Family Travel Guide to Öland, Sweden

Family Travel Guide to Öland, Sweden

Ice cream, go-karts, beaches, and alpacas? Explore this tiny island to find some hidden gems off the east coast of Sweden in this family travel guide.   In European countries, it is common for the entire country to shut down in August as people head off to various resorts and tourist destinations. In Sweden, that "shut down" month is July—typically the warmest weather month of the year with maximum hours of sunlight. With four weeks of vacation, what is a family to do? Fortunately, for Swedes, there are plenty of stugor (rustic cabins) to rent, and plenty of islands to visit. One island, in particular, Öland, is located off the southeast coast of Sweden in the Kalmar region. Öland translates to "island land," which is fairly nonsensical but essentially, it's a long, narrow island.   Getting to Öland There is a bus that runs between Stockholm and Öland if you want to put someone else in charge of the driving. You can enter the island either by...
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Lådbilslandet—Heaven on earth for kids

Lådbilslandet—Heaven on earth for kids

Imagine an amusement park where only kids are allowed to ride and they receive endless rides on the tea cups, carousel, and trains. Where kids drive cars, motorcycles, and tractors. All. By. Themselves. The 1980s are alive and well at Lådbilslandet—or Soap Box Car Land—an amusement park in Sweden with soap box cars, "motorcycles" (they have three wheels so they are more like tricycles with engines), tractors, and river rafts. Lådbilslandet is a place where your kids can feel like grown ups. Kids Only It's a "kids only" type of place and adults aren't allowed on any of the rides. Not one. If your kid doesn't want to ride alone then you'll need to find a willing child (or sibling) to ride along with them. Honestly, that shouldn't be hard at all to find since every kid I saw was dying for extra rides. The kids are really in charge at this amusement park and parents have no choice but to relinquish all pretenses of being...
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The Moments That Surprise You

The Moments That Surprise You

The post below contains affiliate links to help support Knocked Up Abroad at no extra cost to you.   Ever since starting this book publishing collaborative journey, I've reached out to a lot of writers, illustrators, marketers, and people in the business. During the Kickstarter campaign for Knocked Up Abroad Again, my "Why not? Meter" was at full tilt and I was daringly reaching out to New York Times bestselling authors. You know, because why not? What did I have to lose? Well, all of that outreach ended up being tremendously helpful and I received amazing support from NY Times bestselling authors AK Turner, Jen Mann, and Suzanne Kamata (their reviews on are on the back cover!) and I also managed to get looped into their world. Have you ever wondered how those reviews get onto book covers? Usually, the author or publisher sends around a beta version of the manuscript to other writers and asks for a few review blurbs months before the book is published. These reviews are then featured on the...
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Heading Back During A Tumultuous Time

Heading Back During A Tumultuous Time

  I'm about to get on a plane for 12 hours and fly straight into the face of the unknown.   I'm not heading in for a family trip, holiday, or celebration. I'm making this difficult, time-consuming trek because I feel compelled. Something is pulling me. I must go.   New friends, old friends, and whoever I meet along the way will all be a part of this wave of energy. A hopeful turn of the tides. A show of change, positivity, and unity.   I have witnessed firsthand what women can accomplish when they organize. It is empowering, bold, and beautiful. When we set aside our differences and focus on our commonalities, we can break down barriers. Build bridges.   Discover how we are the same and the differences no longer seem to matter. We may define "best" for our families differently and approach it in various ways—there is no one path in life—but we are all trying our best.   My good friend, Clara Wiggins, talks about the uncertainty...
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There Are Good People Everywhere

There Are Good People Everywhere

A few weeks ago, I packed my suitcase and headed out of town for a week in Amsterdam to facilitate a data analysis and management workshop—switching my crisp and clean editor/publisher hat for my worn-in public health hat. It was refreshing to step back into comfortable shoes and play a role that was familiar and speak a language that was native. I met public health professionals from all over the world—Georgia (the country, not the state), Russia, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, and Croatia. In 2013, I was five months pregnant and flew to Cote d'Ivoire to facilitate another global public health consultation of this nature. Luck would have it that I was paired with the only female participant in the room—a laboratorian from Sierra Leone. We sat together and analyzed her influenza surveillance data, and I noted that she didn't have any cases—I mean zero cases, which would be extremely rare—for males aged 30-45...
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How To Travel Light As A Family

How To Travel Light As A Family

  As a family, we have traveled all around Europe and the US on planes, trains, and automobiles but no matter where we are headed, we employ these core approaches to traveling lightly. As a mom of two kids, I found that I needed my arms to remain as free as possible to hold little hands while walking on busy streets or helping them up into their seats on the bus. Here's what worked for us:     1. Do laundry wherever you are We generally never pack clothing for more than five days and plan on doing laundry along the way. We stay at Airbnb apartments that usually have a washer on site and a kitchen. This has transformed our traveling experiences with children.     2. Backpack and baby wearing We prefer to use backpacks to keep our hands free for wrangling and carrying our children. Roller bags are good but you lose a hand and dragging it through Europe can be extra difficult over cobblestone streets. They...
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Celebrating Midsummer In Sweden Like A Swede

Celebrating Midsummer In Sweden Like A Swede

In the land of the Midnight Sun, on the longest day of the year, Swedes flock to the countryside, the seaside, or any side that isn't touching a city. Though the sun never dips below the horizon on the summer equinox, lovingly referred to as Midsommar in Swedish, the air doesn't feel hot and often a sweater or light jacket is still required. Many Swedes pack up their cars and head out to their summer houses in the countryside, but for the lonely few who don't own a summer house, we peasants head to the nearest island in Stockholm's vast archipelago. With over 24,000 (the actual number is hotly debated) islands to choose from, last year we chose a traditional favorite destination near Stockholm—Grinda—a 45-minute ferry ride from our closest town, Vaxholm.   The ferry boat is jammed full of merry Swedes—women are dressed in all white with wildflower wreaths in their hair and men are sporting colorful pants. The atmosphere is...
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