Once I knew I was going to Sweden, Stockholm, I started thinking about what it would be like. Going away, however, did not come to my mind as I was dealing with what was going on in my life.
I wanted to leave, no doubt about it; but I was not in the position where I needed to get out. What I was doing filled me in and it kept me from getting too busy with what I would do while I was away.
What was different about this trip was that I was going to go somewhere cold, and that made a change. In the past, I mostly went to warm countries and only a few hours away.
Yet, even though I was going somewhere cold and it only took me a few hours to get there, I thought it would be unlike anywhere I had been before. Well, when it came time to leave, I started to get excited.
The first signs
On the plane, the security video was in English and then tracked in Norwegian due to the airline I was flying with. But even though I didn't go to Norway, it made it even clearer that I was leaving.
Shortly after, I landed in Stockholm and when I got off the plane I heard people speaking another language. It wasn’t until I got outside and was exposed to the cold temperature that I fully realized I was in another country.
It was incredibly cold and, as I slept the night before, I just wanted to fall asleep. However, now that I wasn't, I wanted to learn more about Sweden and experience their way of life.
The reason for this is that when I leave, I do not expect to take my lifestyle with me and live my way home. I want to find out what is and what is not acceptable, what kind of food they eat and, among other things, learn their history.
As I walked through the city, I saw an advertisement that talked about where I could find tapas to eat. Now I've tried taps in the past and enjoyed eating them, but I haven't been to Sweden to eat tapas.
Similarly, I didn't go there to eat McDonald's or have coffee at Starbucks; I was there to experience the Swedish lifestyle. I thought about how there is a fine line between adding things to a culture and enriching it, adding things and completely destroying a culture.
There is no other way
For example, when it came to the main trading area, I could be in the world; it was no different being in London or Australia. The same could be said for the hotel I stayed at.
After I started walking around the old town, I saw that I was different somewhere. This was a special place, and what helped was that I was with a friend from Sweden who could show me.
Looking at these buildings and learning about Stockholm's history made Sweden completely comfortable. I even had the opportunity to write on the wall of the cafe – whoever goes there can leave a message or just write their name on the wall.
I wanted to see a Viking Cemetery and a 17th century ship, but in the end I didn't have time. You can see and do it here if you are looking for something else to explore.