She dreamed of a holiday among dog sleds and the northern lights and found what she was looking for in Överstbyn. Here she remained and created a life for herself with the forest around the corner of the house. Now Fanny Collas, 27, wants to share the beautiful tranquility with other French people.
The fire crackles and slowly heats the water in the coffee pot. Meanwhile, Fanny Collas takes the opportunity to pull a few throws in Rörån. Maybe a hungry pike gets stuck on the hook.
– I love winter, the real winter with a lot of snow, but now when I fish it makes me like summer more. Fishing endless summer nights, I really love that, says Fanny.
When she was little, her father often fished at home in Dijon, France, only occasionally Fanny followed. Now the fishing trips here to the favorite place are all the more frequent.
Accompanied by the noise of the rapids, Fanny begins to tell about how she ended up here. It was in January 2015 that she first moved to Sweden. She had studied international business management and got a job in Helsingborg at a French company that imported French pastries.
– I had dreamed for a very long time about visiting Lapland, riding a dog sled and seeing the northern lights and stuff. So when I was in Sweden, I felt I had to take the opportunity and go there on vacation. But I was fed up at my job and thought “Why not try an adventure? Why not try to find a job? ”
She started googling around for seasonal jobs and volunteer places and found Isdimma Husky Adventures in Sörbyn. Beautiful pictures of dog sleds in sparkling snow and picturesque descriptions of the dogs and life here made Fanny fall in love from a distance. Rickard Karlsson at Isdimma had no vacancies but referred her on to Fredrik Broman at Aurora Safari Camp in Lassbyn and here she got a pacifier. For three weeks in January 2016, she would help at the camp in exchange for food and shelter.
– I had no plan for what I would do afterwards and after a couple of weeks Fredrik offered me a job for the rest of the season. So I stayed.
The job led on to jobs, after jobs after jobs in the tourism industry and Fanny got stuck.
– It was the lifestyle I think, the harmony I found here and the quality of life. To be so connected with nature, you know. It’s amazing, I open the door and I’m in the woods. I love the silence and tranquility and being able to do things outdoors. It feels like I have moved back to a simpler life, but so much richer at the same time, says Fanny, takes a sip of coffee from the wooden cupboard and looks out over the rapids.
She packs fishing gear and a coffee pot in the car and drives the short way home, via Gunnarsbyn to Överstbyn and a red little house in a glade in the woods. Fanny bought it last spring and is now renovating the place with the help of a French volunteer who lives here for a couple of months.
Here Fanny lives with her two Siberian huskies, Bobbi and Mira, as if the winters like to pull her on a sled across the snow. Fanny says that she has always wanted a dog but that it was only when she moved here that she felt she could offer the right environment for happy dog life.
– They are happy and run around, it’s so easy to be with them. I do not think, I just am. They calm me down, make me happy and make me be in the moment. And it’s such a peace when you are out driving dog sleds, the only thing you hear are the dogs and their breath and we go to places you otherwise would not be able to get to.
Fanny lets out the bright and blue-eyed four-legged friends in the yard for a while. They play wildly with each other for a while, eat raspberries straight from the bushes and Fanny has a big smile on her face.
– Närhetsliv for me is to be close to nature and the dogs. Forest. Tree.
A few months ago, Fanny started her own company, Passion Laponie. She sells package tours and organizes holidays with transfers, accommodation and activities to the French market. The idea was born when her parents came to visit for the first time.
– French people are not the best in English and my parents said they would never have come here if I was not here, because of the language barrier. Having someone on site who can translate, guide and help with everything, it really is something. I love this place so much that I want to share it.
Fanny does not hold the activities personally but collaborates with the activity companies in the area, accompanies the visitors and translates.
– Through the pictures I post, I try to sell the beauty and luxury we have in nature. I want to show the tranquility that visitors will find here. Nothing extravagant, just what we have.
It is a lot of administration and it has been tough to get started with the company but Fanny has received good help from her contacts in the industry.
– There is interest, so be it, now I just need to find the right customers for what I offer. Hopefully it will work, she says. #
@passionlaponie (French) @myswedishutopia (English)
* # Närhetsliv is really untranslatable, much like a smorgasbord. But if you were to try in French, it would be about this.