And thus, we have reached the end of our journey.
I, wrapped in blankets; my mother, asleep in the bed next to mine.
We are party animals, but only in the hours betwixt 7 AM and 9 PM.
Tonight, a large glass of red wine has left me slightly light headed and doubly giddy, but mostly content.
The past ten days have been so filled with magic and adventure, with brilliance and awe. I am beyond stuffed with memories and am bursting with dreams.
We arrived in Stockholm yesterday morning.
After dropping off our luggage at the hotel, my mum and I spent the morning walking all around the city, beginning in the Norrmalm district, before moving on to Galma Stan.
We visited the parliament and the royal palace and the king’s garden esplanade. The Stockholm triathlon was taking place, and we had a chance to cheer on the athletes as they completed the running portion of their races.
I love being able to play bystander to athletic events: watching competitors is always so incredibly inspiring, and it reminds me about the amazing travel opportunities afforded to athletes who compete in different events around the globe.
I really need to start looking into the international half-marathon circuit, stat.
From the race we strolled along the many waterfronts, marvelling at all of the beautiful streets and outdoor restaurants.
Stockholm truly is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. I have such a hard time describing the effect it has on me and the way it makes my heart quiver and quake.
The sunlight on the Riddarfjorden is like a million tiny fireworks exploding in unison.
The apartments and hotels that border the waterways are all unique and breathtaking in their architecture and colour; they are small but timeless castles, cloaked in history. One might imagine that their inhabitants do not age, they only grow cleverer with each passing day.
The people are tall and beautiful.
The men have amazing beards. Then women have amazing hair.
Everyone rides bicycles in suits.
After eating lunch outside of the city library, we slowly strolled back to the hotel, and I purchased a dress and a skirt.
This morning, I woke early and strapped on my running shoes. The moment I caught my first glimpse of Stockholm’s waterfront, I knew that I would regret if I left never having had the chance to run throughout the city.
My route took me twelve kilometers, across the downtown core, along waterways, and through parks. The entire time I was out, I had to keep reminding myself that my life was real; that I was here in this glorious city, doing one of my most treasured loves.
I wish sometimes that I ran with a phone, even though I know I never will. I want those moments to exist exactly as they should: transient and fleeting, gone in a flash and yet exquisitely burned in my memory and heart.
Today my mum and I walked the entire length of Djurgarden, an amazing public garden the boasts canals, amusements parks, palace residences, sprawling greenspace, running trails, and much more. After walking for over four hours, we replenished our spirits and energy stores with cookies, cake, and tea.
Afterwards, I dropped my mother off at the hotel, and I continued on walking the length of the city.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the entire trip. All of the places we visited, all of the things that we did, all of the ideas we shared, all of the laughs we laughed, and most importantly all of the memories we made.
I thought about how we are made up of infinitesimal moments, seemingly too small to comprehend, and yet more powerful than we could ever know.
Life can seem arbitrary, or meaningless. I sometimes struggle with the systems and processes we have set up to govern society, and the enduring institutions that control those systems.
But to be so privileged to travel. To see the world. To open my heart to new places and people, to expand my mind and breathe new life into the spaces when existential cobwebs have grown sticky and dull.
What is such a life.
And to be able to do all of this with my mother – a woman of strength, intelligence, and bravery; who is a little bonkers, and a lot brilliant, and who says things like, “They must have a lot of big furniture here – like long beds and stuff. There’s definitely a demand for it” after seeing a particularly tall Swede walk by.
I will never take this time for granted.
I am the luckiest girl in the world.