That Time I Got Stranded In Sweden. Not On Purpose. With Gifs.

The year was 2009.  I was a derpy little American who had big huge dreams of seeing the land of Sweden and having the best time of my life.  I already loved Sweden, and a vacation there would be paradise.  It would be perfect and nothing could go wrong.  COULD IT?  COULD ITTTTTTTTTT?

Of course it could.

At the tender age of 21 I crossed the Atlantic--TERRIFYING--and came to sunny Scandinavia in July to test the Swedish waters.  I was hesitant.  Things went beautifully.  I met great people and had so many fantastic memories.  I even thought, hey, I might go back there someday! (Irony)

One note before I start this story: I was a small-town girl who was mortified at the idea of doing anything alone.  Airports scared me so much.  I learned during my move to Salt Lake (which involved four airports) to just breathe, take things easy, ask for help if you need it, and not panic.  I used this reasoning all through my Europe plane trips.  

I was no stranger to airports by this time and had even navigated my way through the nightmare that is Charles De-Guille in Paris, but the problem at Arlanda wasn't my navigation.  It was the ticket dispensing machines.  To this day I have noooooooo idea what Delta thought it was doing.  The lines for picking up itineraries were super long.  I wasted too much time trying to get three different kiosks to work.  Nothing. I pushed in my passport and bank code, and it printed out nothing, and then a smeared half-eaten-by-the-printer-once-itinerary.  I didn't know if this would cut it so I went to the Delta desk.

Not good.  The woman looked at my weird paper and then at me and said, "That plane is boarding right now.  They've done last call."

Boy, that rocked my world.  My flight was leaving.  I may have swayed a little.

"Okay so....um...what...do I do?"

"You can book another flight."

".......How much?"

Last minute flight leaving the next day.  2,200.

Okay.  It's okay.  No panic.  Call your bank.  Never mind the fact that you'll be on hold for seven hundred years and your phone bill will skyrocket to about a thousand dollars....just call your bank and explain it to the nice bank people.   So I made my way to the airport computers, pulled up a ticket webpage, and waited for an agent to answer.

"Hello, I'm stranded in Sweden and need to make a large purchase for a ticket home.  I will be overdrafting my account.  Can you please allow this purchase to be made?  I have no other way home."

"Yeah sure b we gahtz u"

So I make the purchase.  Card declined.  Wat.  So I go to my bank webpage, log in.


"Hi this is me, you know, the stranded in Sweden person.  Yeah my card's on lockdown...."

"Sorry but we are unable to move any funds or take your account off hold until you come into a LOCAL BRANCH. LOCALLLLLLLL BRANNNNNNNCH."


I was unable to use my card AT ALL.  I couldn't even use the card to buy food or get a train ticket home.  I was walking calmly and rationally toward a customer service desk when I made a sharp turn into a public restroom, went into the private stall and shut the door and collapsed onto the ground and looked one hundred percent like this:


A nice panicked cry made all the difference.  I ended up going to a wonderful, wonderful Swede who worked in customer service and making a call to my Swedish friend, and this gentleman gave me food vouchers and helped me with a train ticket and everything.  He was truly a saint and a shining example of how beautiful people can be.  My work at the time helped me get the ticket home, but that's a whole different story.  

But for a minute there, I was totally lost and confused and felt like I would have to live in a Swedish airport begging for money until I hit enough to buy a ticket home.  It was pretty awful and terrifying. 


  1. THAT'S ONLY HALF THE STORY! What about how everyone got mad at me cuz you did it on purpose? or Christine? or Annie? or the night you went out after you were stranded? Those are all good and important parts of the story too. :D

  2. Yes but the prompt was "a time you were very afraid." This was the "afraid" part of the story :P

  3. I'm pretty sure I would have cried from the start! hahaha