October 7, 2017
One of the main things I've learned on this Land in Curiosity adventure is to chew.
This sounds like a relatively trivial thing to learn on a wild immersion trip to Sweden, but is, I think, actually something quite profound. Over the past few weeks, the phrase "Remember to chew!" has been enthusiastically shouted by someone in the group at each meal time, reminding us that we have the ability to wolf down the food our bowls in a matter of minutes. Which, after seeing all the effort that went into getting it there, starts to feel absurd.
First of all, there is the heroic efforts of the cooks, who managed to keep the fire going, chop veg and generally devote their time while others rest after a day of walking in the cold and (often) rain. And then the food team, who spend most of their rest day hitching to the nearest shop to buy food for the next stage of walking. But, of course, both of these are small-fry in comparison to how much effort went into growing the food in the first place, processing it, packaging it and transporting it across potentially huge distances so that we could conveniently pick it up.
Think what you like about this food system that we often find ourselves enslaved to, but you cannot undervalue the sheer effort (and most likely blood, sweat and tears) that has gone into each mouthful we fuel ourselves with. For me, simply remembering to chew my food (especially with the inspired addition of putting my cutlery down between each mouthful) puts me in touch with this immense collective effort, of close by friends and distant others, and this earth to which we are all dependent on. As a result of chewing, the simple act of cooking and eating food has become a humbling experience - a daily reminder to savour this life and be grateful for the opportunity to taste it fully.