2019 was in many ways an intense year. I had a silly idea of wanting to visit a new country every month, seeing how I had some travel plans already in the beginning of the year. The most notable way that this played out was me taking a last-minute day cruise to Ă…land, which belongs to Finland on the last day of March just to be able to tick that month off. This also meant ticking off Poland where I had a very eventful weekend during Nordic Talking Festival in April.

After the summer I didn’t think much about it cause I knew I had missed out in June. But then it dawned on me that I did make a trip then. One that certainly wasn’t planned. On a Tuesday I booked a flight less than two days later to Australia. It was a spur of the moment after my good friend Mike had posted “What do you do when the doctor says maybe a week?”. A few months earlier, he had told us that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I flew down and landed back in Gold coast after 15 years, where Mike was my teacher, on Midsummer’s Eve. I checked in to a hostel to save some money, and the next morning I wrote to him, saying I was here. 20 minutes later he replied and was so happy to hear this. He was hosting a “say goodbye to Mike but maybe not just yet” reception on the lawn of the hospital, and I went there and got to see him, and say goodbye. Without a doubt the most emotional week of the year.

A few weeks later I turned 40 and had a birthday party. Being a summer kid, I’ve been used to friends not being home in July so I was pretty nervous about the turnout. I needed not to because some of my closest was there and those from afar sent in video greetings. It was a beautiful day, followed by going to Spain and stay with my friend Ella before embarking on a train ride to Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bordeaux, Paris, and Amsterdam.

In late August I was invited to a language conference in Berlin where I met lovely people and filmed many videos. It was my first time there. It would also be my first time in the Middle-east as I was honored to go there to mark the beginning of the construction of the Swedish pavilion for Expo2020 in Dubai. I filmed the ceremony and managed to add interviews and send it off from the construction site to an event in Stockholm where it was shown just hours after. It was such a surreal feeling to be there and to imagine what it will look like in 10 months when the site opens to the public. I also met several new people there and had a really good time.

In November, my wife and I flew to New York after her birthday, and aside from seeing ALL the sites, we met up with good friends and had the last day of summer during lunch in Little Italy.

December was incredibly intense in ways that I can’t fully cope with now, but through the happenings, my feelings for the wonderful people I have around me were cemented in love and appreciation. I am so grateful for having these wonderful people in my life, and for being a positive and inspiring part of theirs.

Instead of hoping that 2020 will be a great year, I have made plans to actively make it so. We might never know what truly lies ahead, but as my friend Mike kept saying, and it will echo throughout the rest of my life as a reminder that life is both short and so very long, Do it all now!!

Happy New Year!