One of my many reasons for moving to London is to travel other cities in Europe. Traveling isn't something I've done a lot of so I'm excited to finally see more of the world. I went on my first lil trip at the end of October to Stockholm, Sweden. It's somewhere I've always wanted to see but never thought I'd go there so soon. 

The idea came up when I was looking at tour dates for one of my favourite artists, Jorja Smith. She released her first full album, Lost & Found, in June, and it's been on repeat — front to back —ever since. It's rare that I enjoy a full album beginning to end. My attention span mixed with my music taste means I get obsessed with one song or album and play it over and over. I've also watched Jorja take over the R&B music world with this album and knew this first full tour would be something so precious and special. One I couldn't miss. 

Her tour sold out across Europe. Except in one city. Without hesitation, I bought my ticket and booked a flight to Stockholm. 

Stockholm is the first city I'd been to where English wasn't the common language. While I expected to feel quite lost, and I did geographically-speaking, the city felt similar to Canada to me. The fresh air, greenery, open spaces, wider roads, and the people were so friendly. It was comforting to experience a culture so similar yet so far away, especially as I've never been out of Canada for this long. 

Jorja was JUSTTTTTTTTTTT!!! Just just. When she first came on stage, she was a bit shy but had this silent confidence. Her presence was sweet and gentle yet powerful and honest. She sings so effortlessly her lips barely move but her voice travels straight to the soul. She expressed a lot of gratitude to her fans and I adored this about her. 

Not pictured: the fact that I had to spend all day resting and pull myself out of bed to go to the concert. Prior to travelling, I had a cold virus that was lingering for a few weeks and the flight and air pressure made it worse. I spent a lot of time alone in my hotel eating cough drops, popping Swedish medicine tablets, and creating piles of used tissues. I felt this overwhelming sense of being alone and introspective — in a way that wasn't transformational or teaching to me. It was an uncomfortable introspection that made me realize how much people energize me. I truly am an extrovert and in this situation I didn't feel like I could make friends in the little time I spent there, especially not knowing the language. I'm learning that it's okay to feel vulnerable and need people. I'm trying to be more gentle with myself. 

Despite being so ill, I did my best to make the most of my trip and enjoy the quiet moments. Looking back, this trip was more testing, emotional, dark, and deep than I ever expected and I don't hate it. 

I spent my mornings walking around and trying all of the pastries at Vete-Katten — a Stockholm institution. I went shopping of course and have to say I like the fashion sense — potentially more than London — sorry bub. It's minimal but architectural and interesting. They also had very Canada-esque outdoor clothing stores which I found amusing. 

I visited the museum of modern art and ate real Swedish meatballs. I spent an embarrassing amount of time in the grocery store analyzing all the Swedish foods. If you want to learn about culture in a new city, visit the grocery store. Seriously. 

I walked through the downtown core as the light began to dim (around 3 pm) and listened to another one of my favourite artists who happens to be from Stockholm: Veronica Maggio. I remember discovering her music in Canada and only dreaming of visiting Stockholm some day. This was a truly special can't believe this is happening moment. It made me realize that anything I can dream up, I can experience. 

As I was sad to leave and still miss the fresh air, I am glad to be back in my new home. I missed you, London! 

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