Monday, 22 January 2018

Pit-Stop For A New Start

We stopped in Luleå and Umeå. In both camping places parking was easy... 
I woke up to a beeping noise. It was the computer UPS: we had lost electricity. Or I had. Timo and Väinö were at the Umeå swimming hall. I was having a nap due a bad migraine. My migraine and not-so-nice snowy weather were the reasons why we had stopped in Umeå instead of driving 300 km further to Sundsvall, as we had planned. I sent a WhatsApp message to Timo: “Electricity lost, don’t know what to do”. We had a similar issue previously but I just couldn’t remember how he fixed it.

Of course, this would happen when I’m alone. It’s Murphy’s law. The very same reason why our mail server decided to stop working right when we left Finland. We seem to be Murphy’s favourites right now.

Prepared - But Not Well Enough

It was a memorable moment when I locked our home door knowing it will be almost a year before I open it again. I shed a few tears when driving - south, below the arctic circle, to a whole new way of living. On the last morning I woke up at 6, gathered the last few items in a pile in one room, collecting the random stuff I thought I might need during the year into some bags and threw them into to van. I phoned our tenant and apologised that we didn’t have time to clean up. Later I got a picture from her of a fully organised collection of spices. Our house will be in good hands.

Voting for a president before leaving the country.

We stopped in Rovaniemi for some final repairs to the caravan. And to fulfill our civil duty: voting. In Finland we have a presidential election at the moment. In the Finnish parliament system the candidate who gets the most votes wins. (Unlike in some other countries...) If there will be a second round in this election, we will not be able to vote. We will be at the Nuremberg Spielwarenmesse.

When we crossed the border to Sweden, the snowing started. Have you ever tried to drive while towing a 9 meter long caravan on an icy road? The draft from cars overtaking your slower vehicle gives some interesting wobble to the van. I usually have low blood pressure, but I can assure you, there were some really high peaks then. I know where the migraine came from.

There have also been other sources of stress lately. While we were packing everything for the tour, we also had to finish materials for the Kickstarter campaign of Darwinning!. The hours we had in a day were not enough. We ended up doing just the mandatory stuff. Not everything we knew was needed, not everything we are capable of doing. We hoped for the best, and right after the Kickstarter launch we knew that hope was false.

Laundry, Cleaning and Second Start

The electricity loss in Umeå was easily solved: the fuse of the electrical outlet was blown. My migraine eased with medication. We repacked the caravan to get better balance and the wobbling decreased. After two days of driving I was able to relax in the car. But I let Timo do the driving.

What we were not able to solve on the road was the mail server issue. We are still not sure what is broken and why. We cannot read company emails and that is a major problem. It was necessary to make big decisions. We cancelled the Darwinning! campaign because it obviously needed more marketing and at the moment we don’t have the resources to do that. We will make a fresh start with Darwinning! in February.

Closer to Stockholm: less snow, more sun.
We did eventually reach Stockholm and we parked up at Ängby Camping. Nice, small place with a surprisingly large number of caravans, obviously in use for full-time living. We will stay here for a few days. I have time to investigate what on earth I threw in the bags before leaving.

Luckily we have a friend in Stockholm with two laundry machines and a sauna! Even though we have been on tour for less than a week, this pit-stop is really needed. It is nice to have dinner in a kitchen were two people can move at the same time without walking into each other.

But our son voiced my thoughts during breakfast this morning: this caravan is starting to feel like home.

Väinö making pancakes - just like at home.

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