And Then, I Moved to Stockholm…

Regal statue in the center f the square in Stockholm, SwedenI’ve been preparing for it so long now that it doesn’t seem like it’s really happening, but today is the day I move to Sweden. As you read this (as long as you read this on Monday), I’m boarding a flight to Stockholm, where I’ll spend the rest of the year.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’m nervous or excited or scared to be moving there, but to be honest, today I don’t really feel anything. It seems like a normal day—like I’m just off to another destination. You’d think a big life change like this would elicit bigger emotions from me, but I’ve been so busy over the last few months that I haven’t had time to really think about it. I was finishing my book, attending four conferences (speaking at two of them!), crossing the Pacific a few times, and trying to live life. It was why I was so burnt out. I overextended myself, and as such Stockholm has been on the back burner of my mind.

But as I finally begin to think about my move, all I can think about are all the things I have to do and how stressed I am about getting them done. On my immediate list:

  • Find an apartment
  • Finish sorting out my visa
  • Sign up for weekly Swedish classes
  • Find a gym
  • Figure out how to host my friends in August
  • Make lots of friends
  • Find time to explore other parts of Sweden
  • Explore every inch of Stockholm

How am I going to cram all of that into five months and still find time to get out of the country once in a while and travel?!

Stressful.

Well, at least in my head.

I’ve never really planned a big move before. Most of my moves have sort of just happened naturally because I decided to stay somewhere longer. I mean, is this how it normally goes when you move somewhere? Is your initial excitement masked by the weight of all of your plans and things you think you have to do?

I have no idea if I’m going to like living in Stockholm. I love Stockholm, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world, but will I be able to cope with the fact that I’m in ONE place for so long? What will this nomad do? It’s been years since I’ve stayed in a single place for more than a month, and even small trips might not be enough to get me by. If travel is breaking out of your comfort zone and trying new things, not traveling is my traveling.

On the flip side, all those things that are stressing me out are the same reasons why I’m excited to live in Stockholm. It’s sort of ironic. I can’t wait to learn Swedish, get up into Sweden’s arctic north, have a base of operations, take weekend trips around Europe, have a gym, and settle down.

I’m really excited to move to Sweden, but right now, my excitement is a bit tempered by all the things on my to-do list, even if those are the very things drawing me there in the first place. In a few weeks, when I’m all settled down, I’ll probably feel like shouting, “Holy crap, I’m living in Sweden!!!” and start jumping up and down, but right now, I’m looking forward to landing, hitting the ground running, and settling into my new…home.

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56 Comments
  1. Hej,

    I am also moving to Stockholm and currently looking for an apartment. I know you have a few Swedish friends but if you do need any help with anything then let me know, as I am going through all the same processes myself (namely apartment, SFI classes and gym memberships). I also have plenty of friends who have moved to Stockholm so they might be able to help with any relocation issues.

    If you don’t need help but just need a friend then I’ll oblige there too, I am currently planning a trip from Stockholm to Helsinki on the ferry for September. You are more than welcome to join!

    Hope to see you in Sweden.
    Hej då!

  2. Best of luck! Moving can certainly be stressful especially with all the annoying things that need to be sorted out in the process. At the end of the day when you’re finally settled in it will all be in the past and you’ll just be able to enjoy your new place in a new country!

  3. Efrutik

    “I mean, is this how it normally goes when you move somewhere?” – don’t know Matt, but I feel the same. You are 39 days ahead of me in a similar situation, but I feel like you at times. That my “initial excitement is masked by the weight of all of your plans and things you think you have to do.” Yep, that’s how it is for me at the moment. Gosh I still have so much to do before the move. Happy coming to Sweden Matt, wishing you the most positive and chill vibes :)

  4. Excited for you, Matt! I can identify with how you’re feeling — the busyness and feeling pressure to get so much done in a short amount of time. We’re moving to China in a few weeks and are going through the same thing! I’m sure once we’re there, we’ll be excited once we git a little settled in. Looking forward to more of your adventures!

  5. Lucas

    Sounds fun! I’m also spending some time in Sweden this summer….
    It’s my first time in Europe, and I’m all by myself ( I’m 14). I’ll be staying over with different family friends and hostels throughout my trip. I will be taking a swedish course in Uppsala, but after that, I’m going to venture Sweden!!I’m planning on starting a blog and posting something everyday.

    Well, enjoy your time in Stockholm, maybe I’ll run into you as I’m strolling in Gamla Stan.

    Lycka till!

