Remembering those days of happiness

Sweden again, a couple of months of winter, darkness and another life. Spring is hopefully here soon, at least that is what most people are longing for. Anders spent the winter months editing the Stuart Highway movie. Watch it and read about our last skating days.

The last days!
The car was bigger than expected, a 4WD SUV was going to replace our longboards and arms with mixed feelings loaded the trunk. We had had this on our minds for a while, how to travel faster and less strenuous and also be able to see more things thanks to that. But the original plan had also been to skate all the way down to Port Augusta, not ”only” to Alice Springs. Even if we had to change this plan parts of us wanted to skate further. This had been the days of our lives.

Barely a week earlier, all we wanted to achieve was to reach Alice Springs and so we did. We arrived at the ”Welcome sign” outside town, fully equipped with skating gears. Triumph and “happy photo moments” later we tried to enter the city without having a speeding ticket, the hills were pretty steep. Well, a little too steep according to us but we were so close to reach the goal. Some kilometers later we landed at a shopping center, bought 2 ice creams each and tried to convince ourselves that this was it, mission was completed! Emptiness and happiness, side by side.

So, this was the end of our skating adventure. After that we were lucky to have a lot of adventures by car in the southern parts of Australia before we went back to Sweden, happy and precious memories. But longboarding the Stuart Highway is absolutely the most interesting and best thing we have done! Some of you have seen my pictures on Instagram or Facebook, for the rest of you, they are still there. Otherwise, have a look above at the movie Anders made!

So long!
Alice Springs

Luxury for skaters

wild campWild camp   (Photo: Anders Karlsson)

We set camp for the last time for this   skating adventure. The day had been a fight towards a bad temper and tired legs and we had had two choices, to split the distance in three days instead of two and drink crappy water the last day or to push ourselves to exhaustion, have fresh water all the time but be in terrible moods. Both of us. The flies were in hundreds and all we wished for was to be in Alice Springs already, hopefully with less insects.

We took a paus in the shade of Warburton    memorial’s stone, tried to cheer each other up and decided to skate just a little b

it more. Off we went and on surprisingly smooth pavement for the first time of the day we could feel a tiny little descend.

Moods changed to happy, we were flying for several kilometres. On top of that a man stopped and gave us a litre of ice in a bottle which slowly turned into the coldest and greatest water ever.

All this lasted only for half an hour or so,  but the luxury of a stretch of smooth downhill and a friendly man with ice made the difference. On rough asphalt we skated the rest of the day, picked a lovely camping spot in the golden afternoon light which I adore so much. The sun gave color to the sand, the trees and to the two of us. The last piece of melted water was shared in a joined toast for the last wild camp and for 43 days of hard skating days, one to go, and a lot of fun in between. Shared with tons of flies, but anyway.

If that’s not luxury, what is!?

Ice cream from Red Centre FarmAnother kind of luxury along Stuart Highway

Tropic of CapricornTropic of Capricorn

Stuart HighwayStuart Highway

Where are all the kangaroos and where the hell is Alice?

Where are all the kangaroos? Where are all the kangaroos?

Six weeks ago we had our first experience of the outback, if you can call it “outback” only 43 kilometres away from Darwin. We did. Noonamah had a roadhouse, a gas station, a pub/restaurant, a camping and not much more to brag about. We were exhausted but thrilled, everything was new and we had a serious laugh at the stickers you could buy at the gas station. They said “Where the Hell is Noonamah” and we couldn’t do more than agree. Where the hell had we ended up?

Several weeks later, and with a lot more confidence and experience of the outback and the roadhouses, we’ve learned that those stickers are everywhere. “Where the hell is Hayes Creek/Emerald Springs/Dunmarra/Wycliffe Well/…”. Not so funny anymore even if we still wonder where the hell we are sometimes.

As we continue travelling we meet a lot of friendly people. Some of them stop to take photos, some of them are just curious or want to give us something cold. A few stop because they assume we are hitchhiking, I presume we sometimes look like that when we’re waiting for cars to pass by. Anyway, we tell our story and lately people have started to say, “Aah, you’re only going to Alice.” Well, in my opinion it’s not like skating to the neighbour. For your information it’s still almost 300 kilometres away and the asphalt doesn’t seem to get better. You’re welcome to join if you like and if you’re unsure of the map I can point Alice Springs out for you and explain how far “almost/only/just” is . ;-)

So, we’re “almost” there according to a bunch of people but still we haven’t seen an alive kangaroo. A dead one, yes. But that doesn’t count.

