Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas! To those of you who don’t, you might want to after reading this.
An important question came to life within us about week ago:
What is cooler: to travel for months and months in a row and come home looking like Robinson Crusoe, or to be modern and flexible enough to take a 10-days break and visit your family (because you can!)?
We recently decided the second alternative is cooler. Because of this decision, this blog post will tell you a little Christmas story, and teach you how to play a real trick on you family at the same time!
Once upon a time there was two curious Swedes, named Robin and Amanda. Robin and Amanda liked meeting people, and they liked traveling. One of their dreams was to see a country far, far away, called India. One day they decided to combine their interests, and go hitchhiking towards the mysterious land of spices. When we find Robin and Amanda, they’ve already hitchhiked all the way to Jordan in the scary Middle East…
It was early morning in Amman, Jordan. Amanda and Robin had come back from Aqaba and were still all salty and fresh after a few days of diving. Amman was cold. In fact so cold that even the two Scandinavians froze as they spot some snow on the top of the cars passing by. Amman seemed a lot emptier and less colorful then it had done the previous week.
Robin woke up early at Farah hotel, the only hotel in town relatively kind to a hitchhiker’s budget. (Thanks, Costas!)
In fact, Robin always woke up earlier than Amanda. He liked checking the online news in the morning, or read one of his precious e-books and just relax. But this morning was different.
This morning, Robin woke up with a melody stuck on his mind. It was so catchy, and yet he just couldn’t clearly recognize it. He had to wake Amanda up, which isn’t as easy as it might sound.
“Amanda”, Robin said when he had eventually managed to make his girlfriend open her eyes by telling her he’d heard they served espresso in the reception.
“You have to help me, what is this song? It’s been stuck on my mind all night, but I don’t know where I’ve heard it.” Robin sang the melody to Amanda who had a convincing answer after a few seconds.
“Robin, that’s a Christmas carol!” Amanda had not celebrated the last two Christmases with her family since she had been busy hanging out with soldiers in Somaliland and driving kids in NY, but Christmas carols was one thing she knew.
“This might be a sign”, Robin said. “I think we should go home for Christmas.”
And the two sweet Swedes decided to let the embassy of Pakistan decide whether they should go or not. If they embassy in Amman would not be able to issue them a visa to Pakistan, they would have no choice but to go to the embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. They had been too passionate about each other and too excited about taking off to think of unimportant stuff like visas to enter other countries when they left Sweden in mid-September.
A phone call to the embassy of Pakistan in Amman flipped the coin, and two hours later the tickets were booked.
Though everything Robin and Amanda did on a daily basis seemed very scary to most people, nothing could be a bigger challenge for the two Swedes than going home for Christmas. They were a bit worried that their readers would think they were cheating by taking a 10-days break from hitchhiking. They were a bit worried it would cost them a fortune to be back in Europe. They were a bit worried they would not look like Robin and Amanda Crusoe after taking several baths in Robin’s parent’s jacuzzi, but as mentioned before, they decided it was a lot cooler to be flexible than to stick to the stone age way of traveling.
To make sure they would really surprise everybody, they pretended they were still in Syria and they told nobody but the Swedish local radio about their plans. They hitchhiked all the way back to Turkey with an authentic Arabic outfit in their backpacks, in which they would knock on their families doors with dates and Turkish coffee. They also saw the opportunity to let their families and friends know they had gotten engaged in a round-about in Hungary a couple of months earlier.
Robin and Amanda told their friend Rickard in their hometown that two Arabic mates were on their way to Sweden. They asked if he would let them sleep on his couch when they arrived. Rickard said yes, he could take care of Ali and Gossun from Syria.
At the 21th of December 2010, Robin and Amanda went to the airport in Ankara. They went up to the gate and asked the the proper man in charge where he was going, and if they could come with him. “No money, OK?” they confirmed, like hitchhikers often do, and Amanda whispered in Robin’s ear that though the man looked a bit stiff at the moment, he would probably invite them for tea later, just like most drivers did.
There were many hitchhikers on the plane. Amanda and Robin had never gone that far in such a short time. They found it really exciting. But for some reason they were not let in to make an interview with the driver. Too bad, it could have been interesting to ask him about his definition of love.
To be continued on Christmas Eve…
Another blogger who surprised his family big time was Phil – Check out his video, very entertaining!