An Ode to My Favorite Country

This blog post serves as a love letter to the country that I feel so fortunate to have experienced over the past 3 weeks. I've found that a lot of the ideals that I hold are also embedded within the country's values. Take environmental sustainability, for instance: I am an ardent believer in the notion that we, as inhabitants of this earth, must make changes to the way that we live in order to preserve any remaining chance we have to leave an inhabitable place for our children; Sweden shares the same view, and it is one of the few countries that I have seen actually do something about it. Anytime food is ordered from a restaurant and you are given disposable utensils, for example, the utensils are wooden rather than plastic like they are here in America. As another example, consider how the hotels in Sweden are promoting sustainability: each of the hotels that we stayed in required us to insert our hotel key cards into a little slot in order to turn on the electricity in the room, meaning that when we left the room and took our key card with us, we would be ensuring that no lights would remain on while we were out of the room. Lastly, using North Volt and Einride as examples, consider how companies in Sweden are promoting sustainability: both North Volt and Einride are promoting a global transition to a more sustainable future by contributing to the elimination of gas-powered vehicles, whether that be through the manufacturing of batteries used to power electric vehicles or the distribution of autonomous electrically powered trucks; however, in addition to promoting sustainability through its core business products, North Volt also promotes sustainability by offering a battery recycling program and by refusing to offer parking for its employees so that they're incentivized to ride their bikes to work. Living in a sustainable manner isn't the only way in which the country's ideals and mine overlap, however: all of the companies that we visited discussed the importance of work-life balance, and North Volt, for example, discussed how every Monday, all of the employees electing to run together before work can gather in the office and do so around the vicinity of the building. This type of work-life balance is something that I believe is extremely important and is a welcome change from what I perceive to be the overly demanding corporate culture prevalent in America. In addition to similar ideals, the country's breathtaking beauty and the friendliness of everyone encountered has made me look for any possible excuse to visit the country again; in fact, I have made the decision to make preparations to return next Summer to participate in the Stockholm marathon and attend the Way Out West Festival held in Gothenburg!

A beautiful shot taken on an afternoon stroll in Gothenburg
Another breathtaking shot depicting the country's infinite beauty. This one taken on an afternoon stroll in Stockholm