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As usual when my family is going away, some of the packing is left for the last minute (I'm guilty) so we had some stuff to do Saturday night and Sunday morning, but we managed to be ready and leave at 10:00 as we had hoped. I started driving the first 300 km or so. We were in no hurry, stopped In Nyköping to buy some snacks and in Ljungby to eat lunch/dinner, then we got stuck in traffic outside of Helsingborg so we didn't go with the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingør until 18:30. We booked the tickets online because that was cheaper (more info about the costs will come in a later post), and the ride over to Denmark took 20 min. We got to Rødby just in time to go with the 20:45 boat over to Germany, this one took 45 minutes so we took a fika in the meantime. We had planned to stay in Lübeck for the night but we hadn't actually booked a hotel before we arrived in Germany. Luckily, mom solved it by finding two rooms that looked okay for a good price, after all we were just gonna sleep there one night, but when we got there at around 23:00 I think we all were a bit surprised of how nice this hotel actually was!

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​If you have been checking this blog in hope of a post during the last week, I'm sorry for your disappointment. My intended daily updates didn't really go as planned....But no reason to grieve, I'm home now with a working wi-fi and hopefully a little more time to set aside for this project. So stay tuned, there's more to come!

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So here is the main thing I've been working on up until now: our planned route!

There has been a number of drafts that has built up to this, but I'm finally happy with the outcome. We have already been forced to make some changes due to Friday's events that caused our delayed departure. This will hopefully not affect the overall trip too much, but I'll write the modified plan here and just mention the changes we've made. As mentioned in my previous post, nothing of this is really set in stone. Since we wanted some freedom to go wherever we felt like we haven't yet booked hotels and such, but are flexible to see what happens along the way.

The countries in order:

SWEDEN - DENMARK - GERMANY - AUSTRIA - LIECHTENSTEIN - SWITZERLAND - GERMANY - DENMARK - SWEDEN


SUNDAY: (this was originally Saturday but we postponed everything one day) STOCKHOLM - LÜBECK

  • Leave Stockholm at 10:00, drive 560 km to Helsingborg (6 h 30 min), take the ferry to Helsingør (20 min), drive 200 km to Rødby (2 h), take the ferry to Puttgarden (45 min), drive 90 km to Lübeck (1 h)
  • Total Distance: 850 km
  • Total Driving Time: 10 h 30 min (excl. stops)


MONDAY: LÜBECK - SALZBURG

  • Leave Lübeck at 11:00, drive 975 km to Salzburg (9 h 30 min) on A10, passing Berlin, Leipzig, Nürnberg and Munich
  • Total Distance: 975 km
  • Total Driving Time: 9 h 30 min (excl. stops)


TUESDAY: SALZBURG - ST ANTON

  • Leave Salzburg at 10:00, drive 95 km to Bad Gastein (1 h 40 min) on A10, B311, B167, drive 195 km to Innsbruck (3 h 30 min) on B165, A12, drive 100 km to St Anton (1 h 15 min) on A12, S16
  • Total Distance: 390 km
  • Total Driving Time: 6 h 30 min (excl. stops)


WEDNESDAY: ST ANTON

  • Ski

THURSDAY: ST ANTON

  • Ski

FRIDAY: ST ANTON

  • Ski

SATURDAY: ST ANTON - ZÜRICH

  • Leave St Anton at 10:00, drive 77 km to Vaduz, Liechtenstein (1 h 20 min) on B197, S16, A14, drive 108 km to Zürich (1 h 15 min) on A13
  • Total Distance: 185 km
  • Total Driving Time: 2 h 30 min (excl. stops)

(Since the above was originally planned for Friday, the Saturday would be an entire day spent seeing more of Zurich. However, this stop was removed to fit in with the new schedule)


SUNDAY: ZÜRICH - HAMBURG

  • Leave Zürich at 11:00, drive 176 km to Freudenstadt (2 h 30 min) on A1, A81, drive 60 km to Baden-Baden (1 h 10 min) on B500, drive 173 km to Frankfurt (2 h) on A67, A5, drive 490 km to Hamburg (4 h 50 min) on A7
  • Total Distance: 900 km
  • Total Driving Time: 10 h 30 min (excl. stops)


MONDAY: HAMBURG - STOCKHOLM

  • Leave Hamburg at 11:00, drive 150 km to Puttgarden (1 h 50 min) on A24, take the ferry to Rødby (45 min), drive 157 km to Copenhagen (2 h) on E47, E20, drive 40 km to Malmö (1 h) on Öresundsbron, drive 615 km to Stockholm (6 h 40 min) on E4
  • Total Distance: 962 km
  • Total Driving Time: 11 h 30 min (excl. stops)

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Hi again! I had initially prepared another post that was supposed to be published last week but will hopefully come later today instead. But first I think a small update about what I have been doing for the past week is suitable.

