Christmas in Sweden
Roundups, Sweden

Month in Review: December 2015

My final month of 2015 brought with it plenty of good things.  I’m almost sad to say goodbye to this year; it has put me through a lot and given me so much in return.  But, I have high hopes for 2016 and am excited to keep moving forward.

Here’s a look at some of my highlights of December 2015…

I arrived in Stockholm!

Just about three weeks have passed since I touched down at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  Three weeks should feel like nothing, but when your visa allowance is only three months, your precious time feels like it’s whizzing by.  It’s been good fun getting to know the city better, seeing the gorgeous Christmas decorations, and feeling like a fish out of water, but entirely welcome at the same time.  And while I still don’t know exactly what my future holds for Stockholm, I hope there is lots more to come.  I plan to be here again (still?) when the next TBEX conference rolls around this July, at the very least.

Stockholm, Sweden

Christmas in Stockholm

I celebrated my first Christmas in Sweden.

I love experiencing Christmas traditions in countries around the world.  So far I’ve spent two in Thailand (mostly an expat affair–not much pomp and circumstance on a Christian holiday in a Buddhist country), one in Peru, one in Colombia, and now this one in Sweden.  Some of my favorite holiday traditions have included: advent stars hung in every window, drinking glögg (spiced wine) full of almonds and raisins, watching American cartoons at 3 pm on Christmas Eve, and stuffing yourself silly with ham, meatballs, herring and other delicious foods at the Julbord (or Christmas buffet, the main meal eaten on Christmas Eve).  I think I’ve gained a few kilos already, and am looking forward to getting back into some sort of exercise routine this January.

Christmas in Sweden

White glögg surrounded by desserts

I took a step away from social media.

It may have just been a baby step, but it did wonders for my peace of mind.  It wasn’t something I’d originally intended to do, it just suddenly felt like something that needed to happen and so I chose to trust my intuition.

Many of you have probably noticed that I haven’t been very active on Snapchat since arriving in Sweden.  It pains me in some ways to fall off of the platform so abruptly.  I’ve loved being able to share real-time stories and experiences with you since I became an active snapper during my summer in Europe, and I was just as eager to share Stockholm with you.  Most of all, I hate disappointing the people who’ve been my biggest supporters.  It’s your encouragement and enthusiasm that probably kept me going as long as I did.

Unfortunately, Snapchat is the one platform I’ve found so far that truly began to feel intrusive.  When I was no longer traveling solo (beginning with my family trip to Hawaii), I had other people and their privacy to take into consideration.  Not only that, but I sometimes felt it was taking too much away from my own experiences.  I already take more photos than the average person, so to try to photograph AND Snapchat AND film on a GoPro…well, it started to seem excessive.  When blogging or any related activity start to rule my life, I know it’s time to take a step back.

Christmas in Sweden

Being “on” all the time just ain’t me

I’m beginning to realize, ever so slowly, just how time-consuming and draining it is to be a “personality” in the online world.  I tip my hat to those who can pull it off effortlessly–constantly uploading photos and videos of themselves being gregarious and relatable, seemingly on every social platform around the clock–but I don’t think that approach will ever work for me.  Instead, I’ll choose to retain a level of anonymity.  I’ll upload more photos of my surroundings than myself.  I’ll write objectively about the things that happen to me more often than I’ll shout strong opinions from the mountaintops.  In the age of over-sharing, I’ll choose to keep some things for myself.

I still love watching other peoples’ snaps from around the world, and I will still upload my own from time to time.  But for now, it feels good to remove at least one small self-imposed obligation.  Was it time-consuming?  Not at all.  But it still caused me to feel as though I’d been spread too thin, and going forward I’m focusing on quality of output over quantity.

And now a few fun extras…

My Most Popular Blog Posts

What Travelers Really Want for Christmas This Year

Four Years of Travel & Two Years of Blogging: Taking Stock

My Best Instagrams

A Few Things I’m Loving

Travel and the Present Tense – A short and to-the-point piece by Jodi of Legal Nomads about how travel can benefit us all by freeing our conscious thought from the inconsequential details of life.

Do You Ever Wonder What Could Have Been? – Kristin of Be My Travel Muse poses some tough questions–like Which ghost life haunts you the most?

Pinterest – I’ve added some cool new boards this month and am pinning like a mad woman.  Won’t you join me?

That’s it for December and 2015!  Bring on the new year!

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  • Reply Amanda | Lesson Plans and Layovers January 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Leah, I completely agree in how we are living in an age where we are over-sharing. Some things are truly just so special to keep to oneself, especially when it comes to what you experience in your travels. I couldn’t agree more with this portion of your post and look forward to reading your more objective pieces 🙂
    Amanda | Lesson Plans and Layovers recently posted…My 2016 Wanderlust WishlistMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis January 5, 2016 at 1:34 am

      Thanks Amanda! I know social media is a critical part of being a blogger, but I’m going to try to be smarter about my sharing from now on 🙂

  • Reply Rachel January 4, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Ahh Sweden looks like the most Christmas-y place to spend Christmas ever. I’m very into the idea of spiced wine. I totally agree with you about the social media overload of Snapchat, and all of them really, especially when you’re taking pics with your camera, your iPhone, and then Snapchat. While it is one of my favorites (mostly because it’s not super curated), it can be a nightmare to keep up with everything combined.
    Rachel recently posted…Galapagos Cruise Tips (Or How to Have a Better Time, Based on What I Did)My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis January 5, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Yeah, that was the biggest problem for me, I was always juggling all these different devices and I felt like a lunatic! I always ended up forgetting something, too. If I took a lot of Snapchats, I didn’t get enough photos or vice versa. It was too much! Christmas in Sweden was really lovely 🙂

  • Reply Richelle January 27, 2016 at 12:49 am

    As much as I love Snapchat, I’ve begun to feel the same way. Either I’m at work and nothing interesting is happening, or I’m surrounded by people and I feel awkward Snapchatting. I think it works great for solo travel since I’m an extrovert and I like feeling like I’m experiencing something with people, but when I go out with my non-blogger expat friends they all think I’m crazy. I also used to have an amazing digital detox life before Snapchat. Since all social media is blocked in China and I needed to be on wifi with my VPN to access it, meaning I wouldn’t be out tweeting on instagramming at the bar, I would do it when I got home. I do still really love Snapchat because it gives me an opportunity to showcase my personality and do more video stuff, but sometimes I don’t want to broadcast every second of my life with everyone, and the pressure can be a bit overwhelming.

    Great post! I actually really look forward to hearing more about your life in Sweden 😀

    • Reply Leah Davis January 27, 2016 at 2:56 am

      Ahh it’s so nice to know I’m not alone in my Snapchat woes! I do feel so awkward when I’m around people who don’t blog and/or aren’t really comfortable with my constant photographing and videoing. I’ve dialed it way back but I still do it occasionally if I’m doing something interesting or traveling or whatever. Will be sharing lots more on Sweden soon! 🙂

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