I’m back! Despite falling in love with the beautiful streets of Stockholm, I’ve now returned back to mild London and its windy weather. My five-day solo trip was a lot of fun, and now, of course, I want to share it all with you!
A birthday treat
My trip to Sweden coincided with my birthday. I’d planned it in November last year, rolling my birthday celebrations in with a trip to the home of lagom, IKEA, and my dear friend Sara Steele. It also coincided with the global #ClimateStrike, started by Greta Thunberg, who has become a hero of mine over these last few months. It was the cherry on top to rally with thousands of Swedish schoolchildren, and see her in the flesh!
My 26th is definitely one my best birthdays – and not just because of my trip. I’m so grateful to my friends and family – thank you for the well wishes, cards, presents, and times together. My boyfriend treated me to the best lazy weekend together. And in general, I feel more content than I’ve ever been. I love my work. I love the people I work with. And I feel like change is happening.
Expectations vs. realities of Stockholm
Before I flew to Stockholm, I had a CEREAL Magazine-esque view of the city. Cold, minimal, and very chic. This was partly right – there are plenty of gorgeous shops, brands, and places to go that are the epitome of lagom; just enough.
However, Stockholm also has a rich mix of styles and influences that I really enjoyed discovering. Seven-storey buildings painted in pastel colours drop back to reveal gothic architecture. Cafes selling cinnamon buns sit alongside restaurants of every cuisine. And dads push their children around in prams while their mothers work until 5 o’clock each day.
There is a definite focus on the welfare of people in Sweden, which makes a change from the dog-eat-dog world of London. However, it also makes finding places to live hard (apartments are tiny and expensive) and finding a job even harder (because once you’re in, you’re in for life). I doubt I could work for myself or have set up a business if I lived in the city.
There’s also a high level of care for the environment. It was vibrantly demonstrated at the Climate Strike march, but also in the cleanliness of the city, and the vast expanses of nature all around the central islands.
Would I go back?
As my first solo trip abroad in some years, I have to say I found the travel to and from Stockholm quite stressful. Delayed flights, windy weather, and phone batteries dying because of the -3 °C temperature made my five day trip into something more like a three day holiday. There’s also the question of offsetting my carbon emissions – I’ll be talking about that in a later post.
But in truth, I had a great experience in the small city. I’d love to go back in the summertime, when there’s more to do (albeit more visitors). If you like city breaks, and want to shop for ethical fashion, natural beauty, and handmade homewares, I’d really recommend Stockholm. It’s a beautiful place.