the art of traveling spontaneously

the older i get, the less i want to plan.

i think that feeling comes from the understanding that aging gives you that life almost never turns out as one plans it. there are unknown paths, unplanned paths, frightening paths, and soul-touching paths all along the road of life.

yes, it’s good to have an idea, a goal, and a dream. but, it is also very important to heed the lesson of the road: the unexpected is a huge part of the journey. and the journey is the whole point (not the destination).

learning to go with the flow, to be flexible, to simply align one’s life with the cycle of energy and movement of the journey of life is a gift. one that aids in teaching us to  slow down, to trust, and to embrace the present moment.

with all of that said, learning to follow the way of life, learning to go with the flow, to relax, and to live in the present moment, accepting things as they come and staying grounded + rooted in the depths of who we authentically are, allows us to live a spontaneous life. a life that becomes full of adventure (even without going on great adventures) and deep meaning. a spontaneous life helps us to stay alert, open, and energized, helping us live life on a higher plane, and in a deeper way, than simply existing. and, seriously, who wants to merely exist?

spontaneity soaks the best out of every single moment. it inspires us to get out of our little boring boxes and try new things. it gives us experiences that we’d never imagine we could or would have.

the older i get, the more spontaneous i become. and the more i reject rigid, planned ways of living. and that goes for my traveling as well.

my love and i woke up last friday morning knowing that we wanted to have an adventure. the sun was shining and it was warm. it was a glorious summer day in sweden. as we had done the day before, we knew that we’d like to take a little trip somewhere close to uppsala. a day trip, we thought.

so, we began brainstorming. discussing. and trying to decide. in the end, we said, “let’s go to stockholm again! and stay for the weekend!”.

so, even though this would be our third little trip to stockholm in 2 weeks, i hopped online and looked for an available airbnb for friday night until sunday. yep. last minute to the max. i found a funky apartment in södermalm (our favorite neighborhood) and sent a request to book. then we waited. and waited. and waited. no response from the host.

we packed our bags, hopped the train, and headed off to stockholm for the weekend anyway. without any place to stay. no worries. it would all work out.

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of course, by 2pm, as we sat by the water in södermalm, just enjoying the view and the weather, we still didn’t have anywhere to stay. and we were both totally calm about it. i finally cancelled the previous request and sent out another. this time i got a response back pretty quickly. “sorry, i am out of town and don’t think i can work it out.”

at this point we still did not panic, but we decided to begin thinking about other options. just about 5 minutes later, i got another response from the host who said that she’d spoken too soon. that, if we could meet her in the evening, she could accommodate us. perfect! airbnb booked!

getting hungry, we strolled around for a while, ate some lunch, ducked into some funky vintage shops, drank some coffee, wandered streets we’d never seen before, spied around peoples’ homes… sneaking peeks at their backyard gardens, and set a date with two friends for later that evening. all the while, taking it minute by minute, the only thing planned was meeting our host at 7pm and then drinks at 7:15.

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we made our way to our södermalm neighborhood, hornstull, and walked around a bit before meeting our host. turns out, hornstull was known as the sketchy part of söder just a while back. if, söder is greenwich village, then hornstull is alphabet city/the lower east side. of course gentrification had already found its way to hornstull a few years back, so its edginess wasn’t quite so edgy. still, it did feel a bit different than other parts of södermalm. which was exactly what we wanted: to discover new little gems + uncover quirky places.

we quickly got a tour of our airbnb apartment, got the keys, and then said goodbye to our host. she had done a fabulous job preparing the place for us at the last minute, and we were ever so grateful.

here’s a little peek at her vintage, funky apartment… with a balcony! (that was our goal with this airbnb visit).

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as i mentioned before, we had a date with two friends for drinks, so we quickly sprayed a little perfume – we’d been walking for hours. and headed out the door for a few beers just around the corner. then we walked a bit more, getting the feel of the area and, looking up at the sky, realized that we needed to walk out on a nearby bridge to catch a view of the gorgeous sunset.

