A Travellerspoint blog

Insane Vikings

Craziest party on the planet(?) and first impressions of New York

semi-overcast 15 °C

"Escooort!" - Cried customs officer Selgado
"You don't believe me?" - Said I with contempt in my voice.
"No. Escooort!"

The most overly protected border in the western world just became rediculous. Going through border control has never before been a problem for me, I don't look like I'm a terrorist and I'm a very friendly person. But this time I met the most sour idiot that has ever been placed in that power position.

Customs officer Selgado had it against me from the very start. His English was way below par, and mine was far superior. Maybe that was the first reason as to why he decided to make my entry into the United States of America as painful as possible. I couldn't understand him, and I couldn't hear him over all the background noise.

Add to that a completely dry throat after over five hours in the air with basically nothing to drink and an intense craving for a smoke and you get the overall look of a nervous person.

I was lead into a second room for further interrogation, apparently Selgado wasn't happy with my answers to his repeated questions. I really wanted to call him an idiot, but decided that wouldn't help my cause.

After waiting for a couple of minutes I was called up to the desk to talk to a new customs officer, Rowan. This one was a happy fellow, smiling and almost laughing as he was asking me a few questions. He quickly decided that it was rediculous to keep me from entering 'the greatest country on Earth' any longer and quickly stamped my papers and let me on my way.

But really, I owe you guys something more from my Iceland trip. Because, Reykjavik was truly an insane place. I love that town!

Where else can you watch as your 50+ year-old landlady stumbles up to the door at 5am after an insane night of party, drops her keys and looks around to make sure no one's watching. Then picks them up again, opens the door and falls in through it. Picks up the newspaper like nothing happened and stumble on up the stairs.

Where else can you find almost the entire population of a town out on a friday or saturday night?

As soon as I landed at Keflavik airport I felt welcome, the air was fresh and the people were friendly. The girls were cute and the tax free whiskey I bought was delicious.

I was only able to stay at the Reykjavik backpackers for one night, after that they were fully booked. So I moved into a guesthouse with Lea and Jonas, my two new-found friends.

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Basically the entire weekend was all about party by night and exploring tiny Reykjavik by day. You can pretty much walk around the town in an afternoon or so. It's small and very cute, with lots of life on every street corner. The people are very friendly and open, and English is hardly a problem for these vikings.

I tried to learn some Icelandic, but it's a sort of difficult language to learn in just one weekend. Though I did get complimented on my pronounciation on more than one occassion.

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On the day of departure I walked back to the hostel with all my stuff to see if I could get a bus to the airport. Inga at front desk got extremely nervous when she found out my flight was leaving in about 3 hours and I had missed the last bus. I kept my calm, I've been in way more stressful situations and I know that as long as you stay calm things tend to have a way of working out for you. This time was no exception as another girl, Svava - a friend of the other girl at front desk, had a car and wouldn't say no to some extra cash.

Svava turned out to be a very nice and interesting girl. She'd just come back from a world trip herself so we had lots to talk about in the car over to the airport. I also told her I want to go back to Iceland and check out the rest of the island and the nature. Turns out she loves to hike around the country so we made a deal that she'll be my guide when I return. It's great to be able to make new friends in any situation.

My plane was delayed for about half an hour or so and as I already mentioned I had some minor difficulties going through the border control. So it took me a couple of hours extra before I could start walking in Leif Erikson's footsteps.

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But now I am here and the US must look out for the crazy viking from Sweden for about one month as I travel through the continent.

Today the weather is semi-clear in New York which makes for perfect photo opportunities. I need to get ready for another day of exploration and will therefore leave you to go back to your own lives, until next time.

Beppe Karlsson, NYC

Posted by Beppe.Karlsson 06:39 Archived in Iceland Tagged party usa iceland reykjavik Comments (0)

Rocks and volcanoes

First impression

rain 15 °C

Wow, I am totally paying the price for playing last night. Though I do feel surprisingly perky this morning. Truth be told I would never have found my way back without my two new-found friends: Lea and Jonas. I found a bench somewhere and it was so comfortable I was contemplating sleeping on it, but my two bestest friends in all of Iceland dragged me up and made sure I found my bed in the hostel.

The funny thing is that my two friends are still sleeping, though Jonas is gone from his bed. I found someone rolled up in his sleeping bag, on the floor in the common room next to my dorm. It might be him, but I couldn't tell for sure.

The money here is just crazy, in my first half-hour or so I'd spent 4 000 Icelandic kronor, and all I got was a bottle of whiskey and a bus ticket in to town. The easy way to do the conversion is to take away two zeros and then you have the approximate value in dollars. Price-wise it's basically like Sweden, but you get all confused when a beer costs 600-800 kronor.

