Once I knew that I would be going to Sweden, Stockholm, I started to think about what it would be like. Going away didn't consume my mind, though, as I was engaged with what was taking place in my life.
I wanted to go away, no doubt about it; but I wasn't in a position where I needed to get away. What I was doing was fulfilling and this stopped me from getting too caught up in what I would be doing whilst I was away.
A Different Climate
What was different about this trip was that I would be going somewhere that was cold, and this made a change. In the past, I had generally gone to countries that were warm and were only a few hours away.
Yet, even though I was going somewhere cold and it would only take a few hours to get there, I thought that it would be unlike anywhere I had been before. So, when the time came for me to go away, I started to get excited.
The First Signs
On the plane, the safety video was in English and then it was followed up in Norwegian, due to the airline that I was flying with. But even though I wasn't going Norway, this made it even clearer that I was going away.
Soon after this, I landed in Stockholm and when I got off the plane, heard people talking in another language. It wasn't until I got outside and was exposed to the cold temperature that I fully realised that I was in another country.
It was incredibly cold and, as I didn't go to sleep the night before, I just wanted to go to sleep. Nevertheless, now that I was away I wanted to find out more about Sweden and to experience their way of life.
The reason for this is that when I go away, I don't expect to bring my way of life with me and to live how I would back home. I want to find out what is and what isn't acceptable, what kind of food they eat, and to learn about their history, among other things.
While I was walking around the city, I saw an advertisement that spoke about where I could find tapas to eat. Now, I have tried taps in the past and I enjoyed eating them, but I wasn't in Sweden to eat tapas.
Similarly, I didn't go to there to eat McDonald's or to have a coffee at Starbucks; I was there to experience the Swedish way of life. I thought about how there is a fine line between adding things to a culture and enriching it, and adding things and completely destroying a culture.
When it come to the main shopping area, for instance, I could have been anywhere in the world; it was no different to being in London or Australia. The same could be said for the hotel that I stayed in.
After I started to walk around the old town I could see that I was somewhere different. This was a special place, and what helped was that I was with a friend from Sweden who could show me around.
A Wonderful Time
Seeing these buildings and finding out about the history of Stockholm, Sweden was thoroughly enjoyable. I even had the chance to write on the wall of a coffee shop - whoever goes there can leave a message or just write their name on the wall.
I wanted to see the Viking burial ground and the 17-century ship, but I didn't have time in the end. There is plenty to see and do here if you are looking for somewhere different to explore.