Sunday, September 20, 2009

Final Entry Hitch Around Sweden

And so once again I am home, quite a relief because it has been an exhausting journey but I already do start to miss the road and meeting all the new exciting people, after being home for only 3 days.
Let me first show you the statistics of this trip:

Days hitched: 50
Distance hitched: 7700 kilometres
Number of cars: 208
Money spent: 685,50 SEK (400,50 SEK)
Average spent a day: 13,17 SEK (8,01 SEK)
Weight lost: 8 kilograms

50 is a great number of days to see a country the size of Sweden, sure I haven’t seen all the places I wanted, quite far from it but you can’t see everything now can you?
Sweden is also a quite large country in EU standards so it became quite a few kilometres to go around.
208 cars may seem a lot and quite hard to imagine when you know about the famous Swedish attitude. Sure I have had good days and bad days, but all the people that have picked me up have all been very friendly. People often asked me if it really is possible to hitch in Sweden because how closed in the Swedish mentality is and has become, but the people that lock themselves in and are afraid of strangers never pick me up, so I don’t get to meet these people. The people that do pick me almost always are very friendly and social and do want me in their car and like to help other people out, also very often they have stood there once themselves on the side of the road and know how frustrating it can be.

Then there is the budget limit, the primary issue/challenge of this trip.
Before I started this trip I did a quick calculation to see how much a person could live on food wise, and came to the conclusion that 20 SEK would be enough. I added 5 SEK for unexpected expenses like toothpaste, kitchen fuel and etc. Then I set out on the road with a goal not to spend more then this amount on average a day.
How has it gone? Well as you can see it has gone very well! In total I spent 658,50 SEK which makes it an incredible 13,17 a day. But 3 people on this trip have also insisted on giving me money, 258 SEK in total. So this means that this trip in total cost me personally 400,50 SEK, 8 SEK a day!
None of this of course would have been possible without the great and helpful people that picked me up and helped me by giving me a ride and much more, and of course my friends that let me leech on them for a night or two.
But to really live on a tight budget like this you have to have to be very disciplined, never spend money on anything else then food (of the 658,5 SEK 30 was spent on a entry in Orrefors, the rest has been on food in supermarkets) that you prepare yourself. So I have lived on mashed potatoes/rice/pasta in the evenings and mixed it with beans or tuna. And in the mornings I’ve eaten the cheapest muesli and dry milk, sure it might have been better to make some oat porridge but then I would have had to spend expensive fuel.
I also have picked and eaten wild cherries, blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, chantarelles, raspberries, apples, wild strawberries, crowberries and more so I have been getting some much needed vitamins in me.
But as I finally arrived back home I wouldn’t have made it another day without buying new toothpaste, fuel for my kitchen, tape for the feet and I was also completely out of all food.
As you can understand this trip has been really exhausting both mentally and physically, standing hour after hour on the side of the road, one day it’s pissing down and the next the sun is burning your skin. You never know how far you will get that day, where you will sleep that night or in how many days you will have your next shower. Sleeping badly every night, living on the cheapest food you can find and hiking 10-20 kilometres some days. Always forced to have a positive attitude and being really friendly and social to everyone that picks you up.
I do love the challenge, but it is exhausting and these 50 days I have lost 8 kilograms (was down to 74 kilograms when I got home, being 193cm long that is really low especially considering I weighed 92 kilos the first time I went to Oz.)

It is always interesting to go see your own country, and more people should do it. There is really a lot to see in Sweden, tons of old castles, churches, ancient monuments and similar, but also a lot of nature being one of the bigger but least populated places in Europe.
One sad thing I noticed travelling the north, and which has been talked a lot about is all the small towns. Its only elderly people living there, the schools have all shut down and so has the petrol stations, so it’s quite impossible for a young couple with children to move there which means in another 15-20 years all this small old towns will completely die out. It’s also very noticeable in the bigger populated towns that don’t have big industry like a mine to support them like Jokkmokk which have lost more then half of it’s population since the 60s.

So now I am home again, getting back lost sleep and doing my best to regain my weight for my next trip. On the 12th of October me and Veronica are leaving for Malaysia, Bali, Australia and eventually New Zealand. Not planning to hitch in Malaysia and Bali but might do in Oz and NZ. If I do I will let you know and write about it here.

And last but far from least, HUGE thanks to everyone that picked me up and helped me on this trip and my girlfriend and friends Veronica, Christoffer, Nils, Isabelle and Anders. It would never been possible without you!

Thanks to everyone reading this, hope you have enjoyed it. Comments and critique is very welcome so I know if you like it and if there are things that can be improved :)

edit: Also for anyone interested, I have added on the map where I hitched in Australia.


Drei said...

congratulations yet again!!

~~M A R i E~~ said...

Snart åker ju ni!! =)

Unknown said...

Lycka till på nästa resa! :D

Anonymous said...

That was a great read again, Helgur!

Bulge aka Michael.

Joakim Sandgren said...

Mäktigt imponerad...

Edgardo Azabache from Peru said...

Hi Simon
I justa finished reading your trip into Sweden...i found it quite interesting and made me remember those days , last year , i spent in your country....i coild not visit those places you have bee at but maybe next time i will...i was in Lund, Gothenburg and Stockolm....i liked your country.
Readin your blog makes feel planning another trip ..i was in Europe 3 times and planning to go back very soon.
I will be reading your new entries to the blog referreing your new adventures....and it will make me feel like visiting those places as i am planning to go to Malaysia too.
Well Simon I really hope you will come to visit Southamerica someday, i am sure you will like it.

Sibbe The Hitcher said...

Hey Edgardo, always happy to hear from a fellow hitcher :) If you go back to Sweden again go visit the north!
And I do want to go to South America, just want to learn some basic Spanish before I do!