Written by Karl Griffiths
Nov 10 2017
During our stay in Skattungbyn, thee core team which consisted of Joana, Lauren, Tom and I began the process of handing over decision making responsibilities to the group. We had held decision making for the first two weeks. The idea behind the core team holding the decision making initially was to allow people to settle and for us to support the group by role modelling the decision making process.
We divided the responsibilities into teams. A route team, a food team and a group and learning facilitator. This was to allow people the opportunity to step up into a role they felt called to and so energy in the group was spread between different tasks. There were up to three people in each team which allowed decisions to be make quicker than having input from the whole group.
The route team decide which direction we are heading in, where we will camp. They take on this responsibility for two weeks. A key consideration for camp will be if there is a water source nearby and consider when there will be an opportunity to shop for food (or is there a bus stop\ hitch hiking spot near by, or will be pass through a town?).
The food team would have a budget of £6 per person per day and have full autonomy over what we eat. The only consideration is that we have three vegans and a vegetarian diet was decided as the group diet from the outset.
For the coming weeks a big unknown was where would be going next? In the first two weeks Skattungbyn was the destination we had in mind. Joana ha family friends there (Jorgje and Birgitta) and Marie had a local connection. Jorge and Bigitta had given us a warm welcome and a summer house which was known as the Portugese corner in which we could cook, eat, recharge and relax.
After arriving at the portuguese corner the core team decided to stay there for a week. This was becuase we had recieved lots of learning offerings from the group and the Skattungbyn community. We had also had group discussions that we hadn´t finished whilst walking. The Skattungbyn community had offered a visit to an eco house project, a sustainable living course, an opportunity to share our travels with a school in the neighboring town of Orsa, and community music events and saunas. For some the offerings from Skattungbyn were a great opportunity, for others there was a longing for time further from society. We were all learning how to be a part of the LiC project, dealing with differing needs and to navigate and find our place within it. Bearing all this in mind the route team comprised of Chris, Håkan and Hana were trying to balance the needs of the group.
In the Week I spent in Skattungbyn the changes in the seasons were becoming more apparent. The leaves were falling more freely and it did seem colder. I heard others in the group speak that they were struggling with the cold at night. Questions arose around the quality and quantity of individual group members kit. Did people have adequate waterproofs? Would they be warm enough with sleeping bags and enough clothing? Was the Vasaloppsleden trail we had been following for the past two weeks wild enough? Different expectations for the project were highlighted to juxtapose our cultural immersion in Skattungbyn.
I was not envious of Hana, Håkan and Chris. There efforts to take into account all the considerations of the group left them feeling rushed to make a decision. They Had done lots of research and considered lots of different factors including night temperatures, wind speed and elk hunting where the risk of being shot became a possibility. Locals in Skattungbyn were wearing hi-viz jackets which made it all the more apparent in our minds.
Eventually on the penultimate day a decision was made. We gathered around after dinner in the Portugese corner and I believe it was Håkan who delivered the final verdict. He said we were heading north to Idre, which is 150-200km North, where it is colder and more wild. A silence spread over the room. Håkan looked happy after delivering the sermon. Sam was said to capture the reactions of people faces around the room as follows:
Joana did a little nod of surprise and acceptance.
Kit was screaming silently with joy in the corner.
Karl was dead pan with one eye twitching.
Marie lifted one eyebrow in surprise and confusion.
Sarah´s eyebrows were in her hairline with a face that read many obscenities.
For some it was said to be the biggest decision the group had made to date, for others it was not. There was a sense of relief that we had a clear destination and the decision would now be realised. The following days would be spent heading to Mora by foot and hitchhiking in preparation for the coming colder weeks.