After working really hard to be able to relax and be more spontaneous, I now find myself living in Sweden where planning ahead is part of life.
Planning full circle
I am a planner by nature, it just runs in my blood and is probably enforced by the fact of being Dutch. But with age comes wisdom and I learned that planning can be a killer for spontaneity. I came to realize that most of my memorable experiences were a result of spontaneous actions and encounters. So, I’ve changed or at least I am still trying… But then, I moved to Sweden where life gets complicated if you don’t plan ahead like the Swedes do. Swedes are well organized and masters in planning.
Living abroad made it easier for me to be more spontaneous in social life. My friends in the Netherlands have their calendars filled for weeks or months in advance but mine was usually pretty empty. We didn’t have a lot of social obligations and neither did most of our international friends so it was quite easy to get together spontaneously. Having lived in countries far less organized than the Netherlands, I learned how to go with the flow. I even got to appreciate a bit of chaos.
Planning: The Swedish Way
But now we live in Sweden where everybody seems to be well organized. Here you need to book a popular restaurant weeks in advance, sometimes even months. How do you know so far ahead if you will want to go out for dinner? It was easier in July when most people were on holiday, but now you need to be on top of your game again.
And when it comes to holidays, you better book them early. If it’s for a ski-break, accommodation for the weekend or for instance the ferry to Gotland, you shouldn’t wait till the last moment. Sweden is not known for being cheap and prices easily go up the longer you wait.
Room for spontaneity
Luckily Sweden has a lot to offer that doesn’t ask for any bookings. We are surrounded by beautiful nature and with ‘allemansrätten’or the right of public access you can camp in the wild all over Sweden; no bookings needed. That’s all lovely, especially during the summer. However, winter is coming up so you better start planning for Christmas and sportlov.
Written by Nicole Dekkers
‘I moved to Stockholm in August 2017 and I have been in love with the city ever since. I came here with my husband and our three teenagers. We’re a Dutch family and have lived in different parts of the world for the past 15 years. We feel fortunate to call Stockholm our home now. Travelling is our biggest passion and we can’t wait to explore more of Sweden and Scandinavia. Every move is a new adventure and I like sharing my experiences while getting accustomed to the Swedish culture.’