This is Evan New-Schmidt again. A few things have changed since I last wrote: San Luis Obispo has finally gotten some rain, I’ve saved up some money, and I’ve started to backpack around Europe.
With El Niño we got a couple weekends of intense rain, but we’re back to sunny skies for now.
These past couple months I’ve been working at a local barn/farm/store stocking produce, sampling apples, finding lost children, giving tractor rides, pumpkin chunkin' on the local news, chasing escaped alpacas, and moving lots and lots of Christmas trees. There’s always something to do, and for that I’m thankful. And while a lot of my friends left in the fall, I’ve made plenty of new ones through work.
In other news, the agriculture department at my high school purchased a drone for photography and to demonstrate agricultural applications, and for the past couple months I’ve been training a student to fly it (and enjoying my time with it as well).
In mid-November I spent a weekend up in Big Sur for the first time with a friend. We spent two nights and three days enjoying the beautiful views of the California coastline.
We caught a rainbow the morning of our last day.
This past Wednesday I arrived with my backpack in Stockholm, Sweden with a faint idea of where to go next. The main reason I picked Sweden was because I found a ridiculously cheap one-way ticket to Stockholm ($88!) I was planning on starting my trip in Northern Europe and then working my way South, but I would have been just as happy to fly into Norway or Denmark. I've met some fellow travelers at my hostel (including one who took the same flight as me).
One of them knew someone who knew someone in Stockholm, so we met up with him and walked around the city, and had dinner at a nice vegetarian place overlooking the river. We went to a museum together and then took a ferry around the city before saying goodbye (he's going to a monastery in France for 1.5 months).
Most everyone here speaks some English, and hello in Swedish (Hej) sounds like "Hey", so it really doesn’t feel too foreign, which is both comforting and a little frustrating. There's a lot of beautiful architecture and interesting museums here (and the public transportation is AMAZING), but I've decided to move to warmer southern Sweden. After that, my rough plan is to continue south until my Schengen visa is closer to expiring, and then travel to the UK, Croatia, or return home, looking for HelpX opportunities along the way. I have a couple friends in Europe that I'm hoping to meet up with. My traveling has only just begun, and I'm looking forward to experiencing new cultures and meeting new people!