2007-12-03

Swedish wilderness, here I come!


_MAL0006.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

I've lived in Sweden for more than seven years but still haven't gone backpacking in the country’s expansive wilderness. That will change soon. On Saturday I got a new tent at REI — a “Mountain 25” tent from The North Face. My mom and dad offered to get the tent for me as an early Christmas present given that I won’t be in the U.S. for the holidays. I set up the tent in the meadow this morning. I think it’ll do just fine. With the rainfly, it’s a 4-season tent. That means I could even go camping in the snow if I were so inclined.

I’m going through all the old camping gear in the garage and trying to scavenge the usable equipment that's reasonably lightweight. Much of the stuff is too heavy for backpacking. When I went camping with the Boy Scouts as a youth, we went to most of our campsites by car, so weight wasn’t a big concern. I thought we had a couple of MSR stoves, but so far I haven’t had any luck in finding them. I also know I’ve got a 4-season sleeping bag hidden somewhere in storage. I’ll hunt for these items more later on in the week.

My plans to buy a car here have been put on hold for two reasons:
1. I don’t have a whole lot of cash at the moment; and
2. I don’t know how best to import a car from the U.S. to Sweden.

Solving problem 1 will just take time. I’m saving my money and trying not to buy things I don’t really need. Regarding the car, I probably should have used the loophole in the law that allows for the tax-free import of a car as an item of one’s personal belongings when one moves to Sweden. Unfortunately, I think it's probably too late for me to take advantage of this. I moved to Sweden in August of 2000.

It seems to be very expensive to import a car directly to Sweden from outside the E.U. The Swedish Custom Service has a web page indicating that one must pay 10% in customs fees on top of 25% in sales tax when importing a car to Sweden from any country outside the E.U. Importing a car from another E.U. country though is tax-free. So I'm thinking I could avoid Sweden’s high import duties and taxes by importing via a third E.U. member state. If anyone has ideas on this, please get in touch.

Saturday morning I’ll catch my flight to Newark and then continue on to Stockholm. I’m excited about returning home, but I’m also sad to leave my family. It has been a real treat to get to know my niece Evelyn a bit, and I regret that I won’t be here to see more of her first year of life.

Right now I’m taking a little lunch break from writing the redbook. I’m a bit behind on the writing, and will probably have to do at least some of the writing after I have returned to Sweden. The book is exciting to write though, an I’m learning a lot about the new version of TWS.

OK, time to grab a quick bite to eat and then get back to work!

4 comments:

Roberto said...

Buying a car in the States and then importing it to Sweden? Isn't it a bit complicated? Won't that be more expensive that buying a car directly in Sweden? If cars are very expensive in Sweden you can try to buy it in Germany, where there is a big market for second hand cars. Then you can drive to Sweden through Germany.

Well, maybe you want a car that is not sold here....

By the way, when you go to the States you always come back to Sweden with a lot of things extra...how much are you paying for extra weight? I hope not so much..

Roberto said...

Sorry, I wanted to say that you can drive through Denmark. You can get the car in Hamburg for example, there are cheap flights Stcokholm-Hamburg.

Paul said...

The tent looks absolutely like a good investment Michael... although mine gets much less use than it should. The fjälls are wonderful..

..just make sure you get good boots to go with it!
//Paul

Michael said...

Haha! I actually picked up a new pair of Asolo hiking boots just last night!

I had an old pair of Merrell boots that had been in for repair twice. The soles just kept coming off. So finally I decided to take them back and take advantage of REI’s lifetime guarantee. They didn't give me the new boots for free of course, but they did knock a big chunk off the price. I’ll post a photo of the boots tomorrow morning.