  6. Ashley

    I moved to Oslo last August and after settling into a general routine with school and stuff you start forgetting you’re in a foreign country. But then, out of the the blue every once and a while it’ll hit you that you are in Europe and not wherever home has always been before. it’s awesome.

  7. burn burn burn

    Most people would’ve put it on the back burner but NM put it on the back burner OF HIS MIND. That is one very smart, if not always idiomatic, burner.

  8. Erica

    Good luck. I’ll be back in sweden next week if you need any help from an expat who has navigated the system.

  9. Congratulations on the move, Matt!

    It will settle down, I promise. To answer your question: yes, the initial excitement is masked by stress, anxiety, and a swirling to-do list that is made even more daunting by the fact that it occurs in a foreign land.

    I moved to the Netherlands last year, and dealt with the same things. I moved in with my Dutch boyfriend, who helped with a lot of the legal stuff and the whole finding a place to live thing, but other than that I was on my own as far as acclimating.

    You are an experienced traveler, and I’m sure you adjust to new life and new cultures easily. As far as learning to settle down, that’s your own demon – but you can conquer it just like you’ve conquered all the other fears that have arisen in your five years of exploration.

    In addition to being a personal challenge, this will also be a wonderful new opportunity. I think the best thing to do is to LET GO. Don’t over-analyze and dwell, don’t worry about how you “should” feel, don’t worry about what you “should” be doing (traveling vs. not traveling) – just be. It’s a strong psychological power to acquire, but if you embrace the exhilarating idea of finally living in a place you love, relaxing for the first time in ages, and enjoying the access of Europe’s playground at your fingertips, it should start to come naturally.

    Good luck and most importantly, have FUN!

  10. Wow!! Its kind of exciting and at the same time a bit of nervousness grips you when you move to a new place!! But it will all fall into place with time!

  11. Hi Matt

    I got one question , how do you get to stay in Sweden for one year? How do you get the PR?

    Maybe you can write and tell us how to migrate to other countries?

    Thanks

    Linda

  12. Very cool – congrats on making the leap to settle down for a bit!

    I’m currently trying to decide on a place to settle down for a bit after I visit Bali in August to attend Startup Abroad — it’s between South America and NYC at this point. Or SE Asia again. Decisions, decisions…

    Keep us posted on your Swedish adventures..

  13. Congratulations Matt!
    I love anything about Stockholm, especially the non-dark nights in the summer, and the public saunas on the archipelago!

    Awaiting your Stockholm tips, I’ll be back there soon!

  14. You should move to Gothenburg if you can’t find a place to stay in Stockholm. Stockholm is just too filled with Stockholmers to be truly great. 😛

  15. Please move to Copenhagen if you can’t find an apartment in Stockholm? I need somewhere to have breakfast after I am done at the morning clubs. On the real though, hope it was a great first week – I know I had fun! Everything is going to fall in place in some way or another, don’t you worry :)

  16. Cant wait to hear more about your time here! I’ve heard that the vibe in Scandinavian countries is really different from the U.S. and that people are much more laid-back.. and that also, most people don’t lock their bikes on the street because chances are that someone won’t ever steal it? I would never dream of such a thing! Looking to hear more as I am thinking of a potential place to study abroad…

  17. Good luck, mate! Can’t wait to hear about the adventures over there, not to mention the cooler weather, its about 40 here in Spain and I’m withering away to nothing from the heat.

  18. Henric

    Best of luck Matt :) Hope you will like it here in Sweden. Let me know if you need any guidance or tips here in Stockholm :)

  19. Emelie

    Welcome to Stockholm!
    If you want a private Swedish teacher, or any help to settle down here in Sweden, let me know! And if you get bored, there are a lot of interesting things to discover in the surroundings.
    /Emelie

  20. Jenna

    Hey Matt!

    I came across your blog as I am (was) planning to go to Sweden for 6 months next year while my partner studies in Stockholm. While we were applying for his uni exchange I had seen that Sweden and Australia have a working holiday visa agreement so I wasn’t too worried about getting in to the country, however its turning out that it might not be that easy! I read your post, “How to (Legally) Stay in Europe for More Than 90 Days”, it was awesome! I will look at doing some travel outside the Schengen zone, but it still probably wouldn’t buy me enough time.

    I just wanted to know what you ended up doing for your visa? Did you get a french visa? From looking on the net french visas seem a little more strict about you living in france while holding the visa and not as straight forward as getting a french visa and skipping off to Sweden.

    I am hoping to leave in 2 months (obviously I have left it late – I didn’t expect a potential 8 month waiting list!) so any last minute help would be super appreciated.

    Thanks!

  21. Carl

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