A Swedish Return

On a beautiful, crisp Spring afternoon, I touched down at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport and then took the first of my two trains north; firstly a fast inter city to Gävle (pronounced ‘yeyvla’), and the second a slower cross country, to Söderhamn. Micke picked me up and we drove the remaining part of the journey to Borka Brygga, the winter home of my long suffering companion ‘Free’. Once again the hospitality of Micke and his lovely daughter Tova, reminded me just how difficult the whole process could have been.

Visiting 'Free' after her winter slumber... Hello again old friend. How have you been?

Visiting ‘Free’ after her winter slumber…
Hello again old friend. How have you been?

If I am honest my appetite for seafaring is beginning to falter and it often seems as if I have never done anything else. Sometimes I feel like a member of the crew of the Flying Dutchman, destined to roam the seas for eternity… The vagabond life is not always as romantic as some folk paint it out to be. Yes, the sailing is life affirming, and the various folk encountered, wonderfully interesting; but the endless hard work and drudgery of keeping a boat in seaworthy shape and the battle against cost and the winter attrition with all its spiteful little acts, can drain even the strongest and most resourceful of us. The worrying rise of officialdom and new laws to restrict freedom on the seas, adds only more problems. Is there nowhere left for we free spirits? A winter of sleeping on land in a bed with hot water, so easily available, has softened this old sailor to the point where she’s contemplating a possible change of life. Even the quirky and unusual can lose its impact in time and I think the website shows, due a general lack of interest from my older friends, that it may soon be time to bring the Saga to a gentle, painless demise.

Here we go again... Shuttling dunnage from Micke's place to 'Free' down in the harbour. 'Gretel' is back in action.

Here we go again… Shuttling dunnage from Micke’s place to ‘Free’ down in the harbour. ‘Gretel’ is back in action.

Nothing lasts for ever… Modern life isolates many from the reminder that all is impermanent, and as the title of my website reminds: No one here gets out alive, no matter how many friends one has, how much supportive family, how wealthy… The Ferryman takes none of this into account when he paddles you across the Styx; you die alone… As time goes by, I feel more and more the call of the spiritual, and the disgust for Mammon and her legions; the complacent surrender of so many to the shackles of modern day slavery. Where has all the idealism gone? The Camino changed something in me at a deep level, woke me up, if you will. There is a path that continues beyond, and so it must be. When one opens the Pandora’s Box of the heart, how can it ever be shut again?

The hard work starts again... Contemplation of a new future?

The hard work starts again…
Contemplation of a new future?

As I write this from Micke’s kitchen, the snow is swirling down from small dark clouds. They skitter by, making way for a bright blue sun soaked sky with its temporary warmth. The sudden plunge in temperature after the sun’s obfuscation, reminds me that Summer has yet to arrive this far north and any seafaring will be far from easy… My heart brims with the changing seasons and the call of the North flows through my sailor’s soul and yet that heart is hearing another tune too, one I have yet to understand… This is the Viking Realm… the Gods are real here…


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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27 Responses to A Swedish Return

  1. Ramon says:

    Hola Poppy! How are you? Just letting you know that I continue to follow your journey with great interest. I hope that life’s spark continues to propel you to venture as your viking heart desires, for it is not in vain.

    Take care, my camino friend.


    • Viking Queen says:

      Hola compañero! What a lovely surprise! Thanks for your kind words. I hope you are well Ramon and that your new life has flourished! Take care and keep in touch.

  2. Poppy, good to hear of safe landings. Hope you had my message before you left Scotland. I still don’t trust this machine! Hoping the coming warmer days and maritime necessities will lift your horizons and hopes, leading to quiet conviction about what you want to do.. Surely the spiritual
    will take precedence, knowing you!
    Keep the news flowing my friend. Ruth

    • Viking Queen says:

      Bless you Ruth, my dear friend. Take care and don’t be too busy. Thank you for your encouragement.

