Editor’s note:I went to Lola’s book mingle on Thursday, unwittingly with one of the contributors I connected to the author, and met so many interesting people supporting the book launch. I got my hands on a hardcopy of the book [I have the Kindle verson too] and read it in two days.
The book was a fascinating read in 2017 even after moving to Sweden in 2006. Lola’s dissection of lagom in every aspect of one’s life opened me up to a completely new understanding of lagom and how to apply it daily. I think I get what it means to live lagom more than my Swede 😉
As the Swedish proverb goes, ‘Lagom är bäst’ (The right amount is best).
Lagom sums up the Swedish psyche and is the reason why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world with a healthy work-life balance and high standards of living.
Lagom is a way of living that promotes harmony. It celebrates fairness, moderation and being satisfied with what you’ve got. It’s not about having too little or too much but about fully inviting contentment into our lives.
Sweden-based Lola A. Åkerström is an award-winning writer and photographer who offers us a unique vantage point when it comes to adopting elements of a lagom lifestyle.
Full of insights and beautiful photographs, this authentic guide will help you make small, simple changes to your everyday life – whether that’s your diet, lifestyle, money, work or your home – so you can have a happier, more balanced way of living.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Lola as a Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary Shero not only because of her enormous photography talent (my Swede was impressed with her camera when he observed it draped around her neck and resting on her baby bump several years ago) but because of her enormous body of work. She’s been to just about every corner of the world, seriously and has been published in everything from National Geographic to the BBC and took a selfie with Sweden’s Crown Princess before selfies were all the rage. I’ve written so many blog posts about Lola’s achievements that I can’t decide which award is the most impressive. I know first hand how amazing Lola’s eyes are as she has made me look magical from behind the lens. And I’m touched this globe-trotting mother of two and trophy wife still wears the stylish girlfriend hat. All I had to do was ask (and follow up a couple of times) with the amazing Lola to create something to mark my anniversary and she did not let me down. Indeed she created something museum worthy and for that I will always be grateful.
I will treasure this expose Lola! Tusen tack.
In Photos: On redefining dreams in Europe
Words and photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
As a Nigerian-born, Sweden-based self-taught photographer, my dream as a child was to one day see my images grace the pages of National Geographic which opened the world of exploration to me during my childhood. My professional work has appeared in various publications such as National Geographic Traveller, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and several in-flight magazines, and my photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.
My style is inspired by the conscious act of “listening”. I tend to isolate people or subjects and place almost all focus on them. I make traditionally “mundane” scenes more interesting through isolation. This is something I both consciously and subconsciously do. I observe interactions – how people are interacting with each other, with their environment, and how light interacts with them – to capture a sense of place. This is conscious. The subconscious comes from listening. Because I always try to listen to people and places, I tend to isolate individuals and visually listen to and elevate them. I listen to their verbal and nonverbal stories. I let them tell those stories themselves through my photography. And I strive to dignify them during the process of telling their own stories visually.
I’m always inspired by strong black women who are actively carving their own creative paths despite the challenges we collectively face and are building successful lives and careers for themselves in unconventional ways. Living in Sweden for a while now, I’ve been fortunate to meet so many resilient black women doing amazing things – from entrepreneurs in the beauty and baking fields to performing artists, photographers, filmmakers, fashion designers, authors, and many more. All redefining what it means to be successful by actively pursuing their dreams and passions.
An urbanist’s guide to Stockholm: ‘Find your own secret space and own it’
My name is Lola Akinmade Åkerström. I was born in Nigeria, studied and worked in the United States, and moved to Stockholm for love many moons ago after giving up my life as a system architect working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). That was in 2009. Coming from two boisterous cultures – Nigerian and American – Sweden as a whole was an initial shock to the system. Life slowed down tremendously and the words “work-life balance” slowly crept into my psyche.
Today, I’m a freelance travel writer and photographer who contributes to many major publications. My photography is represented by National Geographic Creative and I’m also the editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm – a site that encourages travellers to my city to slow down, re-examine their motives for visiting, and get to know the city on a much deeper level. Yes, Stockholm truly is that superhot person who is also a modest rocket scientist. Getting beneath its surface is challenging but rewarding.
International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association sponsors an annual writing contest for the best writer in the Professional Journalism category among the non-member community. The writing subjects must be travel, food or wine.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström, of Stockholm, Sweden, won the IFWTWA 2012 Professional Journalism Scholarship Award for her story “Slow Food from Sapmi,” a window into the culinary traditions of the indigenous Sami people of Arctic Sweden.
The inspiration for Åkerström’s story was her belief that exploring cultures that may seem polar opposites of our own produce some of the most compelling stories. Her keen interest in cultural traditions and relationships has been a long journey that began in her native Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 250 unique tribes and languages.
“I’ve always been intrigued by cultural nuances in terms of food, place, and traditions that separate yet unite us all,”
“Even after becoming a US citizen and moving to Sweden for personal reasons, I’ve always had my nose to the ground looking for untold place-based cultural stories.”
Åkerström’s award includes a one-year membership in IFWTWA with all regular member benefits and complimentary attendance at IFWTWA’s 2013 Annual Conference in Hawaii.
“Ms. Åkerström is very deserving of this award,”
says Maralyn Hill, IFWTWA President.
“I am excited to welcome her to IFWTWA.”
The Professional Journalism second place winner was Sandra MacGregor of South Africa, and Maida Pineda of Philippines took third place.
Watch for “Slow Food from Sapmi” by Lola Akinmade Åkerström on IFWTWA’s online publication Global Writes in January 2013. For more information about Åkerström and her work, visit her website athttp://akinmade.com.