You might have seen Parker Barry’s name dash across the pages of our magazine before, because she was an intern for us last year. One thing that drew us to her was her adventurous spirit, which is still going strong. The recent University of Puget Sound graduate uprooted her life in Tacoma to move to Sweden, where she’s been since early this summer. We tapped her brain to learn more about this recent move, and what other locals should know before traveling.
What sent you on this adventure?
When I was a junior at the University of Puget Sound, I studied abroad with a company called DIS in Copenhagen, Denmark. I lived in Europe for more than four months, and by the end of my stay there, I felt like I needed to come back. I spent a lot of my job searching after studying abroad looking for ways that I could use my love for journalism to help me live abroad again. Then I saw an opportunity with DIS as a marketing and communications assistant in Stockholm and decided to apply.
What was most surprising about this adventure?
I’d say the most surprising thing about picking up my life and moving to Stockholm was how easy it all felt. I really tried to just put one foot in front of the next, and before I knew it, I felt like I was home. The city is so welcoming, it can make you feel that way.
If others go, what should they absolutely fit into their itinerary?
If you visit Stockholm, definitely try to go on a boat tour. It’s such a beautiful way to see my favorite part of the city: the canals. Stockholm sits on a collection of 14 islands, so you’re not seeing the city if you don’t see it from the water.
What airline did you fly, and where did you stay?
I flew United Airlines, and at the moment, I’m living in an apartment in Vasastan, a gorgeous neighborhood in the city.
What is the best part of this experience so far?
I think what I love about Stockholm is that it doesn’t feel very touristy, so my favorite moments here are usually the ones that feel like I’m blending in. So far, lying out in the sun and going swimming in the canals with other locals has been a blast.
What was the coolest thing or things you have learned on this adventure about the people you met/or yourself?
I’ve learned that although Swedes or Scandinavians in general have a reputation for being a little cold, if you make the effort, they warm up really fast. You just have to be bold enough to weasel your way into their life. I also learned that almost no one eats peanut butter here, which has been a difficult adjustment!
What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Feel free to share more.
A warning to anyone traveling to Sweden in the summer. The sun barely sets! It dips below the horizon for a few hours but never gets truly dark. I was shocked when the sun was glaring through my window at 3 a.m. Invest in a sleeping mask or blinds or both (and ear plugs, because the birds chirp 24 hours a day).
Some more advice
Don’t worry about not knowing Swedish if you travel to Sweden. Everyone knows English here. I’ve found that some Swedes speak better English than I do.