This is a brief description of when my father and I traveled eleven hours south along the swedish E4 road with Stockholm as the end destination, in a dirty white car loaded with all my possessions. Except for a bike, a pair of downhill skis, and a coin collection with an approximated value of 1500 SEK, even though one of the coins actually is dated 1868.
You could ask yourself why these items wasn’t allowed to join this life changing journey - while two LEGO pieces, an empty black bottle of Vodka and an incredibly ugly-looking plastic ladybug all were deemed necessary and thus packed into the car somewhere.
You could also question the decision not to prepare any particular music before an eleven hour trip, and instead use the music found in the car. Sure, this it not necessarily bad. But roadtrip music should follow two basic guidelines:
- The music should not put you to sleep
- The music should under NO circumstances put you to sleep
With that said. It’s 08:00. Let’s roll.
We’ve traveled almost three hours when someone lies for the first time. And it’s neither me nor my father. Of course. I’s the contact at my new job, that calls me for the first time. When I mention that I’m in the middle of driving down all my stuff, I get the answer:
Yea, exactly, I heard that, but thought I would try to call anyway and maybe catch you on the road
White lie. Nothing else. He can’t possibly know I’m moving today. No one at my new company, or in Stockholm at all for that matter, know that this is the day I’m roadtripping down. My first instinct is to confront him about this white lie, 30 seconds into our very first conversation. But the new Stockholm-David realizes that it might create an unnecessary bad mood - after all, I have not yet done my first day. So I let it slip. This time.
When we drive through Härnösand, I sleepily misread a road sign and laughs manically at the thought of a detour to the “Kebab Center” instead of the “Rehab Center”. Other than that, Härnösand seems boring. Don’t move there.
We arrive to Sundsvall. We eat lunch at IKEA - just like every other car driving south along the E4 road. Last roadtrip I ate the chicken dish. Disappointing. This time, I ate meatballs. It was great. Maybe not that great storymaterial however. And besides, not everyone agreed with me regarding the lunch. The two kids sitting at the low table next to us observed that “this was not very luxurious”. And they had, in addition to their meatballs, gotten one piece of chocolate cake (IKEA, 15 SEK) each. Am I setting too low standards for myself? Who knows.
A few minutes south of Sundsvall, my company contact calls again. Since he now knows that I’ll be in Stockholm (Hm. Wait. He already knew this, since he was trying to “reach me on the road” the last time he called? Right?), things are suddenly moving faster. Today’s a monday. Now I have meetings tuesday, wednesday and thursday this week. That is, my first three days living in Stockholm. So much for my two calm vacation weeks with only jamming harmonica and writing rap. Also, I would need a suit, and I was planning to do some shopping during the two week vacation phase. I guess the meetings will happen with me dressed comfortably in Norrøna fleece and Nike Lunareclipse running shoes. Wonder what they would say about that. But if anyone would complain, I could always refer to that I already told them about this - “you know, in the same phone call when I told you about what day I was moving down, you remember..?”
I awake close to Upsala and realized that I’ve slept when we passed the snow line. But it was somewhere after Sundsvall and before Upsala. You could also say that I’m not a particularly interesting passenger in this part of our roadtrip.
Finally, we arrive to our destination. The capital city of Sweden. We take another exit than the GPS tells us to. Since my dad believes this one is better. It IS of course better.
Our destination at the destination is a fairly large apartment, rented second hand. And once there, we can drive all the way to the door - always a good thing. Just like having a soccer field and a kindergarten just outside the balcony. Seldom used, but good to have.
Once inside the apartment, we realize that the concept of “not furnished” can differ from person to person. And in addition to a bunch of non-furniture, this apartment offers a bunch of features:
- The bathtub. Has. Feet. Also, there’s a bathtub.
- The shower head shines in different colors based on water temperature. Side note: there are basically only two levels of water temperature - pretty cold and CRAZY HOT.
- A wall mounted clock - with black metal butterflies instead of numbers.
- Printed quotes on the walls, in a nice font, stating things like:
love me most
when I deserve it least
because that’s when I need it most
All in all, this apartment is a good catch. The living room alone is around 30m2, in addition to the kitchen, the hallway and the two rooms (sharing the apartment with a former classmate). Our living room discussion quickly reaches conclusions in the likes of “pool table” (in the end, our pool table became a foosball table so I guess that is good enough). Since I’m first with getting my stuff to our new place, I quickly populate all the shelves (that do not count as furniture either, I guess) with important stuff. Such as LEGO. And incredibly ugly-looking plastic ladybugs.
And the final highlight: my future bedroom has the entire roof filled with these small plastic stars, that are charged by the light during the day, and then lights up the room when you are about to go to sleep and turn of the lights in the evening.
It is priceless.
My first night in Stockholm, 850 kilometers from my childhood home, I’m taken back to my childhood home and the top bunk bed I slept in as a kid, and thus slept really close to the same kind of stars.
The magnificently vague, but magical circle is now closed. Thank you.