What do Sweden, Norway and Denmark have in common?

If you guessed they’re all absurdly beautiful, expensive and cold… you are correct!

Maybe it’s just because I live in Texas and therefore have zero tolerance for cold but when the Scandinavians say, “It’s a lovely warm day!” I’ve become quite skeptical.

“I’ll be taking my artic coat and gloves thank you very much.”

Why all this talk of Scandinavia you ask? Well, I’m freshly returned from a two week whirlwind of a trip there. I found some very interesting and helpful things in regards to writing while there. Here’s a few reasons why Scandinavia is a great place for writers to visit.

 

Cafes, cafes, and more cafes

 

Not to be confused with coffee shops.

Apparently, in some Scandinavian countries, coffee shops and cafes are two DRASTICALLY different things. Take my word for it. Or… find out for yourself the hard way.

The great thing about all these adorable cafes everywhere are A) they are adorable but also, B) many of them don’t have internet!

Whaaaat? How is that a good thing?

While frustrating at times for someone who doesn’t have an international data plan, not having internet certainly cuts down the distractions! #Productivity! I’m now considering shutting off my home internet permanently. Just kidding! I wouldn’t do that to my roommate.

In all reality though, it’s amazing what you can do when you put away all the distractions. I’ve since decided to leave my phone in another room and avoid the internet during future writing sessions.

 

Inspiration is lurking everywhere

 

Ah… Europe! There are royal armories, gardens, castles, Viking ships, horses and beautiful pastures, need I go on? For a fantasy author of books set in the medieval days, it’s a dream!

One of the great things about travel is finding inspiration and new ideas for projects. For me, the Vasa Museum was hugely inspirational.

Inside this museum in Stockholm is an actual Viking ship that sunk some 300+ years ago and was preserved in the cold miry clay at the bottom of the harbor. The Swedes managed to dig up the ship and now it sits inside the museum on display.

Since the second book in my trilogy has several scenes at sea with ships, the Vasa was hugely insightful. I was definitely “that tourist” who took pictures of everything.

Pardon me! Sorry! Writer coming through.

 

New cultures and people to observe

 

People watching is always fun but especially in a foreign country. Everything from dress-code to mannerism is different. After talking with locals, I learned many interesting tid-bits. If nothing-else, I can pull these out at parties to impress everyone with my wealth of useless knowledge. 😉

For instance, who knew you’ll get laughed out of a social gathering if you wear white socks in Sweden? Or that a cashier with no education in Norway makes more than someone with a grad. degree in the US?? (That was depressing). Or that in Sweden you have to get in a queue for basically everything including getting a permanent parking spots, gardening or, for heaven’s sake, to use the WASHER and DRYER? Yeah, laundry would probably never happen for me over there.

Also, I would never have discovered fica! Aka the best happy hour of all times—coffee and cinnamon rolls! I may have gained the Scandinavian-fifteen due to fica alone…

But in all seriousness, when I’m world building for my novels, it’s the details that bring everything to life. Learning about the culture of other countries always gives me new ideas for things I could be doing in my stories.

I could go on about things I learned while abroad but I’m still a tad jet-lagged and grow weary. That’s all for now folks. Candace signing off to enjoy the rest of Memorial Day Weekend!

P.S. For those of you wondering if that’s me in the picture standing on the edge of the cliff at the top, the answer is yes. Would you expect anything less??

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