We fall asleep to the strange sounds of howling dingoes and wake up to a lovely bird song in the dawn. We’ve seen more wallabies, dead and alive, than we thought were possible and the parrots are making us crazy with their noise. Their colours are beautiful though. Ants, frogs, toads, spiders, lizards, emus, peacocks, unfenced cows and fenced camels. Even a group of wild donkeys.

But where are the roos? Can’t leave Australia without having seen one, can we!?

Therapy, wanderlust and exhaustion

Stuart HighwayStuart Highway

I arrived at the Stuart Memorial rest area in tears, tried to hide them from Anders but it might have been them who made him say, “Let’s stay here, it’s great!”. Or maybe he just thought the place was great, when I had a look around it suited our purpose quite well. Toilets, water and the possibility to have a cold one if we had company. The pain in my right thigh didn’t go away at once but I certainly felt relieved and one of the least effective days for me had an end.

We didn’t have to wait long until a caravan with a fridge turned up. Cold drinks for dinner, more than appreciated. So was the wine we shared with the owners later on. When the sun almost touched the horizon I zoomed out from the conversation for a while, the bushes behind the small gathering looked like they were on fire… I didn’t mention it to the others, just enjoyed the colours of the nature by myself.

We’ve had some “killer days”, the wind made it into our minds and the pavement absorbed all energy from both of us, sucking it out through heels and toes, leaving nothing but cruel exhaustion. Together in misery we tried to encourage each other but I guess I wasn’t the only one falling asleep with a silent wish on my lips, “Please, let it be less demanding tomorrow, let the wind ease or turn into a tail wind. Please!”

Then one day the wind just turned. The rough asphalt became smoother too and with a silly smile and reasonable fresh and cold water we took off for the two best skating days ever. No pain, and Tennant Creek, the next town was getting closer fast. I mean in longdistance skating terms. We also had a few people stopping, some offering fruit and cold drinks and one couple was actually already fans of Longboard Lady. That’s cool!

Skate on
“One, two, three, four, five… one, two, three…” Pushing, thinking or emptying your brain. Sometimes it’s a total and perceptive presence where every thought is clear and vivid. Other times it’s more like meditation, where every time you push and put a number to it becomes a kind of mantra. Stuart Highway gives me the opportunity to have the thinking, the meditative moments and of course the admiration of this magnificent landscape.

Tennant Creek
It is what I expected. A small mining town without anything really exciting to explore for us. Lovely rest days though at the only hostel in town. Reading, cooking, drinking a bottle of wine. That’s a lovely life for an tired skater.

We’ve been here, in Tennant Creek, for two days now, plan to leave tomorrow morning but who knows… It’s not a big city but they have a food store where I could find coconut oil, chia seeds and 100% peanut butter. We all have our needs and I’m lucky I found these luxury things of mine.

We have actually spent a lot of time trying to find out how to make it possible to transport all the food we’ll need for the rest of our trip. We have one third left to skate before Alice Springs, where we plan to stop this adventure, but only one opportunity to buy food once we’ve left Tennant Creek. Thankfully there are a couple of roadhouses along the way. They won’t offer any food to bring but I guess they have exactly the same menu as the other roadhouses and we will gratefully accept it for refuelling. Still, we will be overloaded with cans and water when we’re slowly moving to our final skating destination.

Let’s see if we find internet along the way, otherwise Alice Springs will be the next place for updates a couple of weeks from now.

So long!

Stuart Highway on a longboardStuart Highway on a longboard

Me and Anders having a lovely stay at Three WaysMe and Anders having a lovely stay at Three Ways

Fans stopping for a chat and some cold drinks. Fans stopping for a chat and some cold drinks. I hope you are OK with me posting this picture!

Elliott, the shithole

Elliott, idiot (t)

“Elliott is a shithole.” The tone she used was neutral but the words very clear. Ok, we still wanted to believe that Elliott was the next “heaven” for us, no matter what the young girl at the reception/bar/restaurant in one of the former small towns said. A place where we, a week later, should be able to relax, refuel, eat and drink from more than one menu and maybe even buy new shoes for Anders. Well, now we know. Elliott IS a shithole. She definitely knew what she was talking about! A friendly shit hole though.

