Traveling solo: arriving in Sweden


Back in the day, the day before marriage, a family, a son… Traveling was a carefree affair. Few possession, sleeping in hostels, going where the wind blew.

Traveling with a family was still an adventure but visits were scheduled around naptimes and feeding and places where a stroller could be pushed. (Word to the wise, pushing a stroller up the cobblestones at Mont St Michael …is not wise.)

It was also a compromise.. finding what everyone wanted to do which rarely translated into what I, as an individual, wanted to do.

Which was fine.

The “I” disappeared years ago.

And it was good fun, this “we” thing.

Discovering funky children’s parks the world over, almost lost a finger on a downhill wooden ride in Japan.. but overall, it WAS good.

But that was then. And this was now.

Now I had a 4 day weekend coming up where my son was staying at his dad’s. My employer offered a trip on exactly those same dates… To Stockholm. Lately I had been traveling to new places where I had friends.. or business meeting.. but exploring a new city and country on my own that didn’t include meetings or friends or family… I think the last time dates back a good 30 years.

Yes, it was an organized trip, yes, it was with colleagues but after the flight and a bus to the hotel, I would essentially be on my own to explore Stockholm.

But like Steve Martin in the movie “The Lonely Guy” I would first have to endure the stares of “table for one” humiliation when I showed up at the airport…solo.

Not an easy thing, especially since I did not know which colleagues had signed up for the trip. Luckily, there was only one that gave me a familiar nod.

Make it on the flight.. check into the hotel… Fade anonymously into a sea of Swedes. That was the plan.

So, feeling like a teenager again. No cares, no responsibilities… Being open to new people and opportunities, just impatient for this damn plane to land..

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