Everyone has a favourite memory. We’re not talking about a big one. Not something obvious or loud or dazzling, but something small and subtle.
That time you went wild camping and woke up to sunlight pouring through the leaves of the trees. That cosy feeling you get from being with your friends and family. Or that moment you sat on a faraway beach, the tide splashing against your shins as you stared out at sea; the moon reflecting across the waves like a glimmering road to nowhere and anywhere, leaving you completely in awe.
That last one is ours. That’s our moment. That’s the memory we try and recreate whenever possible. That’s what Mangata means. It’s a Swedish word that describes the reflection of the moon cross the ocean’s surface; that silver, twinkling highway.
As wonderful, mesmeric, untranslatable and almost elusive as this word is, it’s not the only thing that inspired our brand. Oh no. It’s the Swedish way of life in general. That laid back Nordic nature of all things hygge.
It’s the way they use clean and fresh designs, the love they have for the great outdoors, adventure and the sheer expanse of wilderness.
That’s what inspirited the Mangata way; it’s being able to lift happiness from the simple things in life, while appreciating the world around us the whole time.
Yeah. That’s what it was. It was that Scandinavian mindset that inspired us more than anything; their culture and code, values and vibes, their philosophy and ethos. Why? That’s simple.
Sweden has set the standard for recycling. They set the standard for sustainable living. They cut the grass and smoothed the path, and that’s what inspired us to make swimwear from recycled polyester and post-consumer plastics. When you want to help protect the planet, you’ve got to aim high and that meant putting the pioneers of sustainable living on the pedestal. You’ve got to be inspired by a nation that said no to landfills, a country that wants zero waste, a place that’s working hard to eliminate grotesque greenhouse gases, that has found a way to to turn waste into energy and has gotten so good at recycling that it’s run out of rubbish (and even begun importing trash from other countries just to keep its super-special plants going).
Basically, we were inspired by the brave face of clean living, a country that wants to do more and be more and, to celebrate this, we’ve pulled together a travel list for all those wanderlust-victims that want to see the real Sweden. Not the one found in glossy travel mags, but the one found a long way off the beaten track and deep into the pines - that Sweden.
1. Hike To The Old Tjikko
Of all the breath-snatching places you can escape to, the Fulufjallet National Park is one that will leave you gasping for air like never before. We’re talking dramatic waterfalls, primeval woodlands and lichens so bright they make seventies Elton John look tame. But that’s not all. Hike the mountain here and you’ll have the chance to see a scrappy Norwegian Spruce so worn and torn it looks like it will be blown to smithereens the next time a light breeze passes by. However, at 9,550 years old, this is in fact the world’s oldest tree. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name, Old Tjikko, the discoverer named it after his Siberian Husky.
2. Explore The Inlandsbanan Slow Train
There is no better way to escape Dalarna and head into Sweden’s Arctic Circle than jumping aboard the Inlandsbanan Slow Train, which snakes through the rugged, rustic and forested heartlands of this magical country for 800 miles. It’s incredible. The chance to stare out the window, dumbstruck by the scenery as it changes from forests and lakes in the south to tundra and white water rivers in the north is incredible. But the best part of it all is the pace. There’s no rush to get from A to B but rather an appreciation for what may be discovered along the way. The driver’s will even stop if they spot something fascinating. It could be wildlife - moose or reindeers, a bear or even a lynx - or it might just be a crystal lake in the middle of nowhere that looks perfect for a swim. Do it in a rush, and you can get from start to finish in two days. But take your time and you might have the best week of your life.
3. Bed Down In The Treetops
Stop by any bar in any area of Sweden and you’ll hear whispers of different legends, but none is more awesome than the legend of the Tree Hotel. You could travel the earth a hundred-times and you’d still never experience a hotel as unique as this one and that’s because the rooms hover in the treetops. Yeah. You read that right. The hotel rooms hover in the canopy of the most mesmeric forest. Some are shaped like futuristic spaceships, while others are more like mirrored boxes made to reflect the surrounding woodland, and yet all of them epitomise luxury. So, if your addicted to the great outdoors, get ready to feel your heart pound, your eyes fizz and the hairs on the back of your neck trip the light fantastic because this place is special - really special.
4. Adventure Beneath Aurora Borealis
When it comes to staring up at the Northern Lights, Sweden is seriously spoiled for choice. There is The Road West, the Iglootel, Aurora Sky Station and Pine Bay Lodge, and each of them will leave your mouth agape and mind whirring. That said, the most unforgettable experience is found at the Sapmi Nature Camp, in Nabrreluokta. Consisting of just five lavvus - tipi-style tents - hiding in the heart of Laponia World Heritage, you’ll get a view of nature’s most spine-tingling light show that’s so personal it will feel like it’s all yours to savour and enjoy, the aaaaaahhhs you let out vanishing into the cold air before anyone else can hear them. No light pollution. No noise. Just you, the stars and moon and the great Aurora Borealis… and maybe, just maybe, some reindeer too.
This is our inspiration. It turned the embers of an idea into the brand we are today. It is how the Mangata soul came to be.