We have another week of skating until the next imagined heaven, Tennant Creek, and our legs beg us for a rest day. The skating equipment too, things loosen on a longboard riding this, mildly described, shaky road. We’ll stay in the shithole for two nights.
Elliott, the shit hole
So, for anyone else who reads in a few years old guidebook or have any kind of fantasies about Elliott as a metropolis, please remember that it’s still a nice town but:

  1. There are NOT a couple of roadhouses here. The only room we found was an old cabin at the hotel, when you enter the town from the north. It had seen its better days to be honest but the bar area is really nice . The hotel didn’t open until noon due to the “Alcohol restriction law” though. (We just wanted a room but as mentioned it also serve as the local bar.) There is a caravan park at the other end of the town too, according to Google Maps, 750 metres away from “our” hotel. Didn’t find any rooms there, can’t be sure.
  2. You can’t buy any other footwear than thongs here and that’s not what Anders needs.
  3. The only “Breakfast Menu” in town, which is in the hotel that opens at 12, is no longer available. Same thing with “Lunch Menu” which is said to be between 12 and 1 pm. Doesn’t exist. The “Dinner Menu” though, between 6 pm and 8 pm is still there and pretty decent for the outback too.
  4. There is a “Take Away” kitchen at the BP store. When we went there the kitchen was closed though, because of the chef’s birthday. The next day it seemed to be her birthday too!? Besides that the staff is helpful and friendly.
  5. Another place for hot food around lunchtime is in the store next to the campsite. The store is randomly closed though and when we were hungry around noonish yesterday we couldn’t find a single soul. All doors closed. No sign and no opening hours available. Today at the same time the store was open but the kitchen closed. Friendly staff here too, that helps.
  6. The minimart that’s supposed to be adjoined to the hotel is no longer there. I guess they’ve just closed.
  7. If you find the store next to the camping open and make some complementary shopping at the BP store you can refill your grocery supply pretty well. They do have a selection of canned food and some other things you’ll need if you travel slowly in the outback. That’s good! Expensive as hell of course but what the heck, we are just passing.

Elliott is also the place which is almost in the middle of what we have decided to be the “Grand Final” of our skating adventure. Darwin to Alice Springs, hurray… If I find the opening hours for the bar, if they keep it open on these hours, if they actually store gin, which seem surprisingly rare, and if they have someone serving I will try to find a GT tonight, celebrating that we only have another 761 kilometres (Google Maps again) to skate before we’ll turn into, what other people call, more “normal” travellers.

Well, now it sounds like Elliott is a totally boring place to be. I must say that it’s not fair. We’ve had our share of smiles and warm faces and the people still living here can’t be blamed for the decreased numbers of inhabitants, which I guess is one of the main reasons for this towns status. It’s still a shithole, but a nice and friendly one.

Cheers! :)

Insects, the wind from hell and Chinese television

Daly Waters Pub
Lately we thought things were going better and better day by day. Then the head wind started. Phew… A warm and hard wind, right in your face. Making every push a hard struggle continuing for hours and hours with heavily loaded trailers containing huge amounts of water and the daily dosage of canned food. The asphalt was also teasing us, and for a while happy faces turned into not so happy. The good thing with the head wind though is that the flies don’t know how to keep up crawling in your face.

I had new cravings, ice cream or/and really chilled Fanta! I could also see myself eating “raw” ice. That’s not a new one though. I’ve always loved it.

Two days of this wind, staring down on your feet for every single push, slowly moving and slowly taking all the fun away. Then, the Chinese TV team stopped, asked for an interview and offered us less warm water than we had in our water containers. Chatting and a photo shooting was fun and when we finally took off again the wind from hell had decreased a tiny little bit and we had new energy for an hour or so, enough to find us a new and excellent wild camp. No ants, a million flies but no ants. Happy faces.

Today we just decided to take a detour to Daly Waters Historical Pub. What a place! I can’t decide what’s better than the other. The delicious food or the clean shower. We need to rest from five days of skating with a head wind. Looking forward to two lovely days of gluttony and a massive consumption of soap. Gaah!

Burned area along Stuart Highway Burned area along Stuart Highway

Anders is taking a break along Stuart Highway Anders is taking a break along Stuart Highway

The Chinese TV teamThe Chinese TV team!

Flies, flies and more flies! Flies, flies and more flies!

