Sweden

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And just like that I made my way from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden. I left the hotel at 7am, made my way to the airport and snoozed for most of the flight.

Should it be a rule that if you have a window seat, you should not sleep and if you want to sleep you have to swap with someone who wants to look out the window?

I sat at the aisle and I really love seeing the earth below me from my seat in the sky. I did not get to see a lot, but a glimpse of the vast forests and lakes as we descended into Sweden was definitely a welcome sight.

I have not been to Sweden since the year 2000, so when I walked through the airport all those childhood memories came back of the summers spent in a house by a lake, going fishing (this was pre-vegan times :-)), eating hotdogs, swimming, making pancakes with berries and generally just hanging out in beautiful surroundings. All without cellphones. It was glorious and I have very fond memories of the three summer holidays I got to spend in Sweden as a child and teenager.

Getting to the city from the airport was a breeze. Just get on the train and 20min later you are in the heart of the city. And conveniently, the office of our partner EINS consulting was right on top of the train station. Too easy!

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We had a couple of meetings that afternoon and I managed to put aside the awkwardness and introduce myself briefly (2 sentences) in Swedish, to which Johan (bless him!) replied: you sound just like our queen Sofia (she’s German). With that out of the way we spent the next 4 hours talking about Exasol and Tableau, I ran through some demos and enjoyed hearing from the people in the room what they do with data in their organisations and what challenges they face.

At the end of the day, Johan and his colleagues from EINS took me for dinner at Fotografiska restaurant where I got to enjoy an outstanding 4-course dinner, while reminiscing about travel memories, favorite foods, data and our jobs.

After dinner I went to my hotel because the 5am (CET) start did not go unnoticed by my body and my bed was calling me. First a few emails though and then a call with the US at 10pm to discuss some exciting stuff that I can hopefully share more details about in the coming weeks (no, I’m not moving hahaha).

The beds in Helsinki and Stockholm (both Clarion hotels) were incredibly comfortable so I slept soundly for 7 or so hours before waking up to Saturday. Yes, Saturday – time to go exploring before making my way home.

Just like Helsinki, I also took the opportunity in Stockholm to go for a run. My coach had put a 60-75min jog on my plan, which suited me just fine and wrapped up with headband, gloves and a vest, I headed out to explore the city. Johan had kindly suggested a route that would take me past many highlights and I followed most of it. I had to skip the last part because it was too far for my time limit (or I was too slow for the distance), but the run was superb. Not only did I get to see a lot of the city, which meant I constantly stopped to take photos, but I also actually enjoyed running. I was not fast but that wasn’t the point.

I ended up running just over 11km before returning to my hotel, a hot shower and a big breakfast. Two bowls of porridge (oatmeal) with lingonberry jam, fruit compote, apple sauce, oat milk and coconut flakes. Yes please!

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I still had time before heading back to the airport and I had not seen the Old Town, so I spent the next 3 hours walking around the many streets and little lane ways.

I was delighted not just by the architecture and autumn atmosphere, but also by the little things I found for my apartment. Some cute ornaments for my Christmas tree (at the rate at which I am buying ornaments, my Christmas tree will need to be rather large…) and 4 small serving bowls in ‘Nordic design’. I needed them anyway and it will be nice to set the table and think back to this trip to Stockholm.

Overall, I really like Scandinavian design. The simplicity and minimalism as well as the use of natural colours and materials appeals to me. Wood, metal, fabric combined well to create a welcoming environment, which moves into the background and just sets the scene for people to come together, share stories and food and laughs and create memories. That is how I want my home to feel and I saw a lot of inspiration during this trip.

As I was only travelling with hand luggage, I had to limit my purchases. I would have loved to buy some fabrics and lamps, but that will have to wait until next time. Maybe I will find something nice back home or online.

This morning and early afternoon in Stockholm was mostly sunny and it’s a shame I didn’t have more time to enjoy the city but I really need to go home.

As exciting and fun as these trips are – and I truly appreciate and enjoy them, I know I am fortunate to get to see all these places – I also want to spend time at home in my apartment, sitting on my couch with a good book, a cup of tea or hot juice and just be. And I want to ride to my bike and get fit for the next season.

To date I have spent 48% of my time way from home this year. That’s quite a lot and I am very conscious of it. I love the travel aspect of my job, I just need to do it a bit smarter and I really need to sleep more during those trips J.

There is a lot of exciting work to be done back home away from these events and I’m looking forward to progressing on the many projects I have going on, especially as things calm down a little bit and the conference/events season comes to an end for 2017.

Yesterday Andy and I spoke about 2018 and our plans for Makeover Monday. We have many ideas on how we can improve the project, reduce the work for ourselves, especially those parts where we’re not adding any value, i.e. the administrative and repetitive process side of things and focus more on those aspects where our input does make a difference.

For the last week, since I came back from the short 5 day break at the start of November, I have been extra motivated and incredibly productive. I actually surprised myself with the amount of stuff I got done.

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The Scandinavia trip gave me another big boost, because I got to see the results of the effort we at Exasol have put into our product and services but also the engagement I’ve been having with the Tableau community and the response from the people who turn up at these events. I am heading home with a big smile on my face, fresh ideas in my head and a lot of impressions that I will treasure for a long time to come.

Thank you to the teams at Big Data Solutions in Finland and EINS Consulting in Sweden for making this trip possible. I look forward to catching up with you again soon!

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