It’s funny how I never thought of going around for a walk around the neighborhood before this (i.e. COVID-19, quarantine etc.). But then again, why would I? There are plenty of parks, lakes, forests, and even islands around Gothenburg to explore, only 20 to 40 minutes away from where I live. The neighborhood seemed pale in comparison for exploration, so I never even considered it.
Up until now, Sweden hasn’t imposed lockdown, a fact so notorious that it’s been the topic of debates all over the world. That’s not to say that it’s business as usual here. There are restrictions, albeit a lot laxer than in other countries. But I’ve been really reluctant to go out or even use public transport, so the last 2 months have seen me being home almost all the time. The one time I tried going to the park on a sunny day, it was so full of people that I went home straight away. It gave me so much anxiety.
Being stuck at home with no car and a temporary aversion to public transport, there are only limited options when you need to go out for fresh air. My neighborhood is the only option, so that’s what I did. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see what’s around me. Where have I been?
I live in a relatively quiet neighborhood, not too far from downtown Gothenburg. On the main road, you can hear buses and cars passing by, and spot people running or whizzing by with an electric scooter regularly. But walk a few meters onto any of the narrower streets, and the vibe is totally transformed. It’s like there’s a secret tranquil town tucked away behind all the hubbub. Gone are the roar of the buses and cars, replaced by the sound of the birds chirping merrily (yes, you can hear them so clearly here).
It was during my walks in the last few weeks that I rediscovered my love for photography. For a while, I didn’t have the urge to snap pictures. In the words of Marie Kondo, ‘it doesn’t spark joy’. I honestly thought I’d lost the passion, but apparently it just lied dormant when I had my focus somewhere else. Here, with the beautiful houses and the late spring blooms, I suddenly found that again. I squat, contort my body in weird angles, and even roll around on the ground just to get the perfect shots. Just like the old days.
It was also during this self-imposed quarantine that I found a nature reserve very close to our place. It’s not the greatest nature reserve ever, but it’s great to have a piece of nature just 15 minutes walk away.
To be honest, I really don’t see myself going out and hanging out anywhere near the city center for the next few weeks, so it’s just as well that there’s this view, just a few steps away from my door.