Meet Dave King, a contemporary pioneer carving his existence in the untamed expanses of Sweden. Nestled amidst the breathtaking wilderness, Dave lives as a dog musher, with forty-five sledge dogs, horses, and a profound connection to the natural environment, his career is not just a vocation but a way of life.
Unleashing the Wild: Sweden's Modern-Day Pioneer, Dave King
In the face of extreme temperatures and challenging landscapes, Dave's steadfast values and his ability to walk the delicately balanced line between humanity and nature make him an interesting character. Acknowledging the gradual separation from commonplace experiences that living in the woods has brought about, he was excited to become an &SONS Pioneer.
As we step into Dave's world, we encounter a man whose life echoes the pioneers of the past whilst creating his own, modern version of the idea. As a seasoned Alaskan Arctic guide now anchored in the heart of North Sweden we couldn’t wait to learn more about his way of life.
What is your definition of a Pioneer?
Well, there's a conventional definition, people who were the last frontiers and forging out across the great west as miners and trappers. When I first moved to Alaska, this was very prominent, I was very much aware that it wasn't that long ago that the people who inhabited that state were true pioneers.
I think in the modern era, pioneering can be so many things and for me, pioneering is more in my head than it is physically. I find the mental challenges of what I see and the changes in the world around me, reconciling with the changes in natural environment that I've grown up is quite difficult. The modern pioneer is finding ways to properly understand that.
How did you end up in your Career?
I grew up in a family of mountaineers. So mountaineering was something that came naturally to me and there was a natural progression to follow in those footsteps. Being in the mountains and the wilderness just became normal for me and I think that’s how my career evolved into becoming a dog musher.
I live with forty-five sledge dogs, a bunch of horses and live out in the woods - it’s not just a career, it’s my life.
How would you describe yourself?
I think ‘complicated’, I guess. I don't feel that I'm a particularly simple person. I’m naturally suspicious of a lot of things that are around me and I question things maybe more than many people do. I think that I'm honest, I'm pretty straight to the point of almost being offensive sometimes because I speak my mind and often speak my mind without actually thinking about it. I call things as I see them.
But the things that I cherish the most are my freedom and the natural environment around me, my relationships with my animals and my family. That’s what’s important.
What is your creative process like?
I like to create things and I love building. I've built part of my own home, I've built log cabins in Alaska and I've built boats. I think being creative is just a part of living. We create our environment and we create our lives around our imagination. So I guess that would be about my creative, creative process.
My inspiration comes from just going outside. Every time I step out into the mountains or paddle down a river - all of it. It's inspiring to be alive, particularly living closely with another species, animals for me are the greatest inspiration.
Who inspires you?
That could be a long list and it would depend on the day. Back to the original question of pioneers, the people that inspire me are people who've not been afraid to reach out beyond their boundaries, whether there are physical boundaries, geographical boundaries or mental boundaries. But anyone who stands up for rights and equality and fairness, those are the people who inspire me. It would be really difficult to pick one single individual.
We know that mental health is important, how do you support your own mental wellbeing?
It's getting outside and being in the outdoors and with my animals again. Without that, I think I would not be the same person. Just being alive in the natural world is what balances my mental health and keeps me sane.
Let’s talk clothes.
How does style play a role in your everyday life?
My wardrobe is an essential in my field of work and I have a pretty extensive wardrobe. I live in a place where we go from quite hot summers to -50 and -60 in the winter. My wardrobe has to be extensive to be able to deal with the radical range of temperatures and environments. Not to mention all the different things I do from mountaineering to dog mushing. Everything I wear is geared towards that, so what's essential will depend on the time of year.
The &SONS’ clothing that I have is interesting. I go to a city maybe once or twice a year, so I’m usually wearing stuff that I can go out and cut with. I'm using chainsaws and working with animals so the stuff I have needs to be robust.
I think the nice thing about &SONS is that it fulfils that function from a utilitarian point of view. It's something cool and comfortable to wear and when I have to go somewhere where I have to be presentable, I can wear it without looking or feeling pretentious. I like the ‘real’ feel that the clothing has, it’s utilitarian and cool.
Do you have a favourite playlist or podcast?
My favourite playlist is just listening to the environment that I live in. I love listening to the birds, to the wind, to rain on the roof. I like listening to my animals. If I had to make a playlist, I think it would be quite an extensive playlist of all of those kinds of sounds.
I'm not a real podcast listener. I live out in the woods and when I'm presented with questions like this, I realise that over the years I’ve become separated from a lot of the things that are normal for many other people. If I had to choose it probably would be something like BBC News. I do like to keep somewhat appraised of what's going on in the world outside where I live.