Okay – I’ll admit it.  I’m stuck in a rut. 

It happens to everyone, right?  You know what I’m talking about – the typical “post-holidays, stuck in the middle of winter, there’s nothing on TV but re-runs” rut.  But, I think my rut is ruttier (?) than that.  When I ask myself why, I come up with the following hypothesis:

I’ve been going at lighting speed since mid-October and work has been crazy busy.  Lately, my weekdays  have consisted of logging long hours on my cases and then coming home and working on various aspects of this blog, before downing a glass of merlot and dozing off to an episode of The Real Housewives.  (Don’t judge).  This routine has more or less repeated itself day after day for the past four months with no end in sight. I haven’t been to the gym (why am I paying for that membership again?) and have taken exactly one lunch break since mid-October, which was only because one of my friends had a baby FIVE months ago and I hadn’t seen her yet.  (Now you can judge – it’s terrible I know.  Sorry, Amy).  As you can imagine, this schedule has left little quality time for me to spend with my husband, and even less time for friends.

I know exactly what you’re thinking, “Wah, wah, wah – You just got back from an amazing trip to Turkey, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Malta with your girlfriends, what are you complaining about!?”

Okay, I’m NOT complaining, trust me.  I feel VERY thankful for all the aforementioned aspects of my life.  I’m VERY fortunate to have the opportunity to travel (at all, let alone as much as I do), a loving supportive husband (who allows me to manage my social media accounts even during date night), friends that are there to offer a shoulder to cry on (or more often complain on), parents that make me smile after every telephone conversation (they run a non-profit pug rescue and you will never believe some of the antics their smushy-faced foster pugs get into) and a ridiculously awesome boss (and, no, I’m not just saying that because I’m fairly certain she reads this blog… I have the best boss).

I’m also VERY lucky that all these amazing people in my life give me such leeway and support – whether it’s my parents forgiving me for missing yet another Christmas back home, my husband cooking dinner because I’m still pounding away on my laptop drafting a pleading or a post (trust me, he makes delicious ramen noodles) or my friends excusing the fact that I’ve been a bit MIA.

I KNOW I’m a lucky girl. But, I’m a lucky girl who needs to remind herself to foster a bit more balance in her personal life, something I’ve never been particularly good at.

So what do most sane people do when they need to recharge and restart?  Go to the spa?  (Not my thing – I’d rather save my pennies for travel… and wine).  Unplug and spend the weekend in catching up on sleep?  (Nope – I would go stir crazy and wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to “try to be productive”).  Jet off to the beach for the weekend to soak up the sun and sip fruity cocktails with umbrellas in them?  Now we’re getting warmer…

So, did I book this beach trip to help me refocus on 2015 and relieve some stress (after all, if I’m just laying around the pool, I can still answer work emails from my cell, can’t I)?

Nope.  I sure didn’t.  Not even close.

Instead, I booked a trip to snowy Scandinavia.  How on earth could a long (cold) weekend in Norway and Sweden shock me out of my winter blues?  Well, let me explain.

First, I paid $350.00 roundtrip for my plane ticket.  How could I pass up such an absurd deal?  I just couldn’t.  $350.00 to Europe is insane – I couldn’t fly the short flight from Atlanta to Cancun for that price in January.

Second, although I’ve traveled somewhat extensively throughout Europe, I haven’t been to any Scandinavian countries.  Scandinavian culture differs greatly from it’s other European neighbors, so I can’t wait to soak it all in! (Bring on the grilled reindeer and lingonberries)!

Also, it’s a VERY quick long weekend trip.  Because of the great deal I got on airfare, I could rationalize just a quick trip (even if I know I’ll regret that decision once I arrive and wish I had more time).  I figure that with just a couple days away from home and the office, I should be able to keep my stress levels reasonably low.

Lastly, I’m letting go a bit.  Typically, my travel is somewhat structured.  No, I’m not a schedule-Nazi, and my itineraries are not structured into six minute time increments like my professional life is, but for most trips, I usually know what I am doing where, and on what day.  Not this time!  Nope.  I have my trains and planes booked, but that’s it.  Not much else is planned – which is crazy for me.  (Admittedly, this was a little bit of an accident and has occurred primarily because I haven’t had the time to plan, but I’m just going to go with it).  I figure I will have lots of time to study up and plan on the flight, right?

The excitement of the unknown and the opportunity to explore somewhere foreign recharges me.  This trip IS my beach vacation! 

Here’s a little more information about my winter getaway:

I’ll be flying into Oslo, Norway to explore the Norwegian capital.  While in Oslo, I’ll be meeting up with a friend from college who is a native, so I can’t wait to see the city from a local’s perspective!  Plus, I’ll be staying at the fabulously, centrally located Comfort Hotel Grand Central.

Related Posts: Hitting the Highlights: The Perfect 3 Day Norway Itinerary.  

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After Oslo, I’ll begin what is perhaps my most anticipated leg of the trip – the Norway in a Nutshell Fjord Tour with ScanAm World Tours.  From Oslo, I’ll continue to the scenic Flam Railroad (often dubbed one of the most scenic train rides in the world), followed by a Fjord cruise, then a bus ride through the mountains before arriving to Bergen by train.

Related Post: Why You Should Do The Norway in a Nutshell Tour in Winter.

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I simply adore smaller, charming cities, and clearly, Bergen fits that bill.  The city’s Hanseatic Wharf (Bryggen) has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the colorful wooden buildings have bordered the harbor for hundreds of years.  While in Bergen, I’ll be staying at the Augustin Hotel, home to the 400 year old Altona Wine Bar.  (They had me at “wine bar.”)

Related Posts: Hitting the Highlights: The Perfect 3 Day Norway Itinerary.  

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After Bergen, I’ll be leaving Norway and flying to Stockholm, Sweden.  I’ve heard fantastic things about Stockholm and can’t wait to explore the Swedish capital that spans across 14 islands.  While in Stockholm, I’m excited to be staying at the luxurious Victory Hotel.  Beyond that, one of my good friends from London will be flying to Stockholm to meet me… for something like 6 hours… but, I’ll take whatever time with him I can get!

Related Post: 5 Things To Do in Stockholm (Which Shouldn’t Be Missed)! 

From Stockholm it’s back to the States and straight on back to the office.  Now, doesn’t this sound better than a weekend at the beach?   I won’t come home with a tan, but I hope to arrive home de-funked, refocused and with a sunnier disposition!

Have you been to Scandinavia?  What did you think? 

If you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments section or by sharing it with the social media with the social media links.  You can also follow Flirting with the Globe on Facebook,  Twitter,  Pinterest and Instagram.

Although I’ll be a guest of the above hotels and tour operator, as always, all opinions will be my own. 

CC image credits from Flickr. (1) Oslo City by Mario Mantel. (2) Fjords of Norway by Howard Ignatius. (3) Bergen-Noruega by Francisco Jose Moreno Caballero.  (4) Estocolmo de Noche by Hector Melo A.