day at home pottering and doing little and maybe some not so little projects. But…  I was restless. I  finally started to slow down. Focus on fewer things and run them around in my mind more. A little more purposefully.

As I was researching what is Hygee I was reminded of some of the lovely times I have spent sailing in Sweden on our old boat Clarion of Skye. Maybe that is where I get my love of Scandinavian Style.

One year I spent a lovely summer solstice in a tiny harbor near the Norwegian border. The solstice is the day when daylight never ends. Because of their long dark winters, it’s a celebration.

Being alone I thought I would read a book a go to bed early – apparently I missed the 24 hours of daylight notice. That afternoon in my very peaceful and anchorage came a knock, knock, knock on the hull.

Hello, we’re having a roving all night party do you want to join? It seems that everyone in this bay was preparing a meal. Appetizers on one boat at 10 PM dinner on another then salad on another, you get the idea. I opted for dessert on Clarion at around 5 AM. And each course was mixed with parts of an Opera. I chose Carmen.

For one glorious night, I leisurely enjoyed my 12 new friends, sharing sailing stories enjoying good food and special company all night long.

Now that is Hygee!

xoxo Lydia

Life on the coast of Maine

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