Travel preparations are moving forward!

For some time it has felt like everything has all been in my head and nothing is really happening since quitting my full-time job and started freelancing. Like I have been planning and planning and planning and no action. But things are finally moving forward now!

I have finally found two people to rent out my apartment to so I have now filled out an application for my landlord to get a permit for one whole year! And the tenants are two relatives of my ex so they aren’t strangers, which is reassuring.

I have also bought some outdoor equipment;

Hiking poles
I can’t walk longer distances without a pair of these.
I have wobbly ankles and with hiking poles I get extra stability!

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Link here

Handsfree dog leash
This is excellent when using the hiking poles!!

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Link here

Next on my shopping list:
– Quality hiking boots, mid high
– Sleeping bag
– The most ergonomic sleeping pad I can find
– Tent

It’s just hard to spend a lot of money as a new freelancer. I do have the money for it, but I am not sure when next paycheck is coming so I am reluctant to not saving every penny! Not used to this quite yet 😉

Cheerio!

5 factors that trigger my wanderlust

I have always wanted to travel and see the world, ever since I can remember. It’s like an internal itch you can’t scratch until you are out there!
And here are 5 factors that triggers that itch even more!

 

  1. I love being on my own.
    Nothing relaxes me more than to be on my own. Although, I am social introvert. I love being social, meeting people and socialize but after one day of intense socialization I need at least double the time on my own.
  2. Fears and doubts, kindly fuck off.
    Like I’ve said earlier – fears provoke me. Giving my fears and doubts the middle finger is one of the best feelings in the world! It’s such a rush, such a high!
  3. My chronic pain.
    I don’t know how long I will have the slightest bit of chance to do this. I have something called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (read about it here), which causes me daily chronic pain pretty much everywhere.
    Every EDS patient is unique – some get better with age (when joints and muscles naturally stiffen) and some get worse. If I were to get worse with age I will never have the chance to travel the way I want to – true backpacker style – if I don’t do it now! It feels like my body is on the edge right now. By that I mean that being too sick to do something like this isn’t too far off… Sad? Yes, extremely. But I have learned to live with it. Even if I didn’t get a diagnose until 2015, I have still lived since I was about 10 years old with constant pain somewhere. I don’t know what a painless life is like and I have spent years adapting to what my body can and can’t do.
    I have to start doing this now, because all of a sudden it might be too late.
  4. ”You can’t do it”
    Because of my chronic pain, people close to me tell me I dream too big and that I can’t do it. They mean well and are worried that I am going to hurt myself and make my chronic pain even worse, but they only make me want go even more. I want to prove them wrong – I’ll show you!
  5. The Swedish winter. 
    Oh my, where do I even begin? Sure, it can be breathtakingly beautiful but 80% of the time it really isn’t. It is most often not a magical winter wonderland. It is mostly no snow, cold, wet, rainy, grey and dark. And then every 3-5 years we get what we call ”vargavinter”, which means we do get the magical winter wonderland but it’s FREEZING! And when we get ”vargavinter” nothing works, I kid you not. The public transportation system completely collapses. You can go to work in the morning, the snow comes and when your work day is over and you just want to go home and pass out on the couch, you will most likely have to spend 2 hours standing on a train platform with hundreds of other people, freezing your butt off, praying that a train will arrive soon and that you might just be able to get on it together with the hundreds of people standing there with you that desperately want to get home as much as you do. Worst case scenario, a train arrives after an eternity of waiting and you can’t get on it because it’s too full. So the waiting continues!
    I absolutely hate the cold and darkness that lays over Sweden like a big wet blanket every year for 6 months straight. I like it for a couple of months but when it’s that long I get so freaking depressed. I need sunlight and warmth! I can’t live in a country where I can’t get neither 50% of the year.
    One phrase that always pop up in my head every winter is this one:
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Fellow wanderlusters, what triggers you? What makes you want to travel even more than you already do? Leave a comment and let me know 🙂

“Why would you want to travel alone?!”

I have come across many people who really don’t get my urge and will to travel alone. I get it, it’s not for everyone. Heck, it might not even be for me! But I have a major craving to find out!

“Aren’t you scared?”

I frequently get that question when someone hears about my plans for the first time.

No, I’m not actually. What I am scared of is lying on my death-bed and have a heart full of regret. That scares me more than anything. Seriously, it’s the biggest fear of my life. I fear that I will grow old and when it’s too late, realize that I have wasted my life. I get cold sweats and a stinging sensation in my chest just thinking about it!

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”But what about safety?”

Sure, you are way more vulnerable as a solo backpacker in foreign countries than in the security of your own home. But I refuse to let that kind of fear stop me from living my life the way I want to live it. Fear that causes you to take action, like my fear of wasting my life, is all good. I think that is a great motivator. But fears that stop you from doing what you truly desire are the worst. It literally provokes me. You can’t let fear of what other people could do to you control your life. And hell, you are not 100% safe anywhere anyways! So I might as well be hiking through Swiss alps and stumble upon a malicious person and get killed. But I might also stumble upon a malicious person and get killed while taking my dog for the last ten minute-walk around my house at night.

“… and all the terrorism?!”
Sadly, terrorism has expanded during the last few years and is now also present in my beautiful home country. You aren’t safe anywhere anymore. Yes, of course some places are better than others but I don’t plan on traveling to high risk areas.

I feel like I am equally at risk to become a victim of terrorism in Sweden as in 75% of the rest of the world, so I might as well travel and see some awesome shit 😉

I refuse to let fear of what could happen control my life!