Okay so starting on Friday 31/3 (week 13) I sat down for the first time to really start planning the trip but got stuck right away. We had not at that moment discussed together as a family what our goal with the trip would be, so it was impossible for me to come up with anything by aimlessly searching for things to do in maybe 3-5 different countries. The problem was that I didn't know where to start! It's hard to know how many places to plan for when you don't know how much time on each you will have, but you can't plan for that without first deciding where to go. The solution thus became to decide on a few locations and then set up a suitable route. So during that weekend we had like a family conference discussing what we wanted "accomplish" by this trip. My sister wanted to ski, my dad had no preferences as long as we had a plan and there wouldn't be any conflicts, my mom didn't really know but seeing beautiful landscapes and places was very important for her, and I wanted a mixture of everything. I then made the decision that we would go through Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland and that we would skip big cities like Berlin, Vienna and Zürich. Those countries seemed reasonable to visit given our time frame without having to stress too much, and the cities mentioned can be visited some other time when we could stay there longer and see more of what the cities have to offer. Instead we will prioritize places that are easiest visited by car and that we probably wouldn't go to otherwise. Skiing in the Alps can also be done on a separate trip, but we wanted to get at least a few days in the slopes.

On Tuesday 4/4 (week 14) the first real conflict occurred. I had worked through a first draft of the route but I didn't feel like I got the confirmation, especially from my mom, that I wanted. On the one hand, we didn't want to plan too much so we needed stress between different places on a tight schedule, we want to have the freedom to stop wherever we feel like, find the unknown beautiful spots and let the roads take us where they take us. But on the other hand we need to have some kind of plan, it's stupid to think that we can just find our way through Europe and make decisions as we go, that's the kind of thing you can do with your friends when you're 20 but this is a family vacation after all and we need to have some things organized to make the most out of the trip. I will explain the planned route in greater detail in my coming post but this is something we up to this date haven't yet come to an agreement on, how much we should have decided on beforehand and how much we should decide along the way. But either way, this was when I actually realized how much work I had left to do, that I should have started a lot earlier etc. I had allocated week 12, 13, and 14 for planning in my original time frame, but this was the middle of week 14 with just a few days left, and I was still in the early stages of preparing for the trip. The conflict was based on that we had much left to do and my mom questioned my responsibility and priorities. I guess she had her points, and maybe I didn't do everything I could have (like spending time with friends could for example have waited) but I still think she had her parts in this and that I am not the only one to blame. I think this was actually not just a negative experience, it made me more aware of my own capabilities and made me realize that I don't have to do everything alone. Sure, this is my project but it's not a weakness to let others help you, in fact, it's the job of a leader to make others involved, so to portion out some work to my parents may not be such a bad idea.

7/4 - there's so much to say about this day, but since everything is not relevant to this blog I will not go into too much detail. Basically everything that could go wrong, did go wrong yesterday. My sister had been home sick for a couple of days, would she get better before we left? My parents had had a lot of work during the week and there were many things that needed to be fixed before the trip. That was when our washing machine decided to stop working, maybe not a huge problem but not exactly what you want the night before going away. I ended earlier than usual so I went to Ringen to check if I could find a t-shirt my sister had looked for and a pair of sunglasses that I wanted before the trip. I didn't find them there so I thought of going to Drottninggatan to the H&Ms and Åhlens City. I headed to the subway but changed my mind and went home instead, I figured it would be smarter to pack first and then maybe take the car there later. I had just come in through the door when I got the news that there had been a terror attack, a truck crashing into Åhlens and killing/hurting people along Drottninggatan on the way. This totally changed the focus for the evening, our vacation suddenly got so little meaning when something like this happened right before our eyes. Knowing that we were all so close to being right there when it happened, thinking about the people we know who were there, and of course everybody else. So to conclude this, the Friday didn't go as planned which caused us to not be ready to go on the Saturday morning. We hope to hit the road later tonight or tomorrow morning instead!

