Seeking solitude by moving to the mountains in Meiringen, Switzerland

As I write this, it’s a sunny and clear Saturday morning and I’m on my balcony with coffee from The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, a few notebooks and pens, and my laptop.

I’m feeling a bit guilty for not going on a hike (I have a vague goal to complete the Via Alpina bit-by-bit this year), but any form of worrying seems like a profound waste of energy.

After deciding I needed a change from living with coworkers in Interlaken, I stumbled upon this top-floor apartment of my Swiss Traumhaus, or dream house, earlier in May.

On the day of my first viewing, as I walked from the train station to the house, there was a goat market in process in the main square. It was clearly my sort of place. The incredible views of the mountains sealed it.

Just before I left for a trip to Greenland at the end of May, I moved my belongings from my shared apartment by Interlaken West train station thirty minutes along Lake Brienz to start a new chapter here in Meiringen.

Ten days later, after my return from Greenland, I would be going straight back to a new apartment in a new town with my bags yet unpacked.

This concept was a little jarring, but only minimally. My Meiringen home has quickly become a retreat from the world. It helps that I can see a mountain and waterfall from each one of my windows.

Yes, it’s probably too expensive for me and I’m going to have to get much better at budgeting, but I still think it’s worth it. Solitude brings out my better moods, ideas, and projects, and being in nature only amplifies this further. I even have a dishwasher!

My intention was, and is, for this move to open up space for thinking, pondering, and creativity. Nearly two months in, it’s starting to work. I’m writing more, I’ve been drawing a little, and I’m reading more books. Despite some moodiness in other areas of my life, life is utterly fantastic, especially during weekends and evenings here.

I’m convinced that our physical location can have a profound impact on our creative output, and so regardless of what is thrown at me, I don’t want to give this up too fast.

With some focus and continued gratitude and enjoyment, I think my time here can offer the state of mind to get going on and achieve a lot from my backlog of ideas. Let’s see how it goes.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might like my book about my time living in Switzerland, Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps. It’s available as a lovely illustrated hardcover, or you can pick up a copy on Kindle.

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