runawaykiwi-in-the-snow

I seem to bring extreme weather with me wherever I go. I was in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago and they had a freak blizzard. Me being the ignorant Kiwi living in London that I am, I assumed that Sweden was just snowy all winter, but apparently the locals were surprised by the snow storm as well. They have not had snow like that in a few years, and even then it is normally in January not the beginning of November.

When I arrived on Monday there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Don’t get me wrong it was more snow than I had seen in years, about the same as London got on the snowiest day a few years ago, but nothing to stop life functioning as normal. I was so excited, I mean SNOW. And it was good snow, snow that stayed where it was meant to and looked great in the background on Instagram.

Tuesday the snow was in the air, lightly falling. It turned my 15 minute walk to work into a 25 minute walk to work, but I wasn’t mad at it because it was beautiful. Like Winter Wonderland but not full of fairground rides and terrible excuses for human beings. Tuesday was great.

Wednesday was the apocalypse.

Wednesday was so much snow that all public transport stopped, cars couldn’t drive, and I fell over twice. My 25 minute Tuesday walk turned into a 40 minute shuffle through the snow as svelt 70 year old Swedish men ran past me in the snow drifts. Why was I shuffling I hear you ask? Oh, just because I was entirely unprepared for snow and the only shoes I had were my Converse. My Converse that have so little grip in the snow that they may as well be roller skates.

swedish-dog-in-the-snow

If it weren’t bad enough that I had to walk in a snowdrift that was up to my knees (as I said, the Swedish were surprised too and hadn’t got the whole snowplough shindig organised yet) I had the lovely joy of a Swedish person stopping me every 15 minutes to tell me I was wearing the wrong shoes.

When you are standing in a blizzard with a dog trying to pee on your semi-frozen leg it is really hard to know what to say to the person pointing at your feet saying “those shoes are wrong”. I went with the “oh shit really?” approach, because it was better than weeping into the snow as I tried to get Amazon to deliver snow boots to ‘somewhere in the blizzard – Stockholm’.

First time it was funny, twelfth time I was ready to stab them with a frozen herring.

snow-in-stockholm-in-november

Side note: during winter in Stockholm they normally have handsome men roaming the rooftops pushing off the snow, they make sure the footpath is cordoned off first to avoid accidentally killing someone. However, because it was a surprise blizzard the handsome men were off undertaking other duties. This meant that every so often a significant amount of snow would spontaneously fall off the roof, and if you happened to be underneath it you may die. Snow is fun.

It was an amazing experience to be in a city covered in snow, from inside a warm building it was my favourite thing in the world. From outside? After falling on my ass for the hundredth time as a local pointed at my shoes and rooftop snow of death might kill me…. I will take London rain any day.

Oh, and dogs in the snow are perfection.

Runawaykiwi in NYC

Travel can do miraculous things; it broadens the mind, inspires leaps of faith and can forge new friendships. As silly as it sounds the thing that can make or break a trip isn’t your companions, the weather or the current economic climate. The thing that really matters for the success of your trip is the shoes on your feet.

I have stood in the wonder of the Sistine Chapel and focused on the blisters on my toes. I have climbed the steps of the Great Wall of China and spent the entire time preoccupied with not slipping over in my jandals. I have even been known to spend an hour in an art gallery sitting in front of one painting, hoping to look like an intellectual when in truth I was just resting my aching feet. It is the shoes that make the trip.

Annoyingly though running shoes were always the domain of middle age Americans on a tour bus, the white hunks of rubber on their feet making them look like they were all walking on seagulls. Then Nike came along and changed the game, they made brightly coloured and most importantly cool running shoes (as semi proven by me blending into the art above!).

All of a sudden you could wear running shoes when travelling and look and feel awesome. I’ve worn my aqua neon beauties around the fashion capital Paris and not one coiffured creature batted an eyelid.

After walking me across two continents and countless laps of the Thames, my beloved Nikes are nearing their end. Now to save up for my next pair of travelling shoes…

Nike Shoes

And just in case you were wondering…the infamous picture of me on the Great Wall!

China