Friday, 10 May 2013

Travel Dreams: Our Swedish Kayaking Adventure

I haven't always had the means to travel and most of my big holidays have happened in the last couple of years. In the next 12 or so months I've booked trips to West Coast Scotland (my happy place), Australia, Les Gets and somewhere in Spain for a week long wedding celebration. I've definitely caught the travel bug!

I was lucky enough to fulfil one of my travel dreams last summer when my guy and I went kayaking in Sweden. For five days. All alone. Just us. And a boat full of stuff. It was AMAZING.

We flew to Sweden and spent a night in Stockholm where we explored a lot of the city centre, ate at a great Cajun place, slept on a boat hotel and got confused by it being light all the time (we went over midsummer for my birthday).

The Red Boat Hotel, Stockholm

The next day we travelled south to the St Anna archipelago where we were given a kayak, a tent and all the things we'd need then sent off out to sea for five days. We'd ordered all our food for the week which was there on arrival.

Internet, no word of a lie, this was the most incredible trip I've ever been on. The St Anna archipelago is made up of thousands of islands and you can camp wherever takes your fancy. You are literally the captain of your own ship (on reflection I wish I'd taken a Breton cap) and free to paddle off in whichever direction feels good in your gut (a quick navigation lesson beforehand didn't hurt). 

During the day we paddled for a few hours, stopped for lunch on a bank somewhere then paddled off again to find a good spot for the night. The front person navigated while the back person took control of the rudder and steered. Sometimes we paddled in silence just soaking up the surroundings, other times we talked about our childhoods or other trips we wanted to make. We talked about Lost A LOT and how sad we both were that it ended so badly. We climbed a hill and found a geocache which hadn't been found all year (PRIDE).

At night we quickly fell into a routine, I'd set up the tent and all our things and my guy would collect wood and built a fire pit. We made amazing dinners around the campfire and went to bed well-fed every night. One night we made pudding from dough that we wrapped around a stick and cooked over the flames. We were never bored and life moved at a deliciously slow pace (upon our return to London I'd forgotten how to walk in crowds). We had no internet but did make a video diary. We listened to old Adam and Joe podcasts and giggled away in our sleeping bags. This was our first holiday together as a couple and we were just so damn happy and content (still are, hasn't gone downhill since then!)

On our first night we accidentally camped near some wild sheep who were rather inquisitive about us and lurked around all night - not so great when you have to wee in a bush and are worried that a ram is going to come along and, quite literally, ram you over. Yes internet, I wee'd in a bush, this is the wilderness we're talking about. I also learned that there's no subtle way to disappear into the woods with a spade. ROMANCE.

On the last night we camped on an island so tiny that you could walk around it in less than ten minutes. There was a wild storm and I had to fashion extra guy-ropes out of string to keep us safe. We barely slept and both worried our kayak would float away (it didn't) but it was such an adventure. I don't think I've ever felt so powerful and confident and capable. We made a great team and were really proud of ourselves, and I still am actually.

We booked this trip with Do The North who we'd highly recommend and we're definitely planning to go back again. Go with your lover or your friends or your parents, just GO! I love to talk about this trip so if anyone has questions just ask.

This post is part of the Blog Every Day in May challenge


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  2. This looks like an amazing experience, very romantic too!

    Kerri x

  3. When I started reading this I cringed at the idea of five days on a kayak, but the more I read on the more amazing this trip sounded. I'm so jealous! Except for the spade in the woods... ;)

  4. Thanls ladies, it was incredible and writing this reminded me how much I want to go back!