We are sitting at the kitchen table at Zoë's parents' house. The conversation turns to buying a house and mortgages. The parents ask what the conditions are like in Norway and Sweden. How much cash do you need? Can you get a mortgage as a foreigner? Do you have to be registered in the country? All legitimate questions, but most of the answers we don't know. We did look it up quickly once, but never studied it in detail and that while we have the plan to find a house in Scandinavia - preferably this year. Nor do we have any idea where we would like to live and what kind of work we want to do. Sounds like good preparation, right?
That same evening we search the Internet for mortgage conditions in Sweden and Norway. On a website about emigrating to Norway we read:
"Experience shows that people who leave on the "spur of the moment" and don't make any arrangements soon come back disappointed. Often they have lost a lot, or all, of their savings. However, this can be prevented by preparing everything down to the last detail. A good preparation is not exaggerated! It can make or break your emigration to Norway!"
Will we really lose all our savings and return disappointed?
A few days ago, on the first day of 2022, Zoë said, "The fact that we're leaving in two weeks does give me an uncertain feeling. What it is, she could not pinpoint. We had set aside December to prepare for Scandinavia, but December was over and we didn't prepare anything. The map with circels around airports and train connections, we haven't updated since long. The bicycles and some of the clothes we need didn't arrive yet. So it's not surprising that Zoë has a slightly uncertain feeling. Her biggest doubt is not whether we will succeed, but which country we will choose. Norway or Sweden are both still options, but we can't choose. Zoë's heart beats faster for the houses in Sweden, but Norway meets our conditions like accessibility and snow security. Choice overload. Moreover, it's not only Zoë who is a bit uncertain. Olivier also regularly thinks, what kind of work am I going to do there? But we're not too worried.
We deliberately choose to go to Scandinavia by bicycle. The world trip has taught us that while traveling we always find the answer to our questions. We meet many people and our minds are completely open so that we move very slowly in the direction of our answer. This is not a hard science, of course, but the world trip does give us confidence that it works that way every time. In the book The New Rich, we read a great quote. "Be unprepared." It delivers adventure, unexpected twists and turns and makes us more alert. After all, how can we prepare for something whose outcome we don't know at all?
So we set off on a wild ride, but our preparation was our world trip. Our minds are prepared, the practical stuff is unprepared.