We hope you can see from our website what we do and what we’re passionate about, but isn’t it nice to also have the back story for someone you’re meeting for the first time and perhaps embarking on something new with?
Well this is our story… it’s still evolving, there will be many more twists and turns we are sure, but this is who we are, where we are now and how we got here.
We’re Catherine and Alexander Pohl. We met in London 14 years ago when we both had careers in the financial centre of the city, Catherine in data and IT, Alexander working in the finance and insurance markets with a specialist knowledge in sustainability and the environment. We lead pretty standard city lives with long working-hours and high-stress which was rewarded with good salaries that allowed us to party, buy nice things and take great holidays.
But after so many years living like this we started to realise that there was more to life, that we perhaps had a bigger purpose and that our dreams of changing the world this way, making it a better place whilst also making money, were flawed.
We wanted to be closer to nature and escape the industrialised landscape and 24/7 connectivity of modern city life.
We wanted our children to be outside and not inside and online, interacting as part of a real-life community and partaking in stress-reducing activities that are sympathetic to nature.
Catherine changed career first, whilst on maternity leave with our eldest son who is now nine, and started to study nutrition and functional medicine.
That first penny dropped in terms of what really makes us healthy and happy – it’s not even just about good nutrition, it’s living in an unpolluted area, managing our stress, sleeping well, having a community and a sense of purpose and belonging. London really didn’t offer us those things and with a second child now to join our family, we started to feel stifled and to seek an exit. We wanted a way to get off the hamster wheel, slow down and live a simpler and healthier life both for ourselves and our children.
We wanted a life surrounded by nature and actively engaged with real-life experiences every day – a life where our children could grow up climbing trees, rowing a boat on the lake, hiking, skiing, growing their own food and keeping their own animals. All the research shows that a life behind screens and living in a large city is detrimental to both physical and mental health and we really felt that too.
We started to look for something else, exploring first the south of France, then the south-west of the UK where Catherine grew up, but nothing quite worked.
Eventually, we found Borgvattnet, a small village nestled away in the forests of northern Sweden, or in fact we rather believe that Borgvattnet found us.
We had taken a chance on a cheap property that we felt would be a good investment in an increasingly unstable world both in terms of the political landscape and climate. We settled for a compromise between the perceived financial security we had in London with the great school for the children, and a place in the wild to escape to on school holidays. It was only when we got here that we realised it’s true value, finally finding the space in our daily lives and minds to really understand what we wanted from life and how we could make it happen. Really, it could have been anywhere that offered a climate with true seasons, plentiful nature and the opportunity to become more self-sufficient growing our own food, but Borgvattnet offered us all those things and more with its vibrant community spirit and rich history and traditions.
We decided we wanted to take a chance on starting a new life here, then with Alexander being made redundant and the pandemic making life in London even more oppressive than it already was we were catapulted here even more quickly than we had planned. What a blessing!
We can now live the life we believe is right and supports our core values of natural and sustainable living.
What’s more, we can now also inspire others to take a step away from the rat race, slow down, consider what their true values really are and start to embrace their core values too, something which is really possible here surrounded by the slower pace and bountiful and beautiful nature.
If this resonates with you, we hope you’ll come and visit. Don’t forget that if our events don’t quite fit what you’re looking for, we can tailor-arrange something just for you. Just drop us a line and we will be happy to discuss it with you.
Catherine, Alexander, our boys, and Bailey the dog
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See also Catherine's dedicated Instagram nutrition page packed with mouthwatering recipes and ideas: