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Sunshine Stories' Linn Lundgren. 

"Your vibe attracts your tribe." With these words, we fell madly in love with Swedish hostess with the mostess Linn Lundgren. Lundgren, along with her husband Petter Toremalm, is co-proprietor of Sunshine Stories and Ceylon Sliders, a luxe-yet-rustic surf/yoga hotel and retreat program in Sri Lanka that attracts in-the-know boho surfers looking for a true escape. We first heard about it from a surf buddy who's been dying to get there—after looking it up, it bolted straight to the top of our must-do list for 2017. Perched in a colonial villa a stone's throw from some of the world's most awesome waves, Sunshine Stories was born from the couple's inherent wanderlust and need for an excuse to break away from the daily grind. When you hear Lundgren explain how it all came together, you'll be checking your passport status and flights to Sri Lanka in no time, guaranteed. 

BIKINI: Is it safe to say you two share a major case of wanderlust? Can you share your craziest surf trip story with us?

Linn Lundgren: It was the wanderlust that brought us together. We spent three years traveling around the world before univeristy. I think the craziest trip was when we drove around the coast of South Africa for a month and surfed in sharky lineups and one night we couldn't find accommodation so we had to sleep on the benches of a church. It was our first trip together and everything felt so real and life-changing.

BIKINI: Settling in Sri Lanka is an interesting choice—what brought you there?

Linn Lundgren: We first came in 2009, traveling from India to Indonesia, and Sri Lanka was a good pit spot. I’m very happy we did, we discovered an untouched paradise with mellow waves and friendly locals. We returned for the waves every winter when we were at university and then we moved here in the winter of 2014 and opened Sunshine Stories at the end of 2015.

 

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Yoga class at Ceylon Sliders. 

BIKINI: Why surf + yoga together?

Linn Lundgren: It’s the perfect compliment to each other. The physical benefits of warming up your body with a vinyasa flow before your surf session or to stretch out after your afternoon surf is fantastic. The more psychological benefits are also very beneficial for surfing, like breathing techniques and mind training to keep calm in stressful situations, like a big wipeout. Yoga can also help you not freak out when your surfing progress suddenly regresses, which happens. Never give up!

BIKINI: Who comes to surf + yoga at Sunshine Stories?

Linn Lundgren: We’re so lucky to get amazing people coming visiting us from all over the world. I believe your vibe attracts your tribe and we seem to attract the foodies who wants to try surfing and yoga for the first time, but also the more experienced yogi and surfer who knows what they want and appreciate our guidance. Ages typically range between 25-35 but we often have older and sometimes younger guests, too. Our guests comes from all over the world and that is something we really cherish, it makes the perfect vibe.

BIKINI: Describe the vibe of the place for us.

Linn Lundgren: The vibe is very laid back. We’re among the palm trees in the jungle, and monkeys and peacocks often hang around in the garden. The building is a renovated colonial villa that is almost 90 years old. Sunshine Stories is more about the experience together with a group of people than a solo getaway. The villa is built for hang-outs, with a courtyard and a big, open living room at the heart of the house. The accommodation is simple and shared—for us luxury is high quality yoga sessions, surf coaching and locally sourced, delicious food.

BIKINI: Food seems really important to you two—what's your ideal Sri Lankan meal?

Linn Lundgren: We love our veggie curries for lunch, made of vegetables and spices from the area. For dinner we love fresh seafood—a favorite is the prawn taco. Or maybe the coconut shell-fired pizzas with truffle mayo we make in our backyard.

BIKINI: Do you miss anything about Sweden?

Linn Lundgren: Family and friends. And cheese.

BIKINI: Is running a multi-dimensional business a challenge to your relationship? How do you balance responsibilities?

Linn Lundgren: It’s not always easy. But we’re quite good at balancing the responsibilities. Petter takes on the tough tasks of staff responsibilities, problem solving and and maintenance whilst I am more in charge of visuals, both interior and online presence, and branding. We have learned so much the past year and really grown as people. The good thing is that our relationship seems to become stronger and stronger with all the trials and hard times and not weaker. We try and take care of each other, and give each other pep talks when it’s hard.

 

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Sunshine Stories' surf school in action. 

BIKINI: How would you describe Sunshine Stories in three words?

Linn Lundgren: Surf, yoga and food. Or maybe genuine, curated and life-changing. Guess that counts as six words? Oops!

BIKINI: What's up next for you two?

Linn Lundgren: The past year and a half have been amazing—and crazy, with the launch of both Sunshine Stories and Ceylon Sliders. Now I look forward to having a more balanced everyday life with more surf sessions and yoga—to live the life we moved here for. We also look forward to developing Sunshine Stories and Ceylon Sliders to make them even better.