A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a brand about a possible collaboration. They would allow us to test their products – which seemed to align very well with our values – and we’d share our experiences with you. In order to put their products to the test, they’d obviously have to be delivered to us! But how do you receive parcels when you’re abroad and living in a camper van? In Sweden, this turned out to be quite difficult!
To try and find a solution, we drove up to the nearest city, Umeå at the time, to see whether the employees at a PostNord post office could help us out. We parked our van at the edge of the city center and checked our phone for the nearest office. After a short walk to the center with our dogs, Marijke inquired about our possibilities. It turned out that receiving post in Sweden is not possible unless you have an address within the country (or plan to stay within one city for months on end and pay for a referral service from your home address).
Though a postal office is indeed a pickup location, you’re not allowed to send parcels directly to their address. You’re supposed to have packages sent to your home address and the post office receives them in case you’re not home at the time of delivery. You can then pick up the parcel whenever it suits you.
Though we weren’t hopeful, we stumbled upon another post office adjacent to a supermarket at which we planned to buy some groceries. We thought we could give it another shot. Who knows, right?
A good Samaritan
Well, as was to be expected, they responded similarly. We thanked the employee and turned around to buy some fruit and veg. The next customer in line had overheard our conversation and suggested to hire a mailbox in the city center. Assuming (just like us) that these were widely available, he did a quick Google search. A few minutes later though, he concluded that he couldn’t find a solution after all. We thanked him for his effort and parted ways, talking about his kind gesture whilst we strolled through the supermarket.
Just as we stepped onto the parking lot and walked back to our camper van, we heard someone calling out behind us. The guy who tried to help us out felt sorry that he couldn’t fix our issues. He offered to let us use his address whilst we were in town. How amazing is that?! We wrote down his name and said we’d contact him through Facebook to sort out the specifics later on.
After chatting online for a bit, it turned out that he is vegan too, cares for our planet greatly, and was looking at the concept of vanlife not too long ago wit his fiancé! The following day, after dinner, we went for a short swim in a lake just east of Umeå. Coincidentally, he was spending his evening there too, slack-lining with some friends. We had a chat and invited him to check out our camper van later that evening. He dropped by, we talked some more, drank some tea, and showed him our little home on wheels. He even introduced us to the first ever zero waste store we visited, located in Umeå!
In the end, we sadly didn’t need his kind offer to send a parcel to his home. Our search however, did not leave us empty-handed. It gave us something much more valuable. We built a friendship with a like-minded person. It’s incredible how things can turn out so differently than you expect them to.