Identity is kaleidoscopic. I’m a husband, a father, games maker, a historian, a vegetarian, a painter, and many other things. Maybe even a writer of sorts. Identity exists in multiple dimensions.
I am also a runner. That has been an important part of my identity here because it helped me find my first set of non-work friends, at Ssideline City Run Club.
The membership is mixed Swedish+International, but it plays an especially important role for the expats. Living abroad is a remarkable experience, but it can be a lonely one. Ssideline offers a family atmosphere and a supportive community for expat runners.
After two years, the club is several hundred strong and still growing. Founder Kristian has built a strong collective with a fun, edgy, credible brand.
This is a good time to build organisations like Ssideline. Stockholm’s working-age population grew by 23% from 2000 to 2016, driven by a rapid growth in expats. And shared-interest communities are more valuable when finding love is hard. Only one in four expats who arrived in Sweden without a partner have found one after five years (for more on this, see fellow Ssideliner Maddy Savage’s excellent BBC report).
Ssideline offers an antidote. My favourite aspect of the club is the open mindset. There’s a strong emphasis on, and a true belief in, peace and love and mutual support. This is the foundation that makes the club extremely welcoming to runners visiting or immigrating from other cities.
I’ll be leaving Ssideline soon, as we’re moving back to the UK in late August.
Big thanks and big love to the Ssideline crew. You made me feel at home.