Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sweden Plans - How it all Came Together

People we meet along the way often ask us how we planned our trip and how we decided where to go.  Although we had a rough idea of where we wanted to go before we left (see The Route page), we didn't actually do much pre-planning.  Here's a little window into how our planning goes:

Our trip started out with a lot of support.  Canada was easy: find the relatives and stay for a few days and then move along to the next (except Ontario as it took so long to drive through that we had to stay 2 nights in roadside motels before reaching the next relative, who was also in Ontario).  South America also started out simply as we caught a plane from Paul's sister Karen's to Lima and then were taken care of for the next 4 weeks by Peru's Challenge.  It wasn't until we left Peru that we had to start booking our own transportation, accommodation and activities.  It was a little daunting at first but we soon got in the groove and enjoyed the process of picking our next destination.  We tend to pick a place that we want to go based on reputation, location, climate or a particular activity that stands out and then we start figuring out how to make it happen.

Sweden was different!  For the first time since Canada, we did not chose Sweden based on location (it takes an effort to get to Sweden, not just a short train ride over from Italy), climate (it was cold, windy and wet when we arrived - not the weather that matched our 'all summer, all the time' theme for the year) or activity (we knew very little about Sweden so were not sure what adventures we could have).

We came to Sweden for one thing - Friendship!
With Helena, Mats, Ebba and Mans .

Let me back up about 8 months: when we worked at Pumamarca with Peru's Challenge we were lucky enough to be thrown together with a wonderful group of volunteers from different parts of the world (none of which were from Australia which was a first for the organization).  Two women from the U.S. (SanDiego and NYC), a man from Cape Town, South Africa, a family from Gothenburg, Sweden, a woman from Lulea, Sweden and our little family from Canada.  For whatever reasons we all got along really well and the mood in the house was relaxed and cheerful.  We knew then that we had come across some great people!

Jump to March when we started thinking ahead to May and Chloe's birthday.  We asked her what she thought would be fun to do for her birthday.  Knowing that we would be in Europe and fully aware that any material presents were pretty much out, she suggested that a visit with our friends in Sweden would be the best birthday present she could get.  We e-mailed Mats and Ebba and immediately got a reply suggesting that we would certainly be welcome and if we arrived 2 days earlier, we would be able to attend their wedding.  As we had celebrated their engagement in Cusco with them we thought it was only fitting that we be there for their wedding as well.  Flight to Gothenburg - booked!

We then e-mailed Helena to see if she would be in Lulea around that time - although we had NO IDEA where Lulea was, besides in Sweden.  She was going to the wedding as well so we would see her there and then also in Lulea a few days later.  Flight to Lulea - booked!

We had a few days in between and we decided to fit in a visit to Stockholm.  Train to Stockholm - booked!

And that's the secret to our successful planning of Sweden - Friendship!!
and cake!

By the way, Sweden has turned out to be awesome!!  More to come in future posts,.. 

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