Sunset at wild campSunset at wild camp

Just another day of travel with a longboard

It’s 40 degrees and we’re sipping on hot chocolate from a powder portion bag stolen from one of the fancier rooms we had, mixed with newly boiled water from our gas stove. Dirty and totally soaked in our own sweat we hear each other giggle quietly, what a choice for drinks on a hot afternoon like this but wow, it’s so good.

We’ve just chosen our spot for wild camping but the sun is unbearable where the tent is pitched and we found a grassy area shaded from a tree next to the highway, not far from our campsite. As soon as my hot chocolate is finished I use my longboard as a relaxing bed and begins to listen to a new audio book, downloaded to my phone.

The only car we hear passing by the next hour is a single police car and we start to wonder if we should have continued skating for an hour more or so. Legs were awfully tired though.

When the golden hour before sunset is over we see the moon rise as thin as it is. We only have the inner mesh tent and lying on thin sleeping pads we watch the sky getting darker. No sleeping bag needed in this tempature. While the birds stop singing the stars get more and more twinkling. We fall asleep like that, but only an hour later or so I wake up again. The silence is broken by someone jumping on dried branches, a wallaby I guess and get back to sleep, accompanied by Anders’ heavy breathing.

Traffic is still slow at 7.30 in the morning and we don’t have to be as patient as usual. Just pushing and enjoying the relative fresh air with the knowledge that an hour from now the sun is already hot and burning. The asphalt is behaving and the ride is quite smooth. Only 20 kilometres today and less food and water to carry since we are reaching civilisation again and our stocks are either eaten or drunken. Well, if you call the tiny town of Mataranka for civilisation. I guess you can have different opinions on that.

Life is so much easier with running water, a bottle of chilled wine and someone else preparing your dinner. More expensive too. We enjoy the cabin life for two nights and mix it with a lovely swim in the thermal water called Bitter Springs.

Fruit from strangers
Fruit from strangers

Longboards ready to go
Longboards ready to go

Camping dinner
Camping dinner

A shoulder on  Stuart Highway
A shoulder on Stuart Highway

Me, on Stuart Highway
Me, on Stuart Highway

Bitter Springs
Bitter Springs

A short one

This, my friends, will be a short one. Travelling, exploring and skating has taken all my time and no matter how long I have it’s always to short. I might have more spare time soon but less Internet. That’s also hard for a travel blogger.

Well, we’ve been skating some really rough roads lately and we are going to slow, that’s a fact and we’re trying to deal with it. Last one was 10 hours and 48 kilometres. That will give you an idea of what kind of asphalt we’re fighting. We needed a nice break in Katherine with surroundings.

Rivers, gorges and a burning sun gave us a nice break with refreshing swims and stunning views.

Tomorrow we leave again. Internet will be limited so don’t worry if you don’t hear anything. We will be busy fighting new asphalt. :-)

Stuart Highway

Katherine Gorge

Canoeing Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge

It’s not flat, mate.

“Let’s give it another day or two before we give up, honey.”, “Wow, this asphalt is fantastic!!”, “Why the bloody hell does the road train have to disturb my ride right now!?”, “Seriously, if we don’t stop now I will die…  for real.”, “Look, wallabies”,  “Look, more wallabies”, “Can you help me, my legs are too stiff to climb those 5 steps of the stairway!?”,  “Oh God, can we go to sleep now? (8 pm)”,  “Wow, even more wallabies”

Ok! Here I am, 6 pm in the afternoon… have been drinking beer since one o’clock and was just reminded of what a lazy lifestyle I have. Well, try skating Stuart Highway yourself is all I have to say.

Anders said, “How hard can it be?”. Now it’s more,  “How slow can it be?”

My wheels are already very much eaten up by the asphalt, the trucks have scratches everywhere. We try to fasten every bolt every day, still… the road loosen it again and we sound like someone who’s dragging an old cart on gravel.

Still, every day is laughter and sometimes relaxation too I guess. I need that.

We found a new friend in Ralph, she picked us up and invited us to her outback life. She seems to have everything, living in a shed with a lot of rooms and as simple as that she shares it with birds, snakes, cute dogs and a pair of teenagers. She loves them all.

Ralph became our private guide in the area and she showed us Litchfield National Park before leaving us there for some bush walking and camping nights with the Milky “starry” Way accompanied with a full moon.  Waterfalls, swimming and a couple of days of Beef ‘n Chunky for dinner. Ralph also squeezed in time for a rodeo night and taught us how to appreciate a muscle car burning rubber. What a difference from the silent camping nights.