  3. christian says:

    Glad to see free looking well and remember climbing that ladder to get into her inner heart when here in the uk. Your appetite will be back once back in the sea with free under your feet and wind in your hair. Listen to your heart complete this journey you have started and another path will come to you . As you aware we never know what is a round the corner in life . Take care and enjoy the reconection with free and another old friend gretel. Great photo of u and free.
    C x

  4. cornishtim says:

    Your Camino will provide you with the right decision at this moment at the crossroad. As an owner of some little boats I can’t imagine the physical and spiritual effort you need to make to start roaming on the high seas again. Perhaps you need another long walk? That bike looks like it would get you a long way! Good strength to your arm!

  5. Viking Queen says:

    I’d love eventually to walk more Tim, Once I’ve got this out of my system. Seafaring is like an addiction to me, and yet i know it can’t/mustn’t last forever.

  6. Claus says:

    Did send it as a letter yesterday but let it here aswell . leaving a bit out;)
    Hi Poppy. Tough to get started with all the maintenance you need now 🙂 belive me I know, doing the same these days. But when you get there ( the mind has to follow) I am sure you will be fine and breathing the Northern air will give your vikingspirit the kick 😉 and with open Heart the courage for the new sommer adventures.:D
    I as all from your blog follow your journey and are with you with our Heart. You sure are not alone 😉
    I can imagine it feals a bit lonely just arriving op North after the fealing being living another life for long time. I sense I know you and as the strong and beautifull women you are. I am looking forward to follow your Next trip and perhaps its what you need for the Next book 😀

    • Viking Queen says:

      Hi Claus,
      Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement. Yes, you have to live this life to know. I am sure you are born to it as well! Living with an open heart is difficult, but essential as i’m sure you know. Blessings my Viking friend.

  7. Life is dynamic, is it not? I look forward to hearing how this part of your journey goes, whatever path you decide to take.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks Amanda. I have no idea. It feels like leaving Christiansø again last year. Left or right?

  8. archecotech says:

    So the Camino changed you that much? Wow. I’ve made the determination to do the walk, now I just need to get ready. As I read this post I understood all paths lead to the same place, the river Styx. Like yourself, the freedom you desire continually penetrates my very soul. I wish you luck and godspeed on your journey. More than anything else I pray for peace in your heart.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you for your kind words, my friend. We all need that quiet voice and the prayers of others, for do we not have the holy spirit joining us as one? My courage is your courage and it is only the ego that imprisons us, that false self. I feel you are knocking on freedom’s door and ready to take up your path. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

    • Viking Queen says:

      The camino will call you and walk you. She shall provide the alchemy for your calvary and then? Oh then!!!

      • archecotech says:

        The hard part is figuring out how to escape the prison I’ve created for myself here. Once I’ve done that then freedom will come.

      • Viking Queen says:

        Sometimes you need to leap!

        Have you seen ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’? It’s a great motivator… The bit where he decides to climb into the helicopter in Greenland…

      • archecotech says:

        I’ve seen the movie, can’t quite remember that part but I think I understand what you are trying to say.

      • Viking Queen says:

        It is when he is afraid of climbing into a helicopter with a drunk pilot and his girlfriend to be, is playing Space Oddity’ on the guitar to help him be brave. He runs after the helicopter and jumps in. When it arrives at the ship he has to jump into the sea! He had to do it to break the pattern of behaviour he was used to. It took great courage but started him on the road to freedom.

      • archecotech says:

        Interesting, I think I’ve taken the first leap just need to be willing to take the second leap.

        So question, when you walked the Camino was it as expensive as I’ve read? And after following you and Healing Pilgrim it sounds like you met somewhere on the trail. Honestly that had to be amazing.

      • Viking Queen says:

        No, it’s not expensive, if you are frugal and cook your own food. A bed is between 5 and 12 Euros per night usually. Yes, I can’t remember where we met, but the Camino seems to create moments of serendipity and throw up challenges that can’t be ignored (if they are they just occur again somewhere else. One really feels that there are other forces at work.

      • archecotech says:

        By the way what do you think of my new background on my blog? Wondering if it’s a little distracting, I’d like to create a bit of a quasi dream travel theme to my blog.

      • Viking Queen says:

        Yes, it is a little because I love the natural aspect… why the dream? I just preferred the way it was!

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