The hostel I'm currently checked in to is fully booked for the night so I'm gonna have to find some other form of shelter from the beautiful Icelandic weather. It is basically like Swedish spring, with rain and temperatures between 10-20 degrees.

On the bus from the airport I was looking at the naked, rough landscape, letting my dreams drift back to the days of the first vikings settling this island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Imagining I was coming home from a viking raid on the Brittish isles, pockets filled with gold.

Reykjavik is a small and cozy town, it feels like I could walk all over town in an afternoon. Hey, I might actually do that right now.

My camera is calling for me. Time to finish up.

Beppe Karlsson

Posted by Beppe.Karlsson 02:47 Archived in Iceland Tagged iceland reykjavik Comments (0)

Broken machinery

No rest for the wicked

overcast 20 °C

So here I am. I find myself back home at my mom's, down in the basement in the room me and my brother have taken turns in occupying. He's down under right now and has been since September last year. The plan is to meet up when I arrive in Melbourne at the end of August.

I can feel the effects on my body after the last couple of weeks, it's been rough. I have been a yes-man, not saying no to anything lately. All because I've wanted to spend as much time as possible with my friends before I go and stay long gone. Now I'm paying the price to play: I'm coughing with every second breath, my chest feels like it's on fire, and my voice is gone... again!

But there will be no rest for the wicked, I need to sort through my stuff to see what I want to bring, what should be stored and what should be thrown out. Tonight I will be having dinner at my grandparents' and I hope some of grandma's delicious cooking can at least cure me somewhat. Tomorrow I've arranged a get together with my closest friends in and around my hometown. Wednesday night will be family night and on thursday I'm out of here, gone, lost, on my way.

There is a song by Emancipator that has been the theme for my last seven months. The song can be found here for listening and also to purchase. The lyrics go "when I go, I will stay long gone" and the song is just brilliant. Give it a hear.

I might be posting one last entry from Sweden on the morning of my departure, if not you can bet on hearing from me when I reach Reykjavik, Iceland. But for now I have to go.

Beppe Karlsson

Posted by Beppe.Karlsson 04:20 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Saying goodbye is never easy

Hugs, kisses and cries

overcast 20 °C

The last week or so has been spent on the darkside of the moon, the downside to the life of a nomad: I've been saying goodbye to friends and family all over southern Sweden.

At the moment I'm in Stockholm, staying with my dad and his family. Just a few minutes ago my six year-old half-brother, Leon, came up to me and gave me a hug. He then asked me if I was gonna be here when he comes back from France in about two weeks time. When I said no he asked me if I was gonna be back home in Småland then. When I said "no, I'm gonna be in New York by then" he asked me when he was gonna see me next. I realized he might be eight years old by the time I get back from this monster of a trip.

The thought of missing another quarter of his life is kinda heavy. Added to that the thought of not seeing the rest of my family and most of my friends in years has me a little on a downward slope right now. I've enjoyed my short return since November last year, reconnecting with friends of old, making new friends and sharing the fun.

But truth be told, eight days before departure, I can't wait to get going. I am more than eager to leave, in fact I wish I was already on my way. No matter how hard it is to say goodbye, and no matter how much I'd like to stay with my friends, new and old. I still want the thrill and excitement of being on the move even more.

To all of you: I will miss you, and I hope that I run into some of you down the road.

I know from past experience that 9/10 people that say they will come visit are just talking. They might actually wish it, but the truth of the matter is that logistics is a problem. Getting half-way around the world is neither cheap nor quick. Anyways, I still hope that some of you will make it down under. You are all welcome, just give me a shout.

For now I take consolation in all the hugs I get from Leon, to compensate for the upcoming years of abscence on my behalf.

Well, dear friends. Time is running out and I still have things to sort out. Catch you later, take care.

Beppe Karlsson

Posted by Beppe.Karlsson 06:08 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Introduction to my life

A short presentation of everything that is Beppe Karlsson

overcast 17 °C

I figured I might as well write a presentation of who I am, my upcoming trip-plans, my travel style and my ideas and ambitions for this blog, before I give you the next part of my Germany trip.

I was born in March back in '87, on the country-side in the southern Swedish landscape of Småland. The first time I left my native lands I was but six months old. That time I went with my mother and father to what was then East and West Germany. Swedes were among the few nationalities that could cross the iron curtain with, in comparison, little paperwork.

My life stayed on that path, going abroad with my parents every year, until they decided to split up when I was 12. The following year was the first, and only, in my life that was entirely spent within the borders of my country. A short reset for the entire family until the following year things went back to normal and I travelled to Greece with my father and my brothers.