We’ve been alone for a while now. Well, you are never alone when you travelling the Stuart Highway with a longboard and a trailer but anyway… being almost by yourself is good too.

The flat road turned out to be quite hilly. At least around Hayes Creek where we approached yesterday and left this morning. Tonight my legs are resting nicely towards the armchair. Hopefully recovered a little until tomorrow, early morning.

That’s a strange thing by the way… I fall asleep around 9 pm and get up at sunrise. I guess that is amazing for you people who know me. :)

Ralph's friendly bird

Ralph ‘s friendly bird



At the Noonamah Rodeo


Our camp site in Litchfield National Park

Our camp site in Litchfield National Park


Anders is bush walking
Anders is bush walking

Buley RockholeA nice afternoon shower


Stuart Highway and my longboard Me, my trailer and some rough asphalt


Preparing for take off Preparing before take off


Anders is teaching a local how to skate

Anders is teaching a local how to skate

Bush fire

Bush fire between Hayes Creek and Emerald Springs


Darwin, chasing crocs in Kakadu and to start the trip

So, what’s happened the last 4 days since we got here? Well, we found a festival, we have changed our minds about Darwin from boring to really nice and we had a long and expensive day on a bus with old people, going to Kakadu National Park where we saw a large number of impressive crocs and birds. We also got famous in Halmstad, Anders home town, where the local newspaper had an article about our trip.            

Today’s mission was to start our journey south. Woke up too late, didn’t have time to pack our things properly and realised that we drink more water than expected.

Anyway, the bike path was lovely and the day wasn’t too strenuous. We found some drunken locals in a bar, spent a couples of hours there until we had to check in at the expensive (when you’re on a budget) but really good Rydges Hotel in Palmerston. Not far away from where we took off but a good distance to start with. The shower was great, the bed seems lovely and hopefully we will go to sleep early enough to wake up for the included breakfast tomorrow. We’ll see about that…


Darwin, the waterfront.


A crocodile in Yellow Water.


Yellow water in Kakadu National Park.


About to take off.


My trailer loaded with a lot of stuff.


Trees burned by fire along Stuart Highway.


The bike path next to Stuart Highway.

Here we go again

Sofia is trying her equipment

Yes, here we go again… and yes, it’s WE! I asked my gorgeous biker if he was ready for another adventure, and he said ”Alrighty, let’s go then”. If you ask him, I was the one who persuaded him to go longboarding in Australia but it was actually his own idea to change the bike to a skating longboard. At least that’s how I remember it.

So, we will leave Sweden the 22nd of August, only a few days left, and after spending a couple of days in Darwin and hopefully Kakadu National Park (looking for waterfalls and crocs) we will skate down south on Stuart Highway. Through the desert, with trailers and a looong straight road ahead. About 2834 km. Hopefully we will end up in Port Augusta in time for some sightseeing in the south and a week in Bali before heading back home (but I won’t think of that part yet).

He says it will take 2 months, I say 3. Something in between will probably be right if we stay away from injuries and heat stroke. I know how blisters and soared legs feel. He doesn’t. Yet.

Anders and his Pusher 2.0 from Longboard Larry

Anders thought it was ok to share the road, the tent and the desert with me for 3 months but when I told him he was welcome to join the blog posts of Longboard Lady too he said “Enough is enough”. You can read his side of the story at Longboard Australia.

When grief calls me back

Back in Sweden
It looks so white and fluffy, like friendly cotton balls, but I know it is a lie. It is more like a darksome and unsteady gateway to the harsh and ugly reality down there. A slap in my face again, too soon and too cruel. We leave the blue sky and shining sun above the clouds and descend to a less beautiful world. The world where I’m back in Sweden to grieve another family member. This time I have to stay for a while.

I still want to tell you about the time before I went back. About the small Costa Rican town Orosí, and how I changed my mind about San José. It wasn’t even two weeks ago and still, another life. A life where my longboard finally arrived and I was about to start skating again, towards Nicaragua. Beautiful beaches and cone shaped volcanoes. I saw it in my mind but couldn’t reach it.

