The travelling Odyssey and the -40ºC Illiade

Through the passing of the years, life has granted me the incredible opportunity to travel around some parts of the world. As a very young, naive and innocent fellow, after I turned 16 years old I went into an exchange year to Germany. Why there? I have no freaking idea, but I just knew I had to go. Have you ever got that feeling? You don’t know why, it’s just this inevitable and totally seductive feeling that takes your mind there with no obvious logical reason.

I will just point out that basically from that stage, my travelling obsession became an addictive drug that allowed me to travel around historical, fancy and majestic places; from the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro to a fancy martini cocktail bar in New York City; from the southern rainforest in Chiapas Mexico to the Highlands in Scotland + Paris + Dublin + London + Madrid + Germany + North-Central Italy + Budapest +++. Some with ex-lovers, some with family, some because of work, most only by myself. Although it may not look like it, (bloody mexican basterd) the list is actually not as long as I would like; Asia and Africa are still in the bucketlist, but I will not entertain you this time with the ridiculous amusing stories about this. This time is about an absolutely new travelling experience I finished some hours ago.

As you might or not know, I currently reside in Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden is a lovely land full of water, trees, engineers, cold weather, physically irresistible female beings, IKEA and meatballs. But there is something very special that just blew up my mind when I found out about it, and this is called the northern lights or as an expert would say “Aurora Borealis”.

My intrinsic reaction as a traveller when a friend and master program partner said “Hey, you wanna go to Lapland?” was “Well yeah, why not?” A standard and naive excitement reaction to something that I consider to be in my top 3 life experiences now. But off we went, around 1300 km from Stockholm up to the north of Sweden; myself and 7 other student lads staying in a cozy and 100% electricity-free log cabin, about 40 km from Kiruna (the closest town) and my favourite part, 4 days of being totally disconnected from the world. Literally.

It was around 4:00 pm, there was no sunlight anymore, it was cloudy and my bones were revealing to my soul when I got out of the car and felt the -40ºC for the 1st time in my life. Just like summer mexican time. The owner of the cabin, a mid 40’s swedish male, absolutely kind with a constant emotionless/happy face. We received instructions and there were we, feeding the fire with fresh wood into the stove to keep the cabin warm, cutting wood with an axe (#mexicanviking), using tons of candles as light source, having to go to the bathroom to either a tree or to a wood “letrina” and playing cards and boardgames. The facility also has a homemade sauna, which is very typical in the scandinavian and russian regions. The work principle is simple: go into a room at 60-70ºC, feel the heat, embrace the steam, open your lunges, go crazy and run outside to roll into the snow for 15-20 seconds, go into the mid-room of the sauna to regulate the body temperature, go into the sauna and repeat. The result is something similar to an after sex moment; you either fucking love it or you miserably hate it.

The following days were satisfactory fulfilled with dog sledging (#godblesshuskeys), driving snowmobiles, frozen waterfalls, snowball fights, majestic landscapes, walking on frozen lakes + one of the most scary moments of my life when 2 deep strikes came out from the frozen lake as if Poseidon was saying “fuck off”, moose and rain deers walking on the roadway, 170 cans of beer and a terrace with literally, the most beautiful view EVER. Yes, EVER.

It was friday night, around 9:00 pm, sky clear and we were happily having dinner and lynching ourselves in this cool roll game called “Mafia” when the beautifulness stroke down. Green lights were crossing the sky as if the sun flares touching earth’s magnetic field were alive, dancing, swirling and enjoying as if we were the audience and the firmament was the scenario. Lights that went from green, to purple, pink and white. Lights that made me smile for about 10 minutes just because I was a witness of this incredible and superb natural spectacle. An extra sexy voice saying “And this is the Aurora Borealis…” and a National Geographic documentary would have been in the play.

And then the sky went dark, filled only by the light of the stars while snowy trees and ourselves looked up with open mouths.

I know all this sounds amazing but…is this why I think this is in my top 3 experiences? No. I felt energetically fully recharged, thought of my family, friends and even “J”. But it was not this either. I’ll quote one of my favourite movies: “Happiness only real when shared”. And I was fortunate enough to be able to share with others and equally they shared this with me. It is this simple fact of sharing with 7 other persons, of different countries and cultures, ways of thinking and personalities.

The result?

A 17 hour train trip back home and a whole trip that made me happy.

100-fucking-% happy.

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