Unfortunately I do have a history of letting it do just that. When I was 16-17 years old I was diagnosed with anxiety (GAD* and agoraphobia**) and severe depression. I barely left my home for a year and let my anxiety and fear of the next panic attack rule my life completely for several years. I relinquished everything that could trigger my anxiety and cause a panic attack, and with GAD* and agoraphobia** – that is A LOT of situations to withstand from.

And when I turned 18 I started self-medicating with partying and drinking – that way I could have a social life and momentarily not have to deal with any anxiety. Thank goodness I got off that destructive path relatively unharmed.

So you can see how I am SO DONE with letting fear of what could happen control me!

I would love to hear what questions and fears and doubts other aspiring travelers are facing!

And those of you who already are solo travelers; what were your fears and doubts before embarking on your travels? Have they been put to rest? What did people say when you shared your plans on starting to travel alone?

Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

* – Generalized Anxiety Disorder (link to Wikipedia)
** –  Agoraphobia – “anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away.” (link to Wikipedia)

Why I quit my 9-5 for freelancing

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So why did I decide to take the plunge? If someone had told me in the beginning of 2017 where I would be in 5 months I would have called ”bullshit!”

In January I got accepted to a chronic pain rehabilitation program that would start in April. This program would require me to be take 2 whole days off work every week for 9 weeks. It was also getting closer to that time where we were supposed to renew my contract with my employer.
I had now been a full-time employee for almost 1,5 years since graduating Hyper Island. I was completely stressed out and my chronic pain was worse than ever. I was a mess, a nervous wreck, and I couldn’t handle the smallest bit of pressure. I had gained a lot of weight only in fluids due to my high cortisol levels (aka stress hormones). I was very unhappy. Working to make money and every day was torture. My mindset was “pain now, vacation later. I’ll go on a great vacation in the summer. Then it will all be worth it.” That is what I have felt at all my jobs.

I am not saying that it was my employers’ fault that I was a wreck. I think that my body, with my illness, isn’t cut out to work 9 hours a day AND commute 2 hours a day. For 1,5 years my life had all been about “work, eat, sleep, repeat” and I had no time or energy for family, friends, social life or my hobbies. THAT is what made me so depressed.

When I got accepted to this rehabilitation program I just really felt that I couldn’t work like this anymore. If I were to be on sick-leave 2 whole days a week, I knew I would become even more stressed when I would have even less time to do my job, to get what I needed to get done in the weeks done.

I also felt that I would waste my opportunity at this great rehab program if I wouldn’t be able to give it my full attention and devotion. It would have been impossible.

Also; in January I had a boyfriend who I had been with for 5 years and we lived together in a stunning apartment south of Stockholm with a beautiful dog. He knew I was miserable with working full-time and that I had been dreaming about trying out freelancing for a long time. When it got to that time to renew my contract he encouraged me to finally take the plunge. I was worried about our finances, mostly because our rent was very high, but he argued that he made enough money for us to live on if and when things were going slow. So I did it. I told my employer I wished to not extend my contract and I was going to freelance while doing pain rehab.
Then 2 days before my last day at work my world fell apart and I had to break up with my boyfriend. I was devastated and terrified how I would make ends meet financially. I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford the high rent as a new freelancer so I moved back with my mom and brother and let my now ex rent the apartment on his own. He now lives there and pays the full rent.
At first I wasn’t too happy about having to move back home, but I really couldn’t see any other way and I have to say that their support has helped me SO MUCH in not getting completely devoured by grief, fear and depression. And not really having to worry too much about finances in the middle of this period of grief has meant the world. I couldn’t have handled that stress too on top of it all.
I really couldn’t have done it without my family. They have been sitting my dog while I have been working and they have really been there for me. I will be forever grateful to them for the last few months.
In April I also got an extra job at one of Sweden’s biggest TV networks (TV4), so it feels great to at least have some secure money.

So now I work extra at TV4, freelance and spend as little money as I possibly can since I am saving money for my future travels. I am working on making my work life as digital as possible so that I will be able to work remotely and therefor travel as much as possible.

Things are looking up. I am no longer grieving my “failed” relationship, I am actually grateful that I have “gotten out of it”. It has given me the opportunity to do what I have always wanted to do. If we would have stayed together, started a family and spend the rest of our lives together, as we planned, I know that I would grow old, bitter, resentful and regretful for giving up my dream for a relationship that wasn’t even meant to be. He had no wanderlust whatsoever and never wanted to leave Sweden, and I had put my wanderlust aside for him and our relationship (he didn’t ask me to do that though, I decided that all on my own).

The life choices that I am making now, I know that I will never regret them later in life. If it all goes to hell – like if I am not able to make enough money to live and travel – then at least I tried and I got to experience SOME traveling. At least I followed my dreams, I didn’t settle for less than great and I followed my own path. This is what I am supposed to do. I have realized that I wasn’t supposed to meet the love of my life immediately after highschool, get a degree, an okay career, get married, have kids, have grandkids and die. I have seen it as inevitable because ”that’s what you do in life, that is what people do”. But no! It is not for me, at least not right now. I need to travel more. I want to see the world and now is the time. I am never going to get a better timing than this. I am 25 years old, my body isn’t my best friend and I have no idea how my illness will progress with age. I have to do this now while I still can, if I am too sick in the future.

I have now leapt off the cliff and I am flying alright at the moment, but soon I will fly high above the clouds like a majestic phoenix.

Okay, holy shit. Stuff is getting way to cheesy right now. Fuck it. Deal with it. You know what I am trying to say.

Peace and love.