Move to Sweden at 21 or 41 (not 31)

I’m glad I didn’t come to Sweden when I was 31 as my life in America was in full swing and thriving.  Being almost 40 when I made the bold move abroad, I left behind an interesting career and enriching social life in New York City. I was ready though and looking forward to getting to know my wife’s country.

Even with top quality or diverse work experience, Sweden is extremely tough in business for an expat. If you aren’t aware of the job difficulties, just have a chat with an expat or read one of several articles I wrote below, including my experience after 5 years in Sweden.

Whether you are a young person (20’s) in America, Europe or other parts of the world, I implore you to go live in another country for at least 2 years. Not only will it broaden your world view but will more often than not give you an unforgettable experience. Sweden is a good choice for youth, especially if you are looking for an easier way of life. If you want a more interesting challenge, consider a place like Belgrade, Serbia; where I spent two months living and had a fabulous time!

For those considering the Swedish plunge around age 31, I encourage you to think carefully about your decision. I’m not saying don’t come although if you do venture here without doing your research and/or don’t have a strong union with your Swedish spouse/relationship, an unpleasant experience could be waiting for you. For those who don't know, most expats come to Sweden for LOVE.

Most I know have had very tough times after they arrived in Sweden around 30. Not only were the job opportunities scarce but several had love relationships they thought were solid yet turned out to be tenuous at best. A simple piece of advice is to visit Sweden two or three times before you decide to move here. It’s important to get a feel for the country and its people and visiting once won’t provide that. In addition, talk privately to as many expat’s as you can.

Of course there are thirty-something’s who qualify as an exception to the rule and are flying high in Sweden, yet the majority have taken serious blows to their careers and future job opportunities. Also, some have sadly lost their souls.

I was fortunate in that I had met several of my career and life goals and was ready for the international challenge. It’s been a nice ride for me, filled with great highs, many challenges and several disappointments. It has always been interesting though which has been a big positive.

At 21, yes, do come to Sweden or venture abroad anywhere in our diverse world.

41, a good age as well. Sweden is a calm place to ease into as long as you have achieved some of your work/life goals previously.

At age 31…..think twice.

Sweden's beauty is magnificent. Image is from Skåne (southern Sweden).
Image's Website

Old Friends, Stimulating Conversations

My recent trip to the USA was long in plane rides yet stimulating in conversation.
I was alone for a 10 day journey with my 3 and 5 year old, which put most days on a “64 Chevy Level”, compared to calmer ones at home.

It was wonderful to see my mom as I don’t get the chance to visit her nearly enough with the vast distance from Sweden.  In addition, the bond that emerged between my kids and their grandmother was heart-warming. My son Lennart said more than once, “Why can’t we stay in America?”

One of the interesting parts of the trip was spending time with old friends. I wasn’t surprised at the great conversations we shared although I was surprised that I have missed that type of stimulation.

I generally don’t miss things and stay focused on the here and now although some of our talks put me in a place I haven’t been to in quite a while. The kind of dialogue where time becomes irrelevant, laughter is abundant and you are not thinking about anything else but the present moment.

That back and forth energy and flow is conversation I love! It was like a beautiful symphony at times.

The only time I wasn’t fully engaged was when my mind would drift to wondering when the night would end. If it wasn’t for having to be up early with my children, I might have stayed to the morning hours on a few occasions.

I am grateful for such good friendships. It’s clear that despite long absences from each other, our bond is still as strong as ever.

This man said it best:

"Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world"
(William James)

Happy Gswede Sunday!

My son and I with man's best friend a few years ago. Not our dog but one day we will have one.