Ever since childhood, Nike Kelbel, 24, has been longing to get away from the noise of the city, closer to nature. To go north. Today she lives in the village of Södra Bredåker, 15 minutes from Boden. She practices two sports and has a job. All within 15-45 minutes of her rural life.
Nike Kelbel rents a small red house in one of the villages in the municipality of Boden, situated in the beautiful Lule river valley. On her doorstep, she has a lush garden and an inviting barbecue area. The neighbour’s horses graze in the fields and the Lule River glistens just outside her window. Here, chirping birds are a sound more common than cars.
This dream is everyday life for many here in Norrbotten, but for Nike, it only became a reality in the autumn of 2020. She was born in a suburb of Stockholm and grew up in Stockholm’s inner city. But she had always been longing for something else.
”I’ve actually dreamed of Boden for a long time. When I was 13-14 years old, I googled ”places in northern Sweden” and found Boden. Since then I have been yearning to move here. I wanted to live close to nature and I think I just thought that in Swedish Lapland there are forests and not that many people”, she says with a laugh.
The thought of Boden was with her throughout her teenage years. She insisted her mother come with her on vacation and helped her to understand that she really wanted to come here. When Nike finished her studies, she made her dreams reality. With her dream in mind, she made her way to Boden.
”When I moved here, the only thing I had was a flat. Three rooms, 108 square metres, in central Boden. I didn’t know anyone but I had played floorball before. So I started doing that again. Sport is a good way to find your context”, she says.
Today she plays floorball IBK Boden and has found new friends in her teammates. She has obtained a driver’s licence, got a job at a preschool and found a house to rent outside the city centre.
”I’m proud of myself, it’s still a big step to take without knowing anyone here. But I’m glad I did it. In a smaller town it is also easier to fit in, I think. I started working as a substitute at a preschool and now all the local principals know who I am.”
She has also resumed her weightlifting training and found a club in Luleå where she thrives. The goal is to start competing again, as she did as a junior.
The expectations she had about living here in northern Sweden have come true.
”Emotionally, I love living here. The närhetsliv, for me, is all about being close to nature and the river, being able to go out into the forest to make a fire. Here you can get far in just a quarter of an hour, it’s quiet and very different from a big city. As soon as I arrive in Stockholm, I get stressed out. I have been very well received here. Everyone is nice, open and positive. This is where I want to stay.” #
Text: Anna Bergström / Photo: Mats Engfors
If you or someone you know is thinking of moving to Boden, there is a wide range of options available, in town and in the countryside, flats and houses. Follow in Nike’s footsteps and take the opportunity to try your dream in a new part of the country or the world. More information can be found here.