I was born in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden; a city of islands where I spent my first years of life on the island of Kungsholmen. From the age of four, I grew up in the Bay of Plenty region of Aotearoa New Zealand; first at the foot of an extinct volcano known as Mauao, Mount Maunganui, and later, from the age of nine, at an organic avocado orchard nestled between the Kaimai Range and the sea.
In my teens, I survived a severe depression that almost cost me my life. This experience was a rebirth that opened my eyes to how precious life is and kindled within me a strong sense of wanting to really live my life to the fullest. I learnt that healing is possible, true healing from within, and on my journey of healing, I discovered the medicine of stories, music, nature, dance, food, community and belonging.
At the age of sixteen, I returned to Sweden with a longing to reconnect with my ancestral roots in Northern Europe and relearn my mother tongue – a language I forced myself to forget as a stubborn five-year-old, wanting to fit in and be like the other kids at school, which meant not being Swedish.
Now in my thirties, I think and dream in both Swedish and English, and I tell stories in both languages in my work as a professional storyteller. I live in a small town by a lake in Värmland, west-central Sweden, together with my fiancé and fellow author Riccardo in our apartment full of books. I am very grateful to call both Sweden and New Zealand home. I have strong roots and a deep love for all of the places that have held, healed and shaped the woman I am today.
It is here in Sweden, as well as on my travels in the British Isles, that I really began to find my path and voice as a storyteller. I took my first step onto the storytelling stage at around the age of nineteen during an open mic night at a festival at Mundekulla Retreat Center in southern Sweden. I was so nervous! But I held a story in my hands like a butterfly: it had to be set free. So, with wobbly legs and shaking hands, I stepped onto that stage and told my story – a story inspired by a dream that I now call the story of Varga the Wolf Girl. I am so happy I faced my fear and shared my story that evening. It was such an important step on my storytelling path. People in the audience came to me afterwards to share how deeply moved they were by my story and the way I told it. Their feedback inspired me to learn more about the art of telling stories.
Being a storyteller is a path that I walk with all my heart. I love to share the magic, wonder and wisdom of story and myth with all ages and in many different kinds of spaces.
Some of the studies, tools and learning experiences that fill my backpack are:
A Bachelor of Arts degree in ethnology from Stockholm University.
A seven-month-long course on oral storytelling technique and performance with Anna Julia Agoston at Art of Storytelling in Stockholm.
Learning about storytelling as a healing art with Inger Lise Oelrich by taking part in her some of her retreats in Järna and studying her brilliant books on the subject.
Growing up with stories, folktales, fairytales, myths and legends from all around the world thanks to my wonderful family and schoolteachers.
A one-year, full-time course on bushcraft and leadership skills at Sjövik Folk High School in Dalarna.
Spending a summer with Sámi elder Laila Spik in Saltoluokta, Sápmi, learning about Sámi folklore, herbalism, language, handicrafts and food culture.
Taking part in several Circle Way Camps with elders and storytellers Ellika Lindén and Manitonquat Medicine Story.
Spending several summers at Mundekulla Retreat Center in southern Sweden, a place that has helped me grow, blossom and find my path in so many ways.
Studying classical piano for four years with Tamara Jeltova at Nordiska Musikgymnasiet in Stockholm, who taught me so much about tenacity, patience, the importance of making mistakes and the art of playing from the heart.
I am so grateful to all the teachers, elders, storytellers and wisdom-keepers who have touched, inspired and empowered me, and who have filled my backpack with so many gifts and blessings.