From Denmark we decided to take a train up to Sweden. This was a fun trip that took us over the water. From the very start our time in Sweden was a little strange. We got off the train and were told Jason could not get in without his passport. He asked if they’d be so kind as to double check with their supervisors since that worked getting into Denmark. They agreed to check, but said it’d probably be a no. We waited off to the side for a while by the little police station. A cop ran back down the platform and there was some commotion going on with all of their walkie talkies.
Eventually one of the police came over and said, “Well, it’s your lucky day. A woman just tried to commit suicide.”
So there we were, allowed to go into Sweden because all of the border police were too busy in that moment with a situation that was bigger than ours. He said that under normal procedure they would not have let Jason in. It is a strange thing to receive good news and bad news at the same time. This was the second time something like this happened and ended up helping us out, the other time being when a bad crash in Airolo, Switzerland ended up getting us a ride with a man who let us stay with him and his family for nearly a week in Zurich.
Dazed by the information that someone had just tried to jump in front of the tracks, we walked down the platform not knowing where to go next. We were just relieved we got to go somewhere other than back the way we’d come.
Then we saw her. She was to our left sitting down, facing away from us. Four or so police were around her. She was shaking, but silent, and blood was dripping from her arms to the ground. The news had obviously been sad, but seeing her sitting there after her life flashed before her eyes because she deliberately tried to take it, was very real. Yet how surreal for us to end up in the same place at the same time, but feel like we were worlds away. I felt so helpless walking by her. This fellow human whose life had gotten so difficult that she didn’t think it was worth it anymore. I wanted to comfort her, to say something, pretty much anything… but we walked on and left the station.
We had gotten off at the first stop in Sweden, planning to hitchhike the rest of the time. It was a small city and we wandered trying to find a place to hitchhike. I was in a weird mood. I couldn’t get the sight of the girl out of my head. Who was she? She could have been anyone. She could’ve been the girl in front of you in line at the supermarket, the person you accidentally bump into getting off the bus, she really could have been anyone. You never know what people are going through. I still think about her.
Anyways. Welcome to Sweden.
We found a spot to hitchhike, not the best spot, but we got picked up pretty quickly nonetheless. In the meantime I snapped some pictures through the wild flowers of the giant head statue in the distance.
Our next ride was also successful, but in general Sweden was the hardest country for us to hitchhike in. Whereas before we would always get picked up under a half hour, sometimes even just a few minutes, some of our waiting time in Sweden was for many hours, and every single night we were there we ended up giving up on hitchhiking for the day and finding a place nearby in the woods to string up our hammock (nights were pretty cold!). We weren’t there for too many days because at this point we really needed to get to Norway (which is where we were both flying out of next) so that Jason would have enough time to apply for a new passport and receive it before his flight to Svalbard.
A few different rides that did end up picking us up mentioned that a few years ago road piracy was a problem in Sweden, and that could be why people were less likely to pick us up there. One woman said she was happy to see us hitchhiking, that it is a tradition she’d like to see come back. The people we rode with were obviously not afraid we were pirates, and all such great, yet very different, people. We had two guys on the way from a fishing trip get us once. Then a man on duty driving a truck. He was in Sweden trying to save up money to send back to his mother in Syria so she could afford cancer treatment. A woman who had just gotten off from a really bad day at work and figured her day could only improve. By the end of the ride she said it was a true pleasure to meet us and that her day was a lot better. A mother and daughter originally from Russia who were driving to The Russian Embassy to renew their passports…
I would love to get to go back to Sweden and spend more time there. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous.
We ended up at a big shopping center near all the major freeways. We weren’t very far from Norway now. As all of the other nights- it got dark and cold and we walked around to find some good trees to camp in. The next day we started hitchhiking again, but eventually resigned to taking a bus that would take us all the way up to Oslo, Norway where there was an American Embassy. There was a bus stop close by so we walked over and waited…
Would Norway let Jason in without his passport? Would he get a new one in time for his flight?! Stay tuned!