#MySweden: ‘Everything I want is at my fingertips here’

In our #MySweden series, The Local's readers take over our Instagram account to introduce each other to towns and neighbourhoods across Sweden. Today, Lindsey LaMont from the USA talks about life in Barkarby.

#MySweden: 'Everything I want is at my fingertips here'
Lindsey LaMont. Photo: Private
How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?
I am 33, and my weekdays are commuting to work, shopping, grabbing a late night movie, or an AW with friends! I work as the Brand Manager for Truecaller, which is a tech company located in the heart of Stockholm. My weekends are full of exploring and taking photos of the forest, managing my travel blog, playing video games, or doing some art project.
Where in Sweden do you live? 
I live in Barkarby, a suburb in Järfälla in the outskirts of Stockholm.





Into the woods. That is what my life has been up to this point. The forest is dark, unpredictable and to some…frightening to go in without a flashlight. Life bursts on the ground you walk, the cool droplets of rain that fall from the leaves, the trees creak in the silence, and every now and then you see a deer or fox to give you comfort. ↟ When you make the choice to move somewhere far and foreign, like I did to Stockholm, it is like that forest without a flashlight. It’s unknown what is around the trail bend and if you will survive it all or just run back to where you came from – afraid of what’s ahead. But if you follow the trail, what will you learn about yourself? About life? ↟ For me, I chose to go into the dark of the forest, and to all those curious about moving abroad, are you coming in with me? ? @seattlelovely #MySweden #Stockholm #Sweden #travel #moveabroad #forestphotography #moodygrams #exploremore #womenwhowander

Ein Beitrag geteilt von The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) am Okt 29, 2018 um 11:38 PDT

When and why did you move to your city/neighbourhood? 
My sambo and I had lived in various places around the northern suburbs of Stockholm since moving to Sweden in 2012, and like any newcomer to Stockholm, we were only finding second-hand contracts that were six-months or one-year non-extendable. After a couple years of playing apartment roulette, we found ourselves at the top of a first-hand contract apartment queue for a new development in Barkarby. Getting a first-hand is so difficult, so we jumped at the chance no matter where it took us. There were barely any apartments built in the area, and ours wasn't even finished when we checked out the area! We moved to Barkarby in 2016 and have been there ever since.
What do you love the most about your city/neighbourhood? 
I love that my apartment is in the middle of a concrete jungle meets forest. Meaning, I can walk a couple minutes west and visit the Stockholm Quality Outlet mall, Ica Maxi and Ikea, and if I walk east I will find myself in the middle of a vast forest, trails, lakes and animal pastures where I can spend hours getting lost in nature. I have the best of both worlds and it doesn't hurt they are building a tunnelbana (subway) in 2020 just outside my apartment building! Everything I want is at my fingertips here.
What annoys you the most about your city/neighbourhood?
Mostly transportation things! I am thankful that the pendeltåg (commuter train) is about a 10-minute walk (or four-minute bus ride) and a tunnelbana is coming in 2020, but since my apartment is surrounded by all the big outlet stores, sometimes when going to meet my friends in downtown Stockholm, the buses are packed tight on weekends which means I have to wait for the next bus if they are all full (or walk to Barkarby station, which isn't bad). 
Another thing that is a bit harder is the fact that the pendeltåg stops around 11.40pm on weekdays, and 1.40am on weekends – which means late nights with friends or events can be cut short or you pay 500 kronor for a taxi ride.
How should I spend a day in your city/neighbourhood?
Obviously you have to visit the outlet mall for the deals! I would suggest taking a walk to Säbysjön and visit the horses and Highland Cow herds. You can get lost in the trails of the forests, discover small lakes and picnic benches nestled among the trees. The fields of purple and gold wildflowers lining typical Swedish red barns in the summer are endless and you can forget you're within walking distance to Ikea. There is a famous bird watching station through a trail in the woods and you can see different types of birds nesting during the spring. Sunsets are quite beautiful listening to the crickets chirp while the sun is going down.





Do you like plants? Tell me your favorite kind in the comments ? Winter means loading my home with plants I cannot kill. My dream is to make my living space my own little secret garden! Barkarby is a cool place to live because it is home to @plantagensverige, a giant greenhouse I can simply walk to ? I am so great with plants, I think I might be a whisperer. ? BUT I am not good with fruit bearing plants. I bought a Trinidad Scorpion pepper plant (hottest pepper in the world ?) and although the flowers kept dropping and not forming peppers…my plant is about 1.5 meters tall and still growing in the winter months. Insane. #MySweden #Barkarby #Sweden #cactus #plants

Ein Beitrag geteilt von The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) am Okt 31, 2018 um 12:59 PDT

What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your city/neighbourhood?
There are big herds of Highland Cows (and baby cows in the spring!) roaming around freely. It also is not that far away from t-central. Just a four-stop pendeltåg ride and you're here!

Why do you think people prefer to live in the city rather than suburbs? 
I understand if some people just love being in the city with the views. But I think people believe that in order to be 'in the scene' means you need to live in the city centre. Coming from the US, being from the suburbs around a city is more ideal as people get older. I think that has always rubbed off on me being abroad even if the locals don't see it that way. I can tell you, in my seven years of living outside the city centre, I have never missed one night out with friends in the city, events, or work opportunities. I pay cheaper rent, have a bigger and newer apartment, and access to amazing air quality in the Swedish countryside. Plus, give me 40 minutes' notice, and I can be walking the streets of Stockholm alongside my city-dwelling buddies. The best of both worlds is ideal!
You can follow Lindsey LaMont on Instagram here. Do you want to be The Local's next #MySweden Instagram takeover host? Click HERE to apply.

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How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules