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Tag: Herräng

Summer’s gonna rock, you guys

This beauty is on its way to me.

Right as I got home from the US and declared it’s now The Six Months Of Saving A Lot For The Trip, I just spent a whole load of money this weekend. And NOT on travel.

I bought a bike (and related accoutrements) and I registered for a few swing dance events.

I feel this is all justified.

A lot of what I thought about on my lazy train rides to and from North Carolina was what I wanted the summer (and all the time preceding my whole rip-it-up-and-start-again thing) to look like. My priorities surfaced pretty quickly: friends, dancing, Scotland. All of these overlap quite nicely.

I tend to say yes to way too much extra work and crap I really don’t need to. Between that and seemingly endless life admin bullshit, I’ve been feeling really overloaded when all I really want to do is make time for the stuff that makes me feel like life is awesome. So really I just want to say yes to doing more with my friends around Edinburgh and the rest of the country. And I want to do as much dancing as possible. And hopefully feel like I’m getting better at it.

You may remember that I was thinking of going to Sweden for a week of Herräng dance camp this summer. I decided in the end that I’d have to push that plan to another year in order to save more for the Trans-Siberian. As luck would have it though, Rob and Diane Van Haaren, who have taught at Herräng for most of the last 20 or so years, are doing a workshop in Edinburgh in July, so I can get a taste of swing dance summer camp without leaving home (and for an incredible price). Then just before I run away in November, Edinburgh Winter Swing Weekend happens, which also includes super amazing teachers (Jo Hoffberg, Kevin St. Laurent, Jenny Thomas and Scott Cupit) and a whoooole lotta dancing. It’ll make for an excellent leaving party.

I’m incredibly excited about all of that. And I’ll also be doing Edinburgh Lindy Exchange in September as well as all my usual weekly stuff and various social dances here and there. All of this covers every single one of those priorities – in addition to helping keep me relatively sane. It’s good money to spend, and it’s not actually all that much in the end.

As for the bike, I had already decided to buy it before I went away, because I thought if I didn’t budget for it before the trip, I’d never afford it right away when I got back. I am not exaggerating when I say just about everyone I know has a bike, and I’ve been considering it for a pretty long time. I got a pretty entry-level one in terms of price and fanciness, but good enough that it should last a fairly long time. (And I can’t waaaaait for it to arrive. 7-10 days, gah!)

So now I can zip back and forth between home and dance stuff and friends’ places and the beach and anywhere else I feel like going. And I can go for longer rides on the weekends or take it on the train and explore other places relatively cheaply. I walk everywhere in this city, which I love to do, but it does take up a lot of time, so this will allow me to claim some of that time back without losing the exercise. Then I can spend more time with people or reading books or sleeping, which I need to do a bit more of as well.

These things are all making the summer look pretty awesome. Plus there are hiking trips to the highlands, Balkan music club nights, Foo Fighters at Murrayfield (finally!), lazy Sunday morning breakfasts in cafes, local beer festivals, and all manner of other things planned. And my parents will be visiting in September, when we’ll probably go to Arran or somewhere equally cool.

And I think I’ve managed to fit it all in the budget while still saving enough for 3 months away. Seriously. HOORAY!

Swing dance summer camp is a thing

And I am trying to decide if I should go.

Seriously. DON’T YOU WANT TO, TOO?

So, I’ve mentioned it in passing here before, but I’ve been learning Lindy Hop for the past year and I really, really love it. And in the past few months, lessons and social dancing have become easily my favourite part of the week. It’s an awesome group of people, a super fun time, and a pretty hardcore workout to boot. I’ve had to miss the past two weeks, which I was kind of bummed out about, but this weekend I’ve got a workshop on addition to the usual Thursday night business, so I’m psyched for the weekend.

Anyway, when I was sitting in bed wiling away my sick days a few weeks ago, I fell down an interweb swing dance wormhole. One side effect of which was I learned all about Herräng. 5 weeks of summer camp. For adults. In Sweden. All for dancin’.

It looks and sounds amazing. Yes?

I mean, in addition to the idea of doing one solid week of lessons and social dancing and practice being really appealing, getting to be at summer camp as a grown-up is basically the coolest thing ever. It looks bonkers and creative and full-on and exhausting. And like the perfect summer holiday. Plus it’s in Sweden in the summer so the sun pretty much never goes down. And I love Sweden.

I’ve priced it out, and to do a week all in, including a day or two in Stockholm beforehand, would be about £800. That’s it!

The only reason I’m struggling with it is, that’s £800 less for the Trans-Siberian. I have to wait to find out about the money situation at work before I know if that £800 would be a deal-breaker. This is also one of the things that has been making me re-think my long-term travel plans as a whole. It would definitely mean I’d probably only be able to do one month at the end of this year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the other great points about this whole summer camp thing is that it’s a really good excuse to get away from technology COMPLETELY for a week. There’s a place to get wifi in the camp, and I’d have my phone with me, but honestly, I’d be quite happy to not use it at all. I’d be too busy learning new stuff, running around, hanging out at the beach, eating ice cream, meeting people from all over the world, and staying up all night dancing. Who needs the flippin’ internet when you’ve got all THAT?

I mean, this is the stuff that summer camp dreams are made of:

So, I’ll let you all know in a few weeks what the verdict is. But I’m really hoping I can work it out.