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Planning

Firstly, hello and welcome to this blog! As you might have seen on the Profile section, this is a part of my project in pedagogical leadership. So for the coming couple of weeks you will get to follow the process of planning a small road trip through Europe. But before I go into too much detail about this trip, I figured I would share a bit about how I came up with this idea, because this was unbelievably not my first option.

So, when we first got the assignment that we were to lead an activity over at least three occasions with a small or larger group of people, with the aim of applying theory into practice through preparing, leading and evaluating a leadership task, I wanted to lead a group of people and do a project that I found meaningful and rewarding both for me personally and for the people participating. Therefore my initial idea was to hold stress management sessions for 9th graders at my old school. I started planning and it felt like I was moving forward, I thought that the project would suit me and force me to go outside of my comfort zone in the exact way I needed and also be fun to do. I had considered some potential barriers that would complicate the project, but I hadn't thought of the risk that it might not be possible to carry out at all....

As seen in these screenshots of the mail conversation between the principal at IES Nacka and I, he took quite a long time to respond and I never got the confirmation he was talking about. Since the deadline for our project was approaching, I decided that I couldn't wait any longer. I had to abandon this idea and come up with a new one, fast! Even though I didn't get far with this first project and it may be seen as a kind of failure, there are plenty of things that I learned and will take with me. For example that it's not always so easy to get through with your idea when approval and collaboration from/with others are needed, you can't just send a request and expect responds straight away sometimes a reminder or two is necessary and lastly that people take sooo long to answer emails haha! But I also got some practice with planning sessions since I was almost ready to go when I cancelled the project.

So now almost two months later it was back to square one, when my classmates were just about to finish off their final evaluations, I had to come up with a brand new idea. I wanted to do something where I didn't have to rely too much on other people, that I would genuinely enjoy doing (especially since I'd lost some motivation during this time) but I still wanted to do something worthwhile. I then recalled that another option for the assignment was to lead a more extensive project like the house supper or a class trip. This got me thinking that I could incorporate this leadership project into a family vacation!

The idea is that my family has been discussing going on a road trip through Europe during Easter break. We want to visit Austria and Switzerland, but other than that we haven't yet made any clear plans. My job would thus be to organize everything, that is: plan and prepare before the trip, take responsibility for the activities/decisions during the trip itself, and then evaluate it afterwards. I was thinking that a blog would be perfect for documenting everything for the project as well as for showing friends and relatives photos of what we are doing, and also at the end as a travel guide with my best tips for a road trip in Europe!


So here is an outline for the project. Some parts will have separate posts going into more detail, but this is in short what I expect from my idea:


  • Three main targets
Make the vacation successful and enjoyable for the entire family.

Prepare myself for my intended gap year after I graduate next year, make decisions, plan, keep a budget etc.

Try to keep the budget by carefully plan and choose cost efficient alternatives.

  • Leadership styles to be used
Democratic - collaborate with family members since it's our trip together, we want the same thing
Participative - everyone's opinions are valuable, but I'm responsible for the final decisions
Transformational - we are doing the trip together, everybody should be satisfied
Commanding - if a decision needs to be made quickly, or if we can't agree on something

  • Evidence for showing leadership
Photos
Blog posts

  • Time frame
Week 12 - Plan
Week 13 - Plan
Week 14 - Plan
Week 15 - The Trip!
Week 16 - Evaluate
Week 17 - Evaluate

  • General ideas
Decide on destinations
Plan a suitable route
What laws/regulations to be aware of when entering new countries
What activities to do/tourist attractions to visit
Book hotels
Estimate a total cost for the trip

  • Evaluation of project
Short oral reflections with family every evening
- thoughts about the day
- changes for tomorrow/rest of the week
Blog post every day
- document the day
- reflect on my own effort
Longer evaluation after the trip
- the best/worst parts
- what would be changed for future trips

  • Potential barriers and how to overcome them
Conflicts with family members - good communication, talk through any disagreements and compromise
Change in schedule due to external factors like traffic or weather - be flexible and prepared for last minute changes
Change in schedule due to personal preferences - leave room for spontaneity when planning

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