Orosí was too cold for me but I ignored it and wished for the sun to shine the next morning every time I went to bed. I could handle it because I liked everything else so much and when the clouds rolled in at the same time every afternoon it was quite stunning. They talked about the weather, the locals. It was supposed to be warm and sunny in January.

I went there to escape the hassle of San José and to attend a Spanish school for a week while I was waiting for the post office to get in touch with me. Unfortunately the “school way” to learn a language didn’t suite me. I learned more from Maria, the sweet student whom my friend Kari introduced me to. The three of us took walks in the small town, spoke English half time and Spanish half. She invited us to her family’s house one evening and all of a sudden the dad in the family had organized a barbecue. We spent the evening with a lot of meat, sweet wine and many stories of each other’s countries. We left the house with memories of laughter, full stomachs, hand-drawn world maps on plywood boards and a lot of new local words. The perfect way to learn Spanish.

Orosí isn’t the place to visit if you want lively evenings at bars and I surprised myself with early nights every day and even more interesting was that I liked it. Me, known as a night owl since I was a child. I slept a lot and the cold mountain air made me sleep good to. Maybe I needed it for the future.

Kari and I spent the weekend together. We did some excellent hiking in the close by cloud forest in Tapani National Park. We had stunning views, saw a spider big enough to serve as a hairy pet, took pictures of the waterfall far away while we ate the food we had brought and then, she took a swim in the cold and clear river. She became an appreciated company and we took scenic bus rides and drank beers in the favorite bar, looked at old church ruins together and talked a lot.

I left Orosí and went back to San José again when I received a notification from the post office about my longboard. Several weeks delayed I could feel it getting closer, and so did my plans for Nicaragua. I decided to stay in a nice area called San Pedro this time. Strangely, the busy and in some way aggressive city, changed to something interesting and the, sometimes threatening, atmosphere was totally gone. I know the area was different but maybe I was too. I took walks and tried restaurants, lent a bench in a park for reading and spent hours and hours trying to get my board out from the custom and post office. Then, finally I walked out of there with a smile on my face. I saw future.

Unfortunately plans had to change. I still look forward to skate in Nicaragua but right now I need to be in Sweden. The snow prevents me from trying my new longboard too and I long for the spring when life is coming back to nature and the sun allows me to stay outdoors longer. I know it will come.

To find peace and prepare for new Spanish skills

Hostel Montaña Linda

As I wrote the other day I escaped to the little town of Santo Domingo, to breathe and think without San José’s heavy traffic, almost non existent outside areas and without noises around me all the time. It turned out Santo Domingo wasn’t the right thing for me either and after spending a night in a really nice hostel but together with too many people in a tiny little area I sent an email to a language school in Orosí, an even smaller town among mountains, where I have been before. I left for the green hills this morning. Three smooth bus rides later I arrived to the well-known hostel I left a little bit more than a week ago. Tomorrow I will attend school and try to learn some Spanish while I’m waiting for my longboard to arrive in San José.

Now, finally, I have what I was looking for. I guess I was lost without travel company and without a proper plan. Now I have chilly but fresh air to breathe, a lot of space, hammocks and nice and friendly people around me… and a plan for at least a week. I love the fact that I can empty my backpack for a while and tomorrow I will hopefully learn some more words in Spanish and also be able to do my laundry, or actually pay a small amount for having it done. What more could I ask for?

¡Hasta luego amigos!

The moment of loneliness and to still not have a longboard

Among friends
He left, they left!
For many weeks I’ve had the luxury of traveling with Anders and when he left four friends of mine arrived from Sweden. We have seen Costa Rica’s extraordinary nature, all kind of beaches and some cities as well. Excellent, beautiful and expensive, I am now a poor woman going from eating out twice a day to making my own meals as cheap as possible. They are now all back in the cold Sweden and at once I felt a sting of loneliness. Kind of unexpected and kind of too emotional. Stuck in San José, a city which I don´t exactly like and waiting for a new longboard to arrive which I’m pretty sure I can’t use for a while anyway when/if it arrives (already more than 3 weeks delayed). The mountains here are to steep for me. Hopefully Nicaragua will be better, so I’ve heard.

I guess everything just caught up with me, grief over my mom who left me very recently, longing for Anders and worries about my family back home. I also think that all stories of tourists who get robbed effect me, make me insecure of traveling solo the way I do as a woman. Should I do it in a different way? I want my life to be long and strong and lucky.

