Seahawks in Stockholm

I had a quick weekend long layover in Sweden in January 2016. I was going to meet my cousin Anna and her 5 year old daughter Vivi. Anna grew up in Ukraine but moved when she was a young adult. I was excited to have family to stay with and explore the city with them, even if it was freezing and dark.

We spent a day hiking to at an icy lake near her house, played dress-up with Vivi, walked around downtown Stockholm, had good coffee and food, and did some sightseeing.

I happened to be there during the NFL playoffs and the Seattle Seahawks were going to be playing the Carolina Panthers. I honestly don’t care THAT much about football but thought it would be fun to find a place where they might actually air American football. I called a bunch of bars and got rejection after rejection. BUT FINALLY I found one! So I headed over to O’Learys and saw that they played the games each week for a group of expats. I was really excited that I had succeeded in finding what I wanted. 

I watched the game with about 10 middle-aged men from all over the world. They were really nice and we chatted about how I was from Washington and what I was doing on my travels and the work they did in Sweden. I had a few beers, watched the Seahawks lose, then grabbed the train nearby later in the evening to head back to Anna’s apartment. I went around in circles, got lost, but finally made it back.

I enjoyed meeting my cousin and her daughter. She was very hospitable and I hope to see her again soon. I need to spend more time in Stockholm and hope to make a summer trip soon.

Europe cures the winter blues

When I went to Europe in January 2016 I was broke. I was working two part-time jobs while also paying the bare minimum on my student loans. I didn’t have much leftover to really go outside of Seattle. So I bought some yarn and I saved up about $1,500 by selling crocheted items during the two months before my trip. I told myself I would have 100% of that money go to my “travel fund” and it worked!

So I took two (unpaid) weeks off in January & planned a trip to visit some friends and family who lived abroad. I am very fortunate to have connections in other countries and a place to stay when needed.

Did you know there are CHEAP flights to Sweden? Through Norwegian Air I could get a one way ticket from Oakland to Stockholm for $240. I would spend a weekend there & continue on to Germany, Ukraine, & England. Random, right? My credit card company thought so as well and stopped processing my flights as I was booking them.

Thanks to my dad and his love for planning travel itineraries I could make it work. After multiple phone calls to my bank, talking to my dad on the phone for two hours to get it all sorted, basically breaking my laptop while opening tab after tab after tab, and a LOT of patience it was set:

  • Flight 1: Seattle to Oakland for a quick layover – $90
  • Flight 2: Oakland to Arlanda (Stockholm) – $240
  • Flight 3: Arlanda to Frankfurt – $130
  • Flight 4: Frankfurt to Kiev – $120
  • Flight 5: Kiev to London – $75
  • Flight 6: London to LAX – $330
  • Flight 7: LAX to Seattle – $110
  • Total price: $1,095

So why this trip? I had a place to sleep everywhere I went. During those two weeks I stayed in a hostel ONCE in Ukraine, TWICE in Germany, and ONCE in London. I KNOW that this is not something everyone can do so I am very thankful for the family and friends that took me in. Thanks to Anna, Jim, Babsy, Colin, Stacey, & Nicola.

**More stories shown under the Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, & England tabs.