My first trip abroad on my own was made when I was 16. I went to visit a Danish friend of mine for 4-5 days. My first realization then was that I could actually buy alcohol in the stores, as you only need to be 15. This was also my first time I came in contact with cannabis. I didn't smoke it, but I was contemplating to do so. I held it under my nose, very close to my lips, for quite some time until I finally decided I didn't want to try. I was too scared. Well, turns out there is a little thing called second hand smoking and I got stoned for the first time.

As I returned back home from that trip I knew I had to make more just like that one, lots more. I knew I would dedicate a major part of my life to travelling. Well, to be honest I'd known that since I was 10 or 11. I always used to fantasize about travelling the world, working here and there. Sitting in dodgy bars, drinking and saying cheers with dodgy people. I'd imagine I would find some cool girl that I had to rescue, I always wanted to be the hero when I was a kid. Maybe I'd watched too many James Bond movies.

Well, here I am now. 24 years old to date and I'm kind of in love with my life. Of course, like any relationship, we have ups and downs. But all in all I don't think either of us are ready to break up just yet. We have way too much planned in the upcoming years to give up just yet, and our ambitions are almost overwhelming to the regular guy. What can I say? I aim high, then I might fall, but I always bounce back up.

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To date I've lived and worked in three countries: Sweden, Canada and Norway. In a few short months time I'll add Australia to that list. After that, who knows?

So maybe I should give you a few details about my upcoming trip. Well, I am going to travel around the world, moving west. But I haven't bought one of those 'round the world' -tickets. I am fixing everything on my own, looking for cheap tickets here and there. So far I have halfway around the world booked and organized. Let me tell you how it all starts:

This friday I travel to the Swedish city of Linköping where I will hang out with a few friends, among those a hook-up I have for a later part of my trip. Already the following day I go on to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, where my father lives. I will spend a week there, saying good bye to my dad, his wife and my half-brother as well as all the friends I have there.

Sometime next week, most likely the 14th I will go back home, pack my backpack and clean up my mess. Store documents, pictures and other things I want to keep. That last weekend in Sweden will also be spent with my friends, saying good bye is never easy and never fun. Especially not when you plan on staying away for at least a year and a half.

On July 21 I fly from Copenhagen, Denmark to Reykjavik, Iceland where I will spend the weekend. I plan on checking out the nightlife in Reykjavik that I've heard so much about. I've always wanted to go to Iceland, but never had the time or the chance so I figured I might as well make a stopover for a few nights on my way to the USA.

I arrive in New York City on July 24, how long I will stay depends on many factors: fun, money and the people. I don't have a ticket out of New York, I might take a train down to Washington or maybe not. I like to leave big empty spaces in my planning, leaving room to be spontaneous.

The next stop will be Kansas, a visit to some friends I made there back in 2008, and hopefully a road trip from the mid-west all the way over the rockies, grand canyon, possibly Vegas and finally on to Los Angeles where I fly out on August 21.

I fly west from the city of angels and arrive in Melbourne, 2 days later. As I pass the international date line going westwards I lose one day, so August 22 2011 will never have happened in my life.

So I'm planning on making Melbourne my home for the coming six months or so, my plans after that are still on the drawing table and there is really no point is spitting them out before I have anything for you.

I'd give you some sample images from my travel portfolio, but maybe It'd be easier if I just post the link to my photoblog.

So how do I travel? Do I travel in luxury? Ha! That would be a big lie, I'm a backpacker, or well, not entirely. I try to get in to the normal life rather than the backpacker lifestyle. I try to meet more locals than other travellers. I've had my fair share of hostels and will skip them as much as I can, at least for longer periods of time. I'm also lucky to already have made friends along the way I'm travelling now, as I can stay with them for a few days and that way save money on the hotel bill. Well, of course I will probably spend just as much on alcohol and food for my hosts.

I like to party, pretty much like any other young man in his twenties. So what makes me special? Well, you'll just have to see for yourself. Keep on reading this blog and you will find lots of random stories. Like last weekend I got beat up trying to defend a friend of mine and his girlfriend. Sure I took five punches to the head and still have a slight headache, but in the long run my life is a hell of a lot more awesome than theirs. Besides, this whole episode has already given me compensation, so I still win!

I will finish off this entry by telling you about my ideas for this blog.

I intend to have a mix of normal blog entries, where I simply just clear my mind and tell you my thoughts. I will write travel reports, telling the story of a specific event, like a road trip, a night out on town or a bachelor's party. The third ingredient I will add to flavor the dish will be tips and hints for fellow travellers looking to go where I have been.

Now I must tend to my long to-do list as I only have about two weeks to take care of everything.

Happy living everybody.

Beppe Karlsson

Posted by Beppe.Karlsson 06:24 Archived in Sweden Tagged presentation beppe_karlsson Comments (0)

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