Today I took the decision to get out of town while, waiting for the post office which I guess will recieve my longboard to get in touch. I will escape, at least during the weekend, to the small town of Santo Domingo just outside San José. I need space and some time to relax. Give some thoughts to all that has happened lately, and what to come. I will wait for the return of the great feeling of curiosity and the well-known desire for adventure again. Not that it is gone, it’s just taking a pause and after weeks of fast and intense travels I do need to slow down anyway. When it’s coming back I know it also helps me to be more self confident in my decisions.

A Christmas with a mugger and to end up in Costa Rica for New Year’s Eve

Jungle meets beach in Bastimentos
So, my board is broken. I wait for a new one and it will be sent to me within a couple of weeks. Anders gave up his bike to. It had given him too many flats and broken spokes and he didn’t seem to enjoy the Panamanian mountains anymore. We will have a couple of weeks going by bus instead. We were thinking both of us deserved a normal and relaxing time spent together.

We started at Lost & Found, a hostel were Anders had stayed for a while and had made friends. It was great to see him again, had longed for that moment for so long. Nothing else there, just the mountains and the nature. Well, hammocks and the chilly air too.

Lost & Found gave us time to drink some Gin & Tonic and watch animals in the jungle I had never heard of before and others I had been looking forward to see, as sloths. We also met some Swedes who we joined for a day and we went swimming in waterfalls, in a canyon and in some hot springs. Lovely days.

Morning view at Lost and Found


Swimming in canyon

A sloth in a tree

Christmas was coming up and we decided to go to the well-known Bocas del Toro at the Caribbean coast. The turquoise water and the mangroves was a nice contrast to the mountains and a water taxi took us to the island called Bastimentos where we had time to do a hike along the coast, palm fringed beaches colored with white sand and clear water. The jungle was literally on the beach, green leaves framed pictures in my camera display. Two steps in from the beach you could find the trail covered with mud and cute but poisonous red frogs decorated the path.

We woke up in time for a family gathering on Skype on a bad internet connection moment. It was nice to see them, truly. We started a hike again, took off to Wizard beach. The trail was hard to follow and muddy, all the sounds of the nature was intense though the creatures of the jungle was hiding from us.

Finally a long and, what appeared to us as, empty beach was in front of us and when the waves were to high shoes were soaked and laughter was loud. We were aiming for next destination, a coffee farm up amongst the hills. A couple on the beach we hadn’t noticed before told us where to and Anders went ahead.

All of a sudden I heard him scream from above, “run, run, run”. I was looking up to were he stood, waiting for me, and saw the reason. A man with a machete was running towards him, his face all covered up and with hunter eyes. I felt fear and ran back from where I came. Anders took the lead, I was running downhill but sprained my ankle pretty bad and lost speed.

Every time I looked behind me he was still there, yelling “Para, para!”. My guess was it meant “Stop” but I couldn’t. Started to scream, me as well, hoping that someone in the jungle would hear us, at least the couple on the beach. Being chased by a man with a machete wasn’t exactly something I had prepared myself to.

We reached the beach, made the other couple aware of the danger and ran into the water. The man didn’t give up and pointing with his big knife at us, one at the time, we did what he told us to do. Gave him all our money having faith in his assurance that he wouldn’t hurt us if we did. He left, disappeared into the jungle again and there we were, poorer but still alive and with our cameras and cell phones left. We gave up our plans to go to the farm and scared of every little sound of the jungle we went back through mud and rainforest. Late Christmas Eve became a night talking, drinking and feeling grateful for being safe together.

Palm fringed beach in Bastimentos

Red frog

A view in Bastimentos

Rain forest in Bastimentos

Muddy shoes

Going to Costa Rica
We spent a night in Bocas town, known for “all night parties” and all kind of life related to that. Still shaken up from the night before we went to bed pretty early to have some sleep before the next day of crossing the border to Costa Rica.

The land border procedure was as time consuming and ineffective as we were expecting it to be but once in a new country it wasn’t too far to the lazy town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Here we recovered from stress, drank mojitos in sunsets with caribbean live band playing and watched surfers trying to master the huge waves, for several days.

Since one of us are running out of time we catched an early bus all the way across the country to reach a hard raining La Fortuna last afternoon. We will try to catch a glimpse of Volcan Arenal shaped as the perfect cone here but until now the rain and the clouds are teasing us.

Rainy road in Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica

Volcan Arenal