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Posted by / 16-Mar-2015 01:16

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My recent three-week visit to Sweden was my third time there, and I finally feel like I’m beginning to get a sense of the nation’s distinct culture.

I had planned to travel the country, but I got stuck in Stockholm — not that that’s bad.

I love the city, and being in one place afforded me the opportunity to spend extended time with my friends and get to know the city more.

I also watched a giant bonfire ceremony for Valborg, the Swedish celebration of spring. Overall, the three weeks provided me a lot of insight into the Swedish culture. Because I know locals who have welcomed me into their private lives with open arms.

I can go to countless countries and stay with friends (locals) who are happy to show me around, friends who will take me to Easter at Grandmother’s house, an impromptu town BBQ event, a birthday party, or Christmas at their in-laws’.

It’s easy for me to get a taste of local life, because I have many people willing to show it to me.

I spent Swedish Easter at my friend’s grandmother’s house, where I went on an egg hunt (Grandmother insisted) and played a game called “tipspromenad.” It’s a trivia contest combined with a scavenger hunt — incredibly fun (though I didn’t know any of the answers! Having traveled full-time for nearly five years, I’ve made friends from around the world.

It’s the same for anyone who has traveled — you’re going to meet people from all around the world that you can visit.

But when you’re in a new destination and don’t know anyone, it’s not as easy!

It’s true that locals want to show the best their country has to offer, so they give advice, converse, and share a few pints at the bar.

Travel writing is often filled with stories of chance encounters in subways and at cafés, encounters that end up with the writer jetting off to some event or celebration that opens a window into local life that other travelers rarely get to see.

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While these are great stories, they create a romantic picture that makes people think that all travel is like that.