Back in Sydney

“It’s such a long way to Australia”, people kept telling me as I travelled around Europe over the last two months. “It’s only twenty-four hours in the plane, and I made it”, I kept telling them. Having now arrived back in Sydney after what seems like days of travelling, I’m beginning to see their point.

After the excitement of the ABBA Museum Opening on Monday night, the morning after headlines were very much about the non-appearance of Agnetha Fältskog. On the red/pink carpet, Frida took a swipe at Agnetha’s record company, Universal Music. As reported in Expressen, Frida says she thinks they (Universal) missed a real opportunity in organising Agnetha’s schedule. She could have been in Sweden with the others, but instead she’s in London promoting her new album, appearing on radio, television, and in newspapers. There was even a nightclub appearance (though she didn’t sing) at legendary nightclub, G-A-Y.

ABBA Museum Headline
ABBA Museum Headline

– Jag tycker Universal har gjort en miss som inte såg till att hennes schema blev så att hon kunde vara här. Men det är ju som det är, det är inte så mycket att göra.
Universal är Agnetha Fältskogs skivbolag och hon släpper om en dryg vecka sitt nya album “A” genom dem och är i London för att marknadsföra albumet. Anni-Frid Lyngstad önskar dock sin före detta bandkollega lycka till innan hon avslutar intervjun. Jag bara önskar att allt går bra för henne i England och att hon har en stor succé.

Despite her sadness Agnetha wasn’t there, Frida wishes her all the best in England, and hope that it will be a big success. A spokesperson for Universal Music says the promotional tour was organised before details of the museum opening were confirmed.

Det är synd att hon inte är här så klart. Vi skulle vilja att hon var här, men Agnethas promotion var bestämt långt innan det här datumet var bestämt, säger Mia Segolsson, marknadschef på Polar music till

I actually don’t buy that argument at all. The May 7 opening was confirmed in November last year. It’s about three hours between London and Stockholm. It could have been twenty-four hours of travelling at most, with a few extra hours of travel either side. If I was one of the media people who’d organised an interview with her, I would have gladly agreed to a trip to Stockholm instead. The bottom line is, that aside from their appearance together at the Swedish opening of the “Mamma Mia” movie, there seems to be an agreement all four of them will never appear in public again. It’s only ever two or three at a time.

Hanging with Gustav in Stockholm
Hanging with Gustav in Stockholm

I spent my final hours in Stockholm hanging out with Gustav. I joked with him about my idea all four members of ABBA have a Grindr-like app on their phones which tell them whenever an ABBA fan is close-by. Profiles of well-known fans appear on the screen and it tells them exactly where they are, so they can be avoided. Gustav laughed and added, the same app also probably prevents them from being in the same spot at the same time.

Hanging out with Gustav was a really lovely way to spend my last few hours. We enjoyed a bite to eat at Cafe Sirap, which is just across the road from where I first stayed when I moved to Stockholm. It’s a really terrific cafe, with good food, and lovely company. After a lengthy walk and a chat, we had a drink together in Gamla Stan. After picking up my luggage, we bid each other farewell.

The final day’s weather in Stockholm was absolutely gorgeous. Even though I’d started the day wearing a hoodie, I’d pretty much ditched it by lunchtime. As I made my way to airport, I was both happy to be returning home (my own house, my own bed) but also a little sad.

These sleeping chairs at Beijing Airport are awesome.
These sleeping chairs at Beijing Airport are awesome.

It’s been a really wonderful trip. I loved travelling with my friend Sue. Although we’ve known each other for over thirty years, she lives in Melbourne and I live in Sydney. I felt this trip brought us closer together again in many ways. I also felt I made a really genuine friendship with Sandra and Robert on this trip. Even though we’ve met before, and have maintained an internet friendship, I’ve had a period of time where I’ve got to hang out with them, and to get to know them better also. And guess what? I really like them. Sandra sent me a farewell text, as I waited in line at Arlanda Airport.

The next thirty-six hours were a combination of flying and travel time. Nine hours from Stockholm to Beijing. Six hours in Beijing. Eleven hours back from Beijng to Sydney. As always, I slept pretty much all the way. When I arrived back in Sydney this morning, I felt pretty good. The house was left in a beautiful condition by Sarah (thankyou sincerely), and I even popped down to the supermarket tonight to get some food.

I couldn’t wait, though, to ditch the clothes I’ve been wearing far too regularly over the last few months. Nonetheless I’ve had a couple of hours of napping throughout the day, and so I’m feeling quite normal in terms of my body’s timezone and travel adjustment.

I don’t have to go back to work until May 20, and so I’m looking forward to hanging out around Sydney over the next week or so.

I’ve had a wonderful time travelling. The big challenge I’ve set myself, which I wrote down on the note-taker on my phone is this: “Can I take the enthusiasm and excitement I feel about my life when I travel, and bring it back to the way I live my life when I’m in Sydney?”. Here’s hoping.

5 Replies to “Back in Sydney”

  1. Welcome home! How sensible you are to have left a good number of days to just hang out in Sydney. The thing I hate most about getting back is returning to work when you’re still tired and jet-lagged. It makes the re-entry so much worse.

    1. A little jet-lagged, but not so bad I couldn’t return to work Monday. But from experience, and from observing friends who always feel grumpy going straight back to work, it’s a sensible decision I thought.

  2. Thank you for your detailed reporting whilst you were away. It was very interesting to read and I looked forward to each update.

    1. Thanks Victor. That’s very kind of you to say. I enjoy the creative aspect of it all, being able to make sense of each day, to be able to look back on, and hope it might help others with some travel tips.

  3. Ah James, the feeling is mutual. I loved having you around regularly, just to hang out and spontaneously grab a pint at the pub. You are missed already!

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