Towards the end of last year, I set myself the very arbitrary goal of visiting 3 new countries in 2019. So when a friend randomly invited me to Sweden, I had to jump at the opportunity.
I’ve mentioned before that what makes or breaks a trip is the people you meet along the way. When S and I met in Bali, we had some of the most gorgeous days together, and I was thrilled to see her again in Sweden.
I was nervous, as I didn’t know anyone else, but I decided to approach this from a different perspective. I removed all expectations from the equation, and let adventure surprise me.
Last weekend was, perhaps, one of the best weekends of my life. It was relaxing, exhilarating, full of both intellectual and physical challenges. We didn’t visit Sweden for tourism – we didn’t visit any of the main towns nor chased historical sites – but we did get to explore the countryside.
Whenever I go to someone’s house, I tend to feel anxious and out of place. I worry about over-eating, using the facilities too long, not being a good roommate. Taking too much of my host’s time and dedicating them too little. I fret about taking part in everything and sitting out on what I don’t enjoy.
This time, it was different. Whenever the occasion arose I felt the familiar pang of anxiety, especially when it came to trying new things. But I pushed through. I ignored the screaming voice in my head saying that I couldn’t go in the snow, I couldn’t stand the cold, or I couldn’t go for a walk. And step by step, I saw an old version of me come back alive.
Now, I won’t even consider the idea that travelling is what fixes my mental health crises. Absolutely not. But I’m lucky enough to go into new environments where nothing is expected of me, and I can try to be the person I want to be. It helps me push my boundaries in a total unsafe way, but that it makes it safer. Once it’s done, it’s done, right?
Here’s a selection of images of the weekend, I hope you enjoy them.