Just like in Norway it seems like a disproportionate number of the people giving me rides are either foreign born or have spent significant amounts of their life abroad. Out of the six rides it takes me to get to Umeå I’m given two separate rides by Syrians, once by a woman who lived in Australia but decided she found life in Sweden more gentle and returned, and one by a woman and her son who spent long periods of time doing voluntary work in South America.
As it turns out the woman and her son are friends of my couchsurfing host in Umeå who set up the local branch of the organisation with which the woman ended up in South America. My host himself plans to move to Chile soon. He has some great stories to tell about trekking through the continent, which provides some great entertainment in a city where apart from a decent art museum I don’t find much of interest.
Next I’m heading to Tornio just across the border in Finland. I get a ride there from a Ukrainian-Swedish lesbian couple in an RV who are on their way to the northernmost Ikea in the world. They invite me to spend the night in their vehicle and we have some pretty good conversations, even though it gets a bit confusing. The Ukrainian doesn’t speak English, the Swede doesn’t speak Russian and my brain gets tangled from having to switch every other sentence.