Sweden has a phone number that you can call and get in touch with a random swede who can tell you about Sweden. I just called the number and it just made my day.
How would you like to beat the media in telling you what is actually happening in a country? The swedish tourism board just came up with an idea, whereby you can call a phone number in Sweden that transfers you to a random swedish person, who has signed up as a volunteer, to tell random strangers what his/her country is like. Several thousand swedish people have signed up to answer phone calls and as I am writing this, they have so far received 39 759 phone calls from around the world.
The idea intrigued me, because I like to talk to random strangers and because I thought that this really gives the chance for an ordinary citizen to act as an ambassador for their country, so I simply had to call, to see what swede would answer my call.
So who picked up the swedish phone when I called?
First of all, I would like to say that I will not write the name of the person who answered the call and the exact town she came from, as it was a rather small town. I think this belongs to her privacy. I hope you guys have full understanding for this.
I was standing on my balcony at a hotel on Madeira Island/Portugal when I called the swedish number and my call was answered by a swedish woman who lived in a small town in northern Sweden, just south of the arctic circle. At first she seemed a little apprehensive and careful when we talked, but she soon realized that I was not some abusive idiot calling her, and then we slowly started talking. She showed out to be a really interesting and intelligent person, who was a result of a love story between a caribbean air hostess and a swedish man and being of mixed background, she wa s avery international person just like me, so we clicked really well. We actually talked for so long that I had to hang up, cause my phone was running out of battery. We really had an interesting conversation where we talked not just about Sweden, but about many of the other countries we had both been to, because of our common interest in travel. Such a great thing to speak to a random stranger several thousand kilometers away and realizing that we have so many things in common.
I asked her what made her sign up and she told me that the fact that she did not live in Stockholm and had a mixed background, meant that she could probably give foreigners a different perspective of Sweden, was some of the reason why she signed up and that was pretty much the reason why I liked the idea in the first place, so we were really two common minds who met.
I’m ready to sign up for the danish number if we get one.
I really like this idea of being able to call a random volunteer in a country that you would know of and I would happily sign up for this if Visit Denmark decided to do the same thing. Sure enough, you will probably get a jerk every now and then, but then you can just hang up and since the person does not know who you are and what your number is, then you are safe, as the person is calling an international number that transfers you.
It certainly gave me a nicer impression of Sweden when I called the swedish number.
Why don’t you call it too? 🙂
And remember to be nice and respectful to the person who answer. They are here to be nice to you, so remember to also be nice to them 🙂