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saturday morning came and we both were practically giggly due to the fact that we had slept with the doors to the balcony open! what a luxury! we laid in bed for a while, discussing our day. making no plans whatsoever except to go get breakfast. it’s like we were completely drawn into the spontaneous, living in the moment world. what a gift it was.

soder-airbnb-bedroom soder-breakfast

the rest of the day we literally took it as it came. we made decisions to turn on this street or stop in that café as we felt the urge to. there was no agenda. no time frame. it was pure vacation mode all the way. and we remarked how blessed we were.

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after wandering the streets and we decided that we did have one mission: to find some shoes that we were both dying to have (different shoes, mind you. we don’t match our shoes! hehe!). no luck in the shoe hunt, but we did manage to cover pretty much all of södermalm. like for realz.

on our way back towards the hornstull area, where we were staying, i decided to take us on the outskirts of the west side of the island, by the water. we walked and walked and walked. so much so, that it seemed that our legs were just on autopilot after a while. yes, our feet were so tired.

but, the views were so totally worth it. and to discover that there were food trucks all along the way… priceless. and serious asheville vibes too!

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tired and hungry, yet completely relaxed and satisfied, we made our way to a place to eat beside the water… brooklyn bar. we were 2 of the first 4 people there. but, soon after we arrived, people started filling the colorful, outdoor booths on the waterfront. we ate burgers + drank beer + acted silly.

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lina me beer

dreading the short walk back to our apartment because of our tired little legs and feet, we wound our way through a couple of blocks and found this fantastic little cut through bridge that got us back to the apartment faster. plus, it was more scenic. and i saw tons of places to explore the next time i visit this area.

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back at the airbnb apartment, we had some beer chilled in the fridge, popped open the bottle and plopped down on the balcony. we sat there from about 7:30 through sunset and until the stars came out. we listened to music, mostly the soundtrack to the musical rent. and chatted with each other. pure simplicity with my love.

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sunday morning after we tidied the apartment and left the keys, we made our way back to mariatorget (where our previous airbnb experience was). we headed to blooms, a cozy little cafe with fun outdoor benches for people watching + breakfast eating.

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all full of fresh-baked bread and coffee, we hit the streets again. this time with the mission to complete our shoe hunt, which ended up taking us all over stockholm, only to find ourselves back where we started earlier in the weekend. oh well. no worries. we just went with the flow, you know?

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satisfied with our shoe purchases (yay!), it was time for a beer at our favorite little microbrewery, omnipollos hatt. we drank some local beer, perikles (a rustic pilsner) + leon (a belgian style pale ale with champagne) and then decided that, since the sun was shining + we were hungry, we’d order 2 more and a pizza. yep.

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finally we decided to return home and to our little zola the cat. so, we made the 40 minutes train ride and were home in time to do some netflixing and snuggling with the kitty cat. and, of course, to document yet one more beautiful uppsala summer sunset.

sunset uppsala summer

you know, i’ve always had a spontaneous soul thanks to my parents giving us so many opportunities to spontaneously have a bbq, travel somewhere, or rearrange the furniture in our entire home. but, i do believe that my spontaneous soul grew even more after this amazing, beautiful, fun weekend with my love. it really just doesn’t get much better, friends.

and, when you’re spontaneous, you never know  just how good it might be!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

empty nesters

wow. this summer has truly kept me busy. i have literally not been able to squeeze in blogging like i normally do. i mean, i suppose i could have blogged in the middle of the night, but i am not a night owl, so that wouldn’t have worked. but, now our visitors are gone, the apartment is quiet (too quiet),  and lina and i are all alone again. i suppose i have plenty of time to blog now. yep. life is returning to normal, which it hasn’t been since the beginning of may! and that’s just craaaaazy. but, so freaking amazing.

