Ever lose something? You know, like something really important? A prized possession? A pet? Your keys? Your sanity?
I’ve lost all of the above – and then some. But even I don’t lose things as much as Sweden does. Every summer the entire country goes missing.
It’s true. I think the police should put out missing persons posters all over town so people can find out where all the Swedes have gone. But wait, there’s a problem: all the police seem to be missing too.
So where the heck has everyone gone? That’s a good question.
I know a grand total of only one person who’s traveled exclusively in Sweden this summer: Vӓxjӧ student Gertrúd Larsson.
“I’ve only been to Stockholm this summer,” she says, “because many times it means I have to leave my cat with someone else.” But, she quickly points out, “I still like holidays, especially when I can leave Scandinavia.”
Her and apparently everyone else.
It makes no sense: this time of the year is when Sweden is by far the prettiest. Seriously, up in Norrland it’s about the only time parka-wearing isn’t necessary for your survival. And summer is the “high season” for Swedish tourism: you know, when everyone, their brother, and their goldfish decide to visit Stockholm or Gothenburg or some other city whose name they completely butcher.
Compare Sweden to where I usually study in Boise, Idaho: with highs around 20 degrees Celsius, Sweden is the perfect blend of not-too-hot-not-too-coldness that many folks dream about. It’s sunny for about 18 hours a day (even more up north), and water remains plentiful. Back in Boise, it’s usually over 35 degrees every day this time of year, and water becomes so scarce there’s sometimes government-imposed limits on how much you can use. Oh, and did I mention that Idaho typically leads the U.S. in the amount of land burned by fires every year? Gives the term “heat wave” a whole new meaning.
But back to the Case of the Missing Swedes. Someone should call a private eye. Or the FBI. Or Interpol. Or at least someone who can track them down. Because frankly, they’re all over the place.
Name the exotic locale, and you’re likely to find Swedes vacationing there. Thailand, Malta, Bali, Miami, Ibiza, Africa, the Canary Islands – all receive healthy amounts of Swedish visitors. My friend Julie just spent the last week in Cyprus. My buddy Martin decided to go to France twice – with a stop in Monaco along the way. And my friend Fanny visits Phuket, Thailand every year with her family.
I think you’re more likely to find a Swede who doesn’t travel this time of year. If such a person exists, I’m yet to meet them.
Maybe they have their reasons for traveling. There must be a reason there’s a travel agency every hundred meters throughout the country.
When your employer gives you several weeks of vacation per year, I’m sure that’s a plus. And when warmer climes are practically a hop, skip, and a jump away (O.K. so maybe it’s a three-hour plane ride, but it’s sure a lot closer than having to travel several hundred kilometers just to get to the next state over) I guess that helps too.
But wait! Let me explain! Sweden’s still a great place this time of year. It’s just that, well…
Hold that thought. I think I have a sunburn.