For Amrah and Marije, the old city hustle and bustle was not doing it. Working their asses off five days a week to earn those 48 glorious hours of rest, which, eventually, end up turning into a chore marathon, was not the life they were striving for.
Their solution, albeit not easy and maybe even crazy, was to leave everything behind and move to a sled dog farm in Norway to live with and take care of 40 Alaskan Huskies.
Amrah and Marije's story was beautifully captured by 23-year-old French wildlife photographer Antonin Charbouillot in his series A Lifestyle Choice.
"I had two jobs which I didn't fully enjoy, but I relied on them to perpetuate a life that I also didn't fully enjoy. This was a routine that was well too familiar from growing up in a large city," says Amrah, 26, who grew up in Los Angeles.
He admits breaking the cycle wasn't easy. When a few years ago his friends invited Amrah to Europe, he had to choose – stay loyal to the life he has now or leap head-first into uncertainty. He chose the latter.
"Once I made the leap, hindsight has convinced me that the obstacles we see ahead are often more significant than they really are."
Marije's case was not much different. After spending eight years studying and traveling abroad, Marije, 30, realized her home country Holland wasn't the place she longed for.
"I had been away from home several times before but when my journey through Alaska in 2015 came to an end, it was the first time I didn’t look forward to going back to my old life in the city.
I fell in love with the nature and enjoyed the basic lifestyle."
Both Amrah and Marije ended up contacting Stein Håvard Fjestad, a Norwegian dog musher who owns a husky farm in the remote woods of Slettås. After Fjestad agreed to employ them on the farm, the two adventurers sold all of their belongings and embarked on a journey of a lifetime.
"I live a life that suits me very well. A simple life with hard work but no stress.
Nothing fancy but everything I need plus incredible dogs to work with." – Marije
Photographer Charbouillot visited Marije and Amrah back in 2016 and spent a month living with them and documenting their daily routines. Together they care for the 40 Alaskan Huskies inhabiting the farm.
The farm is located in the remote woods of Slettås, around 136 miles from Norway capital city Oslo. "Nothing but forest, mountains and marshes... the wilderness," says Charbouillot describing the place. "Here, they take the time to be with the dogs and connect with nature." The photographer explains:
"The dogs are being trained for long distance races at the highest level. It’s a full-time job to let these athletes run and give them all the care they need.
In peak season they easily run 80 kilometers [~50 miles] a day, sometimes in tough weather with temperatures down to -20 degrees [-4ºF]."
Although Antonin understands this way of life might not sound appealing to lots of modern people – working long hours in the cold miles away from civilization – he also says spending time on the farm with Amrah and Marije made him realize why they chose to live like this.
"I came here not to run away from life, but to actually LIVE." – Amrah