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Johan

Hola South America!

After two flights, three non-oscar winning movies, one beer and absolutely no sleep – I’m finally in South America. Quito, the capital of Ecuador to be precise. Before “Googling” Quito I didn’t know much about it. I mean, without research can you honestly say three facts or the name of a famous building in this city? Probably not, and neither could I. Though, there was one thing I knew before coming here; that it’s the highest located capital in the world on 2850 meters above sea level.

Since Quito is on the equator there is luckily enough no need to worry about altitude sickness. The closer you are to the equator, the more oxygen in the air. That being said, I can ensure you just walking up a hill or taking the stairs leaves you breathing like a fish out of water. This is actually one of the reasons I choose to start my trip here. South America has some serious altitude for example in Peru, Bolivia and Chile which are my three next countries. So it’s a perfect way to get acclimatized in Ecuador and Quito where I will do some hiking up to around 4500 meters. At the same time it’s fun going places that’s not very famous or touristic.

Today, besides being a little jet lagged, I’ve been walking around in the city and I must say it’s really beautiful with the surrounding mountains and typical South American architecture in vibrant colors. Unfortunately my Spanish “skills” are only on the level for making my way around, not for deep conversations about life. But I’m working on it! The younger generation speak some English so it’s no problem getting around.

To get acquainted with the locals, I actually went on a Tinder “date” first thing arriving yesterday evening. It may sound nerdy to use Tinder to get in touch with local people, but hey, it’s 2016. Anyway, me and the lucky lady went to watch Ecuador play against Peru in the qualification to the world cup in football. Unfortunately the Ecuador team played on level with my Spanish “skills” – so for both them and myself I hope we will improve in the near future. Besides that, it was “mucho gusto”!

Btw, no quotes today, but they won’t be gone for long.

Quito Basilica

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“How does it feel?”

As you might imagine I’ve had a lot of questions the last days, both from people online and offline. Questions like where I will go, what budget I have and why I’m doing this alone. Perhaps I will get back to some frequently asked questions in a later post. But there is one question more frequent than any other: “How does it feel?”

The short answer on this is: “AMAZING!”

Though, I feel this question deserves a little longer answer too. Why does it actually feel so good? Imagine you have had a dream for many years that you have been working on step by step to realize. One day, it’s suddenly there – within reach. All effort, time and priorities finally paying off. Believe me, it’s the best feeling I’ve ever had – having my biggest dream in my hands! This is a feeling I hope everyone will experience at least once and I strongly encourage you to try to achieve it, no matter how big or small the dream might be.

Of course there are some other feelings and thoughts going through my head. I’m both excited and nervous at the same time, most excited though. But I think it’s good to be a little nervous, it keeps you sharp. And also, if what you do doesn’t make you nervous – is it really worth doing it? No risk no reward, that simple. Yet there is a big difference in being nervous and afraid, and I’m not afraid – not at all. Mainly because of two reasons. Anywhere you go in the world, there are mostly good people. Humans like to help and if you come with a smile – you will get a smile in return. Secondly, to worry over things you can’t control is totally meaningless. I believe a lot of people (sometimes even myself) spend too much time and energy of our lives worrying about things, that might happen. Worrying is the most stupid thing we humans do; it’s like walking around with an umbrella over our heads, waiting for it to start raining. Worry will never change the outcome!

Last but not least, I feel glad! Most of all glad for having great friends and family back home supporting me. And of course also glad for my adventures to come. The places I will experience. The people I will meet and the life long memories we will create.

Next time you will hear from me, I’ll be on the other side of the world. So, am I ready? Ready as I’ll ever be!

First step..

Last days home

Sometimes the best place to travel is simply just home, even for a restless soul like me. After a great but hectic summer spent in Malaysia, Japan, Norway, Sweden and also Russia including a climb to the top of the highest mountain in Europe, Elbrus 5 642, it feels amazing being home for a couple of days. The next 365 days will probably be filled with adventure from sunrise to midnight.  Therefore, I feel doing nothing is the perfect activity these last days home.

Home for me is a very special place. It’s not only a place where I have my mom, memories and a safe haven to go whenever I need, but it’s also a big part of my identity and a contributor to the person I am today. I grew up on a farm in the pretty remote country side of Sweden. No paved roads,  surrounded by beautiful meadows, cows and a lawn as big as a soccer field. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? In many ways it was, but it was also challenging in many ways. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but also a lot of hard work and commitment. A farm doesn’t run by itself, and I learned this at young age. With a little perspective on things, I now know that most things sort out good in the end – but not by itself. Growing up like this definitely made a stamp in my personality and I still often remind myself that it’s never crowded on the extra mile.

Today I’m very grateful for growing up here and could not think of a better home sweet home. Also very grateful spending these days here with my family and participating in my one of my best friends wedding. They now start a new chapter and journey in life, and I wish them the best of luck and happiness in life.

Early tomorrow, I leave for my second home, Norway, and on Tuesday the 6th of September before the sun has even risen, I’m on a flight to South America and Quito, the capital of Ecuador. In approximately one year, hopefully I’m back here where my story begins. Talking to my beloved mother at the kitchen table

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