The first flight

My first flight for the Watson (of six, minimum) was also probably the only nonstop flight I’ll take all year – and that was just the beginning of a full day of travel.

The night before I left, with all my stuff packed up, I stayed home with my parents and watched two travel-themed movies: Michael Moore’s Where Should We Invade Next? and Lost in Translation. The former wasn’t what I expected based on the name. It’s a bittersweet look at the flaws of the U.S. and what we could learn from other countries around the world (especially a few Scandinavian countries) in terms of how to live life more beautifully and how humans can be kinder to each other. The latter I had seen a few years ago but wanted to re-watch because, as you can imagine, it feels more pertinent now that I know I’m finally making my way to Japan.

The next day, I said goodbye to my parents, and to my dog…

With all my gear (I’m wearing the Osprey detachable backpack too, and it’s pretty thin):

me with stuff

I finally landed in the Stockholm-Arlanda airport, and then I took a bus to the Stockholm Centralstation. I barely saw Stockholm, but what I did see looked beautiful. From the Centralstation, I took a 4-hour train to Gothenburg through the countryside. It’s called the Blå Tåget, or “Blue Train.” It’s a very pretty, old-fashioned train that made me feel like I had been transported to a 19th century novel. It was in that moment – sitting on an old train all by myself in the middle of Sweden – when it clicked that I was doing the Watson. I feel like I’ll have moments like that again and again throughout the year as I adjust to this new type of travel.

After another Centralstation and a tram to a somewhat suburban neighborhood of Gothenburg, I am finally at the apartment that I will call home for the next 12 days. Tomorrow I’ll explore the neighborhood and hopefully find a supermarket! (Baby steps).

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