Our guest writer Sammie Durell opens up a new series on travel with the most obvious yet often the most tricky question: Where to next?!
So, you want to travel the world huh? Do you want to hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Or maybe ask the grinning bobcat why he grins? Could you sing with all the voices of the mountain? Do you want to paint with all the colours of the wind?
If so, this is the place for you!
Welcome to the mini-series titled Colours of the World where I (Sammie) take you through essential travel tips and pointers for seeing the world.
This month, we are covering the basics of travelling and that is the ever so important question “where?”
Going abroad should be a relaxing and soul fulfilling journey, it should inspire and motivate you to broaden your horizons and experience all the corners of the Earth (and if you’re lucky enough to be an astronaut, space too-just remember to send me a postcard.) so it’s optimal you decide where you want to go to first.
Does the place you want to visit have friends or family? Is there an event you want to go to? Does the food culture inspire you? Do you like museums and galleries? Are you a beach dweller? These are all important points to consider. However, this isn’t the answer to everyone and sometimes all you need is a good dart board with the world map on it to just allow fate to send you away… Note: Not the Bermuda Triangle, unless you like interportalising yourself, I would highly suggest re-throwing the dart.
If you’re REALLY SUPER stuck, you can always use this helpful website. (http://travelpicker.com/) Travel Picker allows you to pop in information you might be considering when booking and holiday whether it’s just yourself doing some good old soul searching, with a loved one looking to spice up things or friends and family, a rough idea of what temperature you’re looking for (sounds stupid, but believe me saying “oh it’s not that bad” while you’re travel mates are either freezing or melting isn’t a fun trip.) an estimate month with flight times (3 hours, 6 or 12) and a budget idea that’s helpfully broken down into easy to understand categories. You can further filter out the results by telling the website what you’d like to do while away which really helps and gives you ideas for places you might not have thought about (I am not trying to work out how to sell flying to Thailand to my significant other, no good reader you are!)
Myself, I like a good city break, so I’m going to focus on my most recent trip to Sweden.
I hear you ask at your screens. Well here’s a very exciting list of what draws me back to the country for the seventh (yes really, seventh) time;
- It’s a clean city – do you live in somewhere that’s considered dirty by looks alone? I’m from London and it drives me crazy. It’s not filthy as in litter but it’s the River Thames, something we should be proud of is actually our biggest trash can. (I hope there’s a later issue where we can highlight how we can help change this but unfortunately this is a governmental matter that is out of our hands.) It’s soul changing to go to another country and experience water that’s actually blue (not that I would go into said water, non-swimmers of the world unite!) but it is when you look out the window and see clean streets, clean water, your whole mode and outlook changes almost instantly (the reverse happens when you come home, sorry)
- Public transport is affordable and on time. Again, living in London you expect affordable transport and services to arrive on time, the only delays I have seen in my times in Sweden are where the information boards don’t work or have the wrong estimated time on them and it’s normally no more than 2 minutes at best.
- Art and history museums galore. Sweden is actually a very big part in our World history, taking part in both World Wars and its art scene is just as influential with artists like Hilma af Klint (some say she’s being doing abstract work before Kandinsky) are worth visiting and trying to see if an exhibition has popped up with her work in.
- If you love books, some well known authors come from Sweden, the creator of well loved children’s book Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren comes from Vimmerby, The Millennium Trilogy author Stieg Larsson and if you’ve seen Wallander on Netflix you won’t be surprised to hear that the original author the show is based and adapted from is Swedish too.
- The music, yes we’re all going to start having ABBA’s hits like Waterloo and Dancing Queen stuck in our heads now – you’re all welcome. But we also have current pop artists like Robyn and Avicii and if you’re into your rock and metal there’s Falconer and Sabaton (who host their own Open Air Festival every August in their home town of Falun! As someone whose been, if you’re a fellow metal head you should go to!)
- Finally if you go to Ikea for the meatballs, go the country where it all started! I know a few nice little cafe’s in Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla Stan) where you can get a taste of traditional Swedish Meatballs with lingonberries, pickled cucumber and mash!
But, it’s also important to remember each country has their own political horrors too and it’s just as important to check on local news about countries you’d like to visit as it to hear travel agents sell you these places. Is there a bad history of gang culture? Is there a rise in murders or other assaults in the areas you’d like to go to? Sure, I felt the same in the run up to my trip to Sweden, I was reading the local news about gangs and wondering if I felt safe going still.
Thankfully everything went super smooth but that’s for another instalment!
Catch me next time on Colours of the World where I talk about flights, booking, and surviving airports!
Sammie Durell – rides the waves of the world