If you consider yourself an outdoorsy person, prepare to be put to shame by Mina Floriana Read.
At five years old, the young Norwegian girl has spent more than 300 nights sleeping in a tent. At the tender age of two, she completed a 57-day winter trek and various other adventures with her father Alexander Read.
In fact, the father-daughter adventures (which are documented on Instagram) have won the pair a highly regarded Norwegian wilderness award.
The escapades may seem extreme but in Norway, it's a way of life that isn't just acceptable but deeply traditional. So much so, that it has its own special word: friluftsliv.
Pronounced "free-loofts-liv", the word translates to "open-air living" and denotes a dedication to spending time outdoors regardless of the weather.
"It's the most natural thing for me because I'm Norwegian," Alexander told National Geographic.
The idea has long been a part of Norwegian culture yet has experienced a fresh wave of interest amongst citizens this winter due to the pandemic.
Despite experiencing less than 12,000 cases of Covid-19 to date, Norway has experienced some surges as they head into winter. Many people will have a tough choice to make; spend the Christmas season in their 'bubbles' or risk indoor gatherings.
Fortunately, friluftsliv provides a third way, one that is a little more chilly but equally invigorating.
Friluftsliv is a lifestyle
The term was supposedly invented in 1859 by Norweigian playwright Henrik Ibsen after the word appeared in his poem "On the Heights". The poem described a farmer's year-long forest hike, which eventually prompts him to leave civilisation and live in the wilderness.
However, Lasse Heimdal, a secretary-general of Norsk Friluftsliv says friluftsliv doesn't just describe extreme explorations but can include everyday acts.
"Friluftsliv is more than just an activity, it's a kind of lifestyle," Heimdal told National Geographic. "It's very tied to our culture and what it means to be a Norwegian."
While Norsk Friluftsliv is a Norweigian organisation made up of more than 5,000 outdoor groups across the country, as Heimdal said, it's just as 'friluftsliv' to take a long walk with a friend or outdoor picnic than it is hiking through the mountains.
"You get kind of a time-out from cell phones and computers … being outdoors and in nature, it's one of the best places to relax," Heimdal said.
A friluftsliv-ing population is a happy population
If you need proof of friluftsliv's benefits, one could simply look at the country's high rates of happiness. Norway's city centres Bergen and Oslo are considered some of the happiest cities in the world while Norway was ranked the fifth most happy country according to a 2020 United Nations study.
Friluftsliv also has a decent amount of science supporting its claims. In 2019, researchers found just two hours spent in natural environments per week (think parks, beaches or other green spaces) will boost your well-being.
Your mood isn't the only thing that is improved by getting outdoors rain or shine. The sky, ocean, grass and trees can also facilitate deeper emotional healing; something that has already been capitalised on by psychologists. Activities like gardening or surfing have been used to assist with the treatment of PTSD and grief.
Winter coats and positive mindsets
Spend enough time in Norway and you'll likely hear the popular adage "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing!".
However, it isn't just their winter woollies that help Norwegians enjoy the colder season; their mindset is also a crucial tool. Specifically, what Kari Leibowitz, a health psychologist from Stanford University, calls a "positive wintertime mindset."
With this mindset, you look at the dropping temperature and snowy tundra and instead of seeing hindrances, appreciate the opportunities.
"When you say something out loud, it changes the way you think about it," said Leibowitz.
Learning to friluftsliv
While Kiwis are heading into the opposite of a cold, harsh winter, the season will eventually come.
Fortunately, you don't need to have been raised in the woods like Mina Floriana Read to nail friluftsliv.
In his book Friluftsliv: Connect With Nature the Norwegian Way, Oliver Luke Delorie breaks down exactly how people can learn to see every environment (even the grey, brisk ones) with a sense of wonder and joy.
The key is starting small. If getting outdoors doesn't come naturally to you, try a quick walk on a stormy day, or eat lunch in a park even if it's overcast. If you can take a work call on the go, do so while sitting in a nearby park.
"Open the door, step outside, and take a deep breath," instructs Delorie in the opening of his book. Then say to yourself, "I'm going friluftsliving."