Winter weather is officially here and the holidays are just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time of year to think about some RV hygge. Hygge is a Danish lifestyle concept that is becoming popular all over Europe and the U.S., and we think it’s high time somebody talked about RV hygge! The word roughly translates into English as a feeling of cozy contentment, although there is more to it than that. It’s a way of living that some say is at the heart of why Denmark is the happiest country in the world. A way to think about it is that hygge means to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, and to appreciate the company of family and friends. Relaxing by a campfire with your favorite people, wearing that flannel shirt that feels just right, with your dog at your feet and a good Oregon beer in your hand—that’s hygge. But hygge might also be spending an evening cozied up on the couch with a good book, a soft blanket, and a pan of freshly baked cookies about to come out of the oven. Your favorite slippers, candles and firelight, hot cocoa and a board game with the family; all of those qualify. At its core, hygge is about relaxing, feeling at home and safe, being with the people we love, setting aside the day-to-day worries and being kind to ourselves. We think camping and hygge have a lot in common!
As the winter cold forces us to slow down and move our entertainment inside, and the holidays make us think more about family and friends, it’s an ideal time to consider how to add hygge to our RVing lifestyles. Whether you’re a year-round RVer or you’ve already put the RV into storage until spring, we’ve got some ideas to help you add the kind of simple pleasures to your RVing experience that do wonders for your contentment and relaxation.
First Things First: How the Heck Do You Pronounce Hygge?
In The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, author Meik Wiking does his best to suss out the proper pronunciation. He tries out “hooga”, “hhyooguh”, “heurgh”, but ultimately decides it’s something that can only be felt. Besides, struggling to pronounce the word might very well cause the opposite of hygge—which would be “uhygge” (we’ve seen this translated as “to be afraid or uneasy”, but Google translates it as “creepy”). Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well, says the pronunciation is closer to “hue-gah”. We admit, we have no idea who is right, but it sure is fun to try and say it.
Adding Hygge to Your RV Lifestyle: Engage All Your Senses
One of the keys to hygge is coziness, so many RVs are ideal in terms of size and layout. The task for you is to bring all of your senses into play so you get the ultimate relaxing, homey experience that makes you have a total feeling of well-being.
Sight—Stand in the middle of your RV and look around. What have you done to make it welcoming and homey? Here are some ideas:
Decorate your walls with things you love to see. Paul and Nina over at Wheeling It have had good luck using 3M Command Strips, QuakeHold Museum Putty, and 3M Wire Hooks to hang pictures and decor to their RV walls.
Think about the lighting in your RV. Overhead lighting can be harsh and very un-hygge. Can you add softer spot lighting? Or can you keep a couple of table lamps next to the couch or your favorite chair? When you’re ready to travel, just take out the bulbs, wrap the lamps in a blanket or towels, and tuck them safely into a plastic tote that you can store almost anywhere, even in the bathtub while you’re heading down the highway. Alternatively, if you’re brave, try some of that QuakeHold Museum Putty to keep lamps in place while you’re travelling.
On the lighting subject, tea candles are very, very hygge! Obviously you need to burn candles safely in an RV, just as you do anywhere, so consider enclosed candle holders. We’re not suggesting you drive down the road with candles burning in your RV, but they don’t take up much space and they can add a lot to your experience when you’re parked for the night and settling in to relax. The bathroom is a great place for tea candles, but they also create a wonderful ambiance in the kitchen, and of course for those romantic dinners for two at your RV table.
Think about adding textiles to your living space—rugs, cushions, throws, curtains. You can create splashes of color and comfort by adding throw-pillows to your sofa and a lap-blanket over the back of a chair. Throw rugs on the floor help keep the heat in and give a sense of cozy comfort. The right curtains, instead of blinds, can soften the feel of a room. All of these are a good way to add warm colors to your RV, and a sense of homey appeal.
Hearing—Music soothes the soul
If you have a good music system in your RV, you’re already well on your way to hygge. If you don’t, a Bluetooth player and speakers would be a great investment or gift for your favorite RVer. Put together playlists of your favorite relaxing songs, slide into a pair of cozy slippers and let the music fill your RV while you read a book, play a game or take a bath.
Whether we’re talking about throw pillows and lap blankets in the living room, flannel sheets on the bed, or comfortable slippers on your feet, “touch” is a sense to indulge when it comes to hygge. It’s all about your most comfortable tee-shirt, curling up with a blanket on a cold night, holding your sweetie’s hand. All too often we RVers put the oldest items from our home into the RV. If you want to invest in your RV hygge, think about purchasing sheets for your bed that make you glad to crawl into them, bath towels that are big and absorbent, blankets and pillows that make you happy. And of course don’t forget a soft lap blanket for the living room.
Smell—Smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers, so add smells you love to the RV you love and you’ll find hygge.
People overlook the power of smell when it comes to the feeling of home and well-being. There are a number of scents that have been shown to do good things for our contentment and happiness. In “11 Scents That Can Do Wonders For Your Well-Being”, author Lindsay Holmes mentions some of the best: lavender, cinnamon, pine, citrus, vanilla, etc. You can bring these smells into your RV with scented candles, incense, scented wax warmers, etc. With the holidays on the horizon, we’re thinking pumpkin pie is the scent of the season.
Taste—Having a meal and drinks with friends and loved ones is as hygge as it gets! “The rest of the world seems to be slowly waking up to what Danes have been wise to for generations—that having a relaxed, cozy time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer, can be good for the soul,” says Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country.
Recently we wrote a blog about “RVing for Foodies: Cooking on the Road”. We know some amazing RVing chefs who take their road meal cooking seriously; they understand the value of good food when it comes to making good times. You don’t have to be a great chef, but remember to pack your RV with a few special “hygge foods”, ones that will add pleasure to your camping experience.
Hygge is not just about what you eat, but the experience you have while you’re eating. For instance, making room in your RV for a wine glass that will do a good bottle of vino justice might bring you more satisfaction that sipping that wine out of a red plastic cup. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.
Hygge Isn’t Just for Winter RVing
Winter makes it easier for us to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures in life—whether it’s hitting the tailgate and football game with the family, or getting together for the holidays, winter puts us in the mood for activities that lend themselves to relaxing, enjoying our homes, being with the people we love, being kind to ourselves. But next summer when you’re packing up the RV and heading off to your favorite campgrounds or swimming holes, or you’re finally taking that epic road trip you’ve been talking about, keep the concept of hygge in mind. Summer hygge is all about picnics, long walks in a beautiful Oregon forest, barbecuing with friends and family, going to festivals and concerts, eating an ice cream cone, playing on the beach all day—the simple things that make you happy and that you can share with the people you love. As you’re looking toward 2017 and starting to plan out your camping trips, keep hygge in mind for the most relaxing and satisfying RVing.
Here at Guaranty, we’re inspired by the concept of hygge and how well it fits with what RVing is all about—simple pleasures, a chance to relax, doing things that give us a sense of well-being. Whether it’s inspiring new RVers to take up the RV lifestyle more seriously or helping longtime RV lifestylers make their RVs feel like home, hygge is a way of living that can give you big rewards.
If you’re RVing near Junction City, stop in and have a cup of coffee with us—sharing coffee with friends is perfectly in the spirit of hygge, and we’d love to see what you’ve done with your RV to add more of those simple pleasures to your life. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions.
Photo credit Scott Morris