yesterday, our niece and lina’s cousin left us to return to sweden after spending 2 weeks here. if you’ll recall, they flew with us to the states when we returned in the end of july. it was an amazing and whirlwind of a two-week visit with them. we did the beach (which you can read about here), and then we spent time at our home in the mountains. there were tons of adventures, tons of laughter, tons of shopping (what do you expect with 2 teenage girls let loose in american malls?! – ok, they weren’t let loose, but you get what i mean) and tons of memories that none of us will soon forget. take a peek at just a few of them…

headed home (to the mountains) from the beachIMG_5827

 

hanging out at homeIMG_5828 IMG_5837 IMG_5880 IMG_5908 IMG_5909 IMG_5842 IMG_6014

 

an overnight trip to pigeon forge, tennessee and dollywood (dolly patron’s amusement park)!
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up high in the mountains (and in the clouds) to ride on the blue ridge parkway & visit my parents who were camping nearby – we had s’mores & everything!IMG_6065 IMG_6057 IMG_6059 IMG_6068 IMG_6070 IMG_6071

fun times in asheville: a baseball game that was almost rained out & a day of catching the downtown vibesIMG_6131 IMG_6082 IMG_6083 IMG_6094 IMG_6139

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our last, long night of coziness togetherIMG_6150

 

hanging out together by the gate at the airport – the airlines let lina and i go through security and be with the girls until they boarded the plane. so cool!

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so, lina and i are empty nesters now. it’s just the two of us again. and life will be returning to the “normal” life that we lead. it feels pretty good. but, it has been an incredible summer – out of this world incredible. i cannot even begin to express how grateful and lucky i am to have seen, done, experienced, and loved throughout the past 3 and a half months. needless to say, i am overwhelmingly amazed.

the girls made it home safely (eventually – plane delays & such), and it was a complete joy having them here. exhausting, in the most wonderful way. and i am super impressed with their english, their adventurous spirit, and how they worked all year last year to make this dream of theirs come true! you go, girls! we love you and miss you!

as for us: well, it’s time to get crazy!

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sensory overload: part 6.

happy monday, dear ones. hope your weekend was great. mine has been pretty calm and relaxing. just perfect, you know?

i’ve decided to start doing all of my sensory overload posts on mondays, so i can highlight all of the things that have happened throughout the last week. kind of like a round-up of the previous seven days in preparation for the next seven days coming up. plus it gives you a little peek into my everyday life – something that i have established as an important part of my blog. you know, that’s just who i am.

i’ve toyed and struggled with whether i should have more planned posts, and i am going to challenge myself to plan out my posts a month in advance, and then write them as they come; but i just can’t let go of the part of my blog that a is simply me sharing the ins and outs of my everyday life. so, all of my sensory overload posts are going to serve that purpose. and that makes me so excited.

this past week has been really, really great. mostly because my dear, blogging friend paige has come back to town. she’s been here since wednesday and will be here until tuesday – unless she get’s snowed in! fingers crossed!

i’ve got a ton of photos to share with you since this week has overloaded my senses to the max. let’s get to it!

super bowl sunday with some old friends. so great.
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monday beer date with my bro

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a productive tuesday. love those kind of days, don’t you?
home

wednesday: a little cappuccino for work and a little road trip to south carolina to pick up paige!downtown asheville coffee americano road trip south carolina

thursday: a pitcher of bellini and ice on the blue ridge parkway = fun day with paige!white peach raspberry bellini asheville blue ridge parkway rime mountains ego selfie for the love of wanderlust ice me ice

friday: a little more freelance work, some shopping downtown with my love, and an awesome friday night concerteagle market streets eagle street the fika girl hippie downtown asheville urban outfitters shopping the grey eagle concert the grey eagle david ramirez

saturday snuggles and more downtown adventureszola art gallery wicked weed beer pub cycle street music

happy new week to you! here’s to wishing you lots of sensory overload moments in the next few days! breath it all in. soak it all up. and love the life that you live. 

peace & love. xx