In secondary school, some of my friends called me Miss Tourism 2020. I won’t get into the very juicy details about how that came about but it’s 2020 and all I can think about is that I have not ‘toured’ anywhere physically yet.
I like to think of myself as a virtual traveler. You would be surprised at how much I know about the cultures and mannerisms of people from all over the world.
I have been to the walls of Maine, I have danced with Congolese women and yelled out Indian war cries. I fell in love with Jamie Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser in Scotland and of course, drank wine in Paris.
Recently, I have been thinking about how much I would like to really travel. For some, when they say they like to travel, it is about the journey and not necessarily the destination. If I am honest, I am all about the destination, the change of scenery. For someone that talks about travelling so much, I get car sick and would totally make the cast of “Are we there yet? (Reloaded)”, maybe all I need is a really good travel companion or a teleportation device or a telekinetic superpower.
But until I can afford to do so, I virtually travelled to Sweden recently and it was amazing!
I stayed at the Ice hotel, almost froze to death. These people keep the hotel at a steady -4C to preserve their artwork and sculptures. I said “Hej” which means “Hello” in Sweden to everyone I met. Some of them definitely did a double-take.
I got invited to Fika with friends. Fika is like taking a coffee break with family or friends except it isn’t really about the coffee or the open-faced sandwiches or the baked sweets or the fruits you have with your coffee but more about the companionship. Fika is observed nationally and incorporated into all Swedish businesses and co-operations. It feels very much like your country saying “We love you! Remember to take a break”.
Like we celebrate the New Yam festival, I found out the Swedish people agree with me that some food should be revered. I have been saying this about fried plantain for years. Anyway, In Sweden, October 4 is Cinamon Bun day and March 25 is Waffle Day and on these dates, you are allowed to eat as much of these foods as you would like without any feeling of guilt.
I went to an ABBA concert with my friends, swayed to Swedish House Mafia and won myself some Krona- the Swedish currency from karaoke to Avicii’s “I could be the one”.
I found out the hard way that I had to stand in line for almost everything. Most establishments issue you a ticket number depending on your time of arrival. I had one question for my friend, I asked her, “What of weddings? If I know someone that knows the person sharing food, how does that look for me?”
One of the few remnants of my Nigerian ancestry is the fact that I am usually quite tardy. In Sweden, an 8:00 appointment means that you have to be there by 8:00 as the Swedish are particular about time, it means a different thing to me, and it means I have to leave my house by 8:00. Needless to mention, I missed a lot of appointments and the train a couple of times.
I think the best thing I liked about Sweden was finding out that not only is it regarded as one of the cleanest countries in the world, they actually make money from importing waste from other countries which they either recycle or convert to biogas which they use to power their homes and cars.
Maybe one day, I could really be Miss Tourism. I could really go to all these places I only dream of but until then, adjö.