Women living outside the rules of society - Linn Lundgren
We have spent the last decade traveling, surfing and exploring the world. During this time we have met so many driven, current and aspiring Digital Nomads and female entrepreneurs. So why not do a interview series with some of them, to help spread their good vibes and life tips that got us super inspired!
First out is Linn Lundgren, a Swede who left a small city and her education with only a few months left to graduate for a life in Sri Lanka. She and her partner has not only founded the dreamy surf & yoga retreat Sunshinestories in Sri Lanka, but also the sister company and boutique hotel and restaurant Ceylon Sliders, her very own Kimono company and a fine jewellery brand AND countless creative projects. All during the vast time of 3 years! Impressive, we know. Let's hear how it all started!
Name: Linn Lundgren
From: Tiny village in south Sweden
3 things you are the most passionate about: Dogs, beach days and creating things.
Hi Linn, where do you live and what do you do for a living?
Linn: I live in Sri Lanka and own a surf & yoga retreat called Sunshinestories and a hotel/shop/restaurant/lifestyle brand called Ceylon Sliders. On my free time I also design kimonos made by women in the village I live in under the brand Ceylon Kimono co.
What is your educational background and how does that reflect what you are doing today or have done up until now?
Linn: I studied communication & photography in upper secondary school and then information architecture at Malmö University. I didn’t finish though. We opened up Sunshinestories surf & yoga retreat with only months left to graduation. It used to be a big thing for me, that I didn’t finish it and I would always feel like I had to explain and excuse myself for it. Now I don’t care.
The photography and the CSS coding has come in handy. And it was interesting to see a glimpse of the academic world. But honestly the things I have learned the past years by setting up companies in a new country with a new culture there’s no education that could have ever prepared me for. I have learned things you can only learn by doing. And failing. And working hard as F. The failing part was hard in the beginning but like my meditation app said this morning: “Love your suffering. Do not resist it. Do not flee from it. It’s your aversion that hurts, nothing else” - Hermann Hesse.
It’s through our mistakes we grow! So don’t be too hard on yourself.
Have you always been this driven/entrepreneurial, if so, why do you think that is?
Linn: No, but I have always been creative. I have been loving and needing to create various things since I was very young. The biggest thrill for me is to see an idea become reality. It was my partner since soon 10 years, Petter, who taught me the entrepreneurial parts. And honestly the thrill of sharing things you have created with others is even bigger!
Tell us about your most rewarding experience in your career as an entrepreneur?
Linn: I feel so honored being called an entrepreneur! The most rewarding is when what we have created here on Sri Lanka gives other people something, maybe it even sparks something within them. Like to leave their desk job and pursue their dream.
I also love to see how our staff has grown with us. We have employed over 50 Sri Lankans and some of them have been with us since the start. It’s cool to see how they have grown with their job, becoming more confident and being able to support their families.
Hitting the wall or Fatigue syndrome is a common issue amongst young females today. Do you have any personal experience of this and what is your advice to stay healthy and happy while doing something you love?
Linn: I do. About one year in to the the venture of setting up two businesses in a new country I couldn’t get out of bed some mornings. My sight was all blurry and I gained more and more weight. I felt so useless and incapable. When I finally went to the doctor I felt silly that my problems wasn’t serious enough. That I was just being lazy that couldn’t keep up with my partner’s super speed. The test results showed that I had severe thyroid dysfunction and I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I’m on daily meds but I’m still not 100%. It has forced me to slow down. I depend on alone time and daily rest to be able to have a “normal” sociable life. And it’s first now almost two years later I feel ok with that. I’m not ashamed or blame myself for not working as hard as my partner. Some days I need to Netflix the half day, and that’s ok. Even if I live in a tropical paradise.
If you could go back in time 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Linn: To not worry so much. I have always been a worrier. And looking back I wish I didn’t worry so much during that crazy car ride in Mexico but rather would have enjoyed the ride..
But then again I also believe in living a life with no regrets, so maybe that worrying got me where I am today! (and not in a trench in Mexico ;))
What can we expect in the future from you?
Linn: I’ve been doing simpler silver jewelry with a local craftsman for some years without any label. But now I’m totally in to finer jewellry made in 9K rose gold and sapphires. I’ve started a jewellry brand called Weli - වැලි, to collect it all. Weli means sand in Sinhala and stands for the simple but fine life.
Do you have any recommendations for inspiring people, companies or foundations to look into for young female entrepreneurs who are looking for inspiration and support?
Linn: I love the work of Kristin and Miranda who has the webshop For Good Luck.
Cecilia of the jewelry brand Mumbai Stockholm shares a lot of inspiring wisdom on both entrepreneurial and health topics her Instagram.
And for some badass pepp and quote I look to The Girlfriend Manifesto!
Do you have any life mottos/rules to live by/rules to break etc to share with girls who are looking to do their own thing?
Linn: Don't be afraid to try, the worst thing that can happen is that you fail. And then you’re a failure richer! Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Trust the journey, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destination. And → don’t listen to what other people say or think, if I did I would still be stuck in the little village in south Sweden. Trust your own journey!
And finally, which Salty Boho ring is your favourite?
This or that
Swedish Coffee or Sri Lankan Tea
Sunrise or Sunset surf
Motorcycle or Bicycle
Stripes or Polka Dots
GT or Beer
Stay in your favorite country for the rest of your life, or to never be able to go there, but go everywhere else? Too hard, pass!
All pictures by Crille Rask @raskal