It takes about 20 hours to get from Kent to Stockholm, using whatever mix of cars, planes, buses, and trains you might prefer. Usually, I fly out of Cleveland, with connections in Chicago or New York. But for this week’s missions trip with H2O Kent, our small team decided to try a somewhat innovative strategy, starting with a longer drive from Kent to Suffern, New York.
It was a solid seven hours in the car, but we got to stop for lunch and refueling along the way, which was nice. And when we got to Suffern, we got to have a nice home-cooked meal with some of our team members’ extended family (instead of eating in an overpriced airport food court).
After dinner came the most complex part of our travel plan. We took a train from Suffern to Secaucus, another train from Secaucus to Penn Station, and then a third train from Penn Station to Roosevelt Street. We were going to take this third train all the way to John F. Kennedy Airport, but our connections didn’t end up quite as tight as we had initially hoped — so at Roosevelt, we arranged for a Lyft driver to pick us up and cut the remainder of our travel time in half.
Our Lyft driver seemed a bit inexperienced (strangely tentative in choosing his route and merging to the appropriate exits) — but we made it to the airport in one piece. From there, we checked in, cleared security, and boarded our single, direct flight from New York to Stockholm.
Norwegian Airlines provided competent service that got us to Stockholm on schedule, and at a great price. But it was a “no frills” approach to trans-Atlantic travel. No snacks, meal service, blankets, or other amenities were included in the price of the ticket, and the entertainment options were limited. But I’d fly Norwegian again, at the prices we got (I’d just pack more snacks and water next time).
When we landed in Stockholm, we took a taxi directly to the Tensta neighborhood of the city — where we’re going to be working with friends from Great Commission Europe to reach out among the refugee community in that area. We did a little bit of prayer-walking, which was helpful to get a “lay of the land” and to keep us from falling asleep. We had a dinner with our host and the team. And then we got to bed early to sleep off some of our jet lag.
All in all, things have gone pretty smoothly to start off our week in Stockholm. We’re looking forward to seeing what God will do with the rest of this week!