Marjolyn Poutsma is the founder of The Slow Living Guide, a directory of small sustainable businesses and slow living blog. Learning about ‘hygge’ a few years ago and experiencing an instant feeling of belonging, inspired her to embrace a slower lifestyle. Here she shares how ‘hygge’ ignited the spark to building her slow living platform.
‘I remember exactly when I first learned about the concept of ‘hygge’. It was October 2016 and I was on my way to Norway for a lovely Autumn break with my family. On the plane to Trondheim, I was browsing through the inflight magazine and there was an article in it about hygge.
After reading the first sentences, I felt what I think a lot of like-minded people feel when they first learn what hygge is: an instant sense of belonging and the amazement of having found a word that described exactly what I’ve been instinctively trying to create for myself all my life but could never put into words.’
Hygge is one of those words that doesn’t have a literal translation, it’s more like a feeling or a state of mind. It’s about finding joy in the little things and taking your time, being present in the here and now and feeling connected, having a sense of belonging and wrapping yourself in warmth and cosiness, sheltering from the dark and cold outside.
‘In 2014 I quit my management job to take a sabbatical leave. Having had a burn out in 2010, I knew I wanted something different than being part of this fast-paced corporate world that’s always striving for more, bigger, faster, cheaper and that’s more concerned about pleasing stockholders than doing what’s right for the planet or society.
I wanted to do something meaningful, sustainable and slower paced but had no idea what or where even to begin my search.
The moment I discovered hygge turned out to be a turning point in finding my direction. Even though it would still take me a few years to find it, I knew that whatever I was going to do, the concept and values of hygge would be at its core.
I launched a website in 2018 called ‘Hygge Hytte’, which loosely translated means ‘cosy cottage’ and it was a collection of resources for finding hygge. For a moment, I considered turning it into an online shop. But I figured out that I wanted to have a virtual business, so my journey continued.
I then found out about ‘slow living’, which I think shares many characteristics with hygge but it’s perhaps a bit broader. This really resonated with me and was another important piece of my puzzle.
The Slow Living Guide
In Autumn of 2019 I launched a new website The Slow Living Guide, which is all about inspiring to embrace a slower lifestyle and championing small sustainable brands.
I am by no means an expert on slow living, but there are a lot of people that inspire me to live a more mindful, soulful and sustainable life. I invite them to tell their story or showcase their work on The Slow Living Guide and make it easy for people to find them.
In a way I created the space that I would have loved to have stumbled upon for inspiration! It’s so heart-warming to read people’s stories about why they do what they do. It really is a privilege to give them a platform and call this my work.’