Getting There. Part 1.

A major part of the move to Sweden is actually getting there with all of our belongings and pets.

The initial idea was for Chris to ferry/drive with Alex & the pets, with some essentials to set up house, and for me to follow a little later with a truck full of the rest of our gear. This is still our number 1 option.

The main ways of getting there are:

  • Sea & road (okay for pets).
  • Air & road (no good for pets).
  • Rail & road (need to explore this one further).
  • For our belongings we could possibly use a shipping company.

The truck would need to be simple, reliable & capable of the 1,500 miles (est) over roads of varying conditions, such as Tarmac &/or gravel. The thought here is an ex-military 4×4.

Top of the list is a Bedford MJ, then a DAF 45 4×4. I like the Bedford, and have heard the DAF has some problems. That being said, the DAFs are still in service, many are available as ex-military & apparently doing a great job in service – although they have various faults. The Bedford is as simple as they get, is no longer in service & is starting to become harder to find/buy. Additionally the Bedford is only a 2 seater, and ideally I want a 3 seater.

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Once moved to Sweden, the truck would be used for big shopping trips, removals, ferrying things around, camping trips etc in all conditions that the Arctic town can throw at us. So it has to do the trip & then be a family utility of epic proportions. If it can’t work for us, then it’s not worth it. That alone starts me erring towards the DAF (but my heart wants the Bedford!).

I think the DAF would be the best option for such a long drive, as it would be less fatiguing to drive & it has that much more power & torque so won’t be being pushed so hard.

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There are other options with more modern Scania, Man, Iveco, Mercedes, Volvo etc, but with those comes added complexity.

I could just go to eBay & buy a non-4×4 civilian truck, but I am concerned about how tough it would be & whether it could handle the road & weather conditions.

Either way, there is a lot of research to do on choosing the right truck.

For Chris & the pathfinder trip, a Ford Transit type van is required. That’s pretty simple to deal with. They are easy to find & can go on standard car ferries. The truck on the other hand has to go on a commercial RO-RO ship due to its size. They’ll both need the shipping routes sorted though, so that’s another bit of research to carry out.

If we have too much to take on one truck, we may decide to add a second truck, or get a shipping company involved. More research…

I think a sit down, cup of tea & a plate of biscuits is needed to write down all of the options.

Watch this space as they develop…

Jokkmokk Visit Summer 2014

In August 2014 Christine took her mum and Alex to Jokkmokk to see the place in the flesh, and to meet up with a chap from Future Jokkmokk, who made the move to Jokkmokk from the UK about 10 years ago, and now helps others do the same.

She was well and truly won over by the place – and not just Jokkmokk. She spent a little time in Luleå and a far amount of time on the road driving from Luleå to Jokkmokk, through some wonderful Swedish countryside.

Her overall impression was one of a modern, clean and friendly country that strives to give everyone an even chance to live a good life. Even out in the middle of nowhere in Jokkmokk there were full amenities and services – so much so that you could go out there and live off of the grid, but still have all the mod cons you are used to in a more highly populated area.

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One such example was the camping area she stayed in where she had a Facetime (like Skype) talk with me, as she took her phone around the site and down to the lake to show me on the video call what the place was like. Heck, if we leave the house in the UK we lose network connection, but she was walking through woods and by a lake and was streaming high definition video to me. Yup – out in the peace yet still able to connect to the world if you want to.

Anyway, Chris will be blogging about her trip at some point when she has some time – but meanwhile here is a link to the photo album of the trip.

PHOTOGRAPHS HERE

 

 

Why Sweden? Why the North?

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We like peace and quiet. With a little over 2,000 people in Jokkmokk and the nearest city 2 hours away, you get peace and quiet.

Being a small community you also get that small community spirit that gets sucked out by overcrowding due to the higher percentage of arseholes per metre squared. That being said, Sweden is regarded as one of the top friendliest nations in its own right – so by that rule, a small community is going to be that much friendlier again. Chris found this out when she visited.

Oh, but the weather?!? A typical query from British friends.

Yes, it has weather.

Unlike the UK though, Sweden seems to have realised that in the winter it gets cold and there is snow, and so they are prepared for it. It’s like they’ve realised that this cold weather happens around the same time each year, and they have the infrastructure to deal with it. Amazing.

It also has rain. That is known to happen. It happens in the UK too.

What about sunshine? Yup. Sweden gets that as well. Jokkmokk, being inside the Arctic circle, gets long summer days and long winter nights. Almost 24 hours of sun a day at the height of the summer, and almost 24 hours dusk (not darkness) at the depths of winter.

Compared to England, and bearing in mind it is well within the Arctic Circle, you’d be surprised at how comparable the climate is. Yes, it is a couple of degrees colder in the summer, and yes, it is a lot, lot colder in the winter, but as Billy Connolly once said:

There is no such thing as bad weather; just the wrong clothes

…or words to that affect.

It has a less humid atmosphere and less rain, with less chance of rain, than England for most of the year around.

This graphic shows the difference between the London and Jokkmokk. As an example, in January it shows Jokkmokk has 24mm less rain that London.

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There are many other reasons we are heading out that way, and those will be explored in more blog write ups over the next few months.

Operation Arctic Viking

Operation Arctic Viking is so-called because we are heading (hoping to head…) into the Swedish Arctic circle in Jokkmokk.

Arctic‘ is self-explanatory.

Viking‘ in its truest form comes from the Old Norse feminine noun víking, which refers to an expedition overseas.

So… Arctic Expedition Overseas. I’m pretty sure you figured that bit out…

It’s going to be a long journey…

And that’s where the blog really starts.