I've been lucky in my career to have worked in many countries and lived in quite a few. A few years ago I was sent to the Nordics to manage a team here. I'd been quite recently widowed and leaving the Balkans for the North of Europe was a pleasant change, away from sad memories.
I was initially based in Helsinki but after a couple of years I moved to Stockholm. To cut a long story short, I met a lady:) During further postings to Moscow and Amsterdam we became ever closer, and it became a simple decision for me when it came time to decide where I wanted to retire to. We married, and today Irina and I live in Nynashamn, a small seaside town at the very Southern tip of the Stockholm archipelago.
As with many others, Brexit focused my thoughts and I spent many long days considering the future. Finally I realised that I didn't miss the UK at all, except for family and friends - and British sausages.
The sausage question was easily solved when I discovered a really good British butcher in Stockholm and as I watched Britain from afar, I knew that I never wanted to go back there to live again. In 2020 I applied for Swedish citizenship, and am now the proud holder of two passports.
So why Sweden, apart from my lovely and long suffering wife? In terms of culture and society, that's quite a big topic and it will be the subject of a future post.
But there is another, more practical reason; Sweden is a beautiful country with a low population density. Nature and the wilderness are easily reachable, even from our few big cities.
And we still have distinct seasons, which has always calmed my soul. Perhaps the seasons are not as different as they used to be because of climate change, but it's still wonderful to experience them. A clear cloudless winter's day with the sun sparkling off the snow. Spring leaves and flowers bringing life back to the forest. Baking next to the sea or a lake in the height of summer. Collecting berries and mushrooms as the autumn paints the trees gold and red. What's not to love?