I met Rebecca at Joy Hostel in El Bolsón, while we drank mate and were gently but forcefully guided toward the light by our fundamentalist Christian host, Carlos. Rebecca is a lover of ceviche and fast cars, a champion hiker, and student of mechanical engineering. She was travelling around South America both with her father (a sports journalist) and alone (where I met her).
How has being Swedish left its mark on you?
We’re very careful. I think that’s the most notable thing. Like, when we met and I heard that you were going the same way as me, I could have asked you immediately if you wanted to travel with me, but I waited and asked you later. I think that’s very typical.
What would your 13-year-old self think about you if they met you?
I think she’d think I was pretty cool as I’m actually doing what I said I would. I’ve always been independent, I moved out at 16 to go to highschool up north and I went because I wanted to. I think she’d be happy that I’m still traveling.
If you could meet your 13-year-old self, what would you say to her?
I’d tell her not to bother about what other people think, and just to do what she wanted to do.
How do you make decisions?
It really depends on what decision it is. If I don’t have anything to lose, I do what I feel in the moment. If there are big consequences and definite risks, I’m more careful. Sometimes I try to follow my heart and it’s worked out well so far. Sometimes, I listen to my brain but mostly I follow my heart!
Do you think you’re on the right path?
How do you know? (nods) Uh-huh! Not only in life, but especially in this trip. I’ve experienced coincidences that I take as signs that I’m going the right way. Sometimes I feel lost, but then I see something or meet someone and think “Oh yeah! I’m on the right path.” I especially feel like this when I get away from my regular daily routine.
How do you feel when you think about your future?
Excited and curious, and like I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Sometimes I worry or think about how to handle a job. I’ve worked as a waitress, a truck driver…easy jobs in which it was obvious what I had to do. I’m not sure how I’ll react when I have to do “harder” work, as I’ve always had the pressure to do well.
What fascinates you about Sweden?
The Northern Lights, the lakes and beautiful woods up north. The best thing about Sweden are the seasons; we have a really amazing winter and summer too.
What doesn’t?? (laughs). How people can be so smart and so stupid too. Yeah, everything! How they’re brave, or a beautiful hair or face shape. A baby’s soft skin or kids laughing.
Oh, God! There are sides I like…but what fascinates??? I really don’t know. I think I’m so used to myself, I don’t know what could fascinate me.
What scares you about Sweden?
Nothing really scares me, but I do feel that politicians are not doing the best they can and are greedy and just want more power and money. Instead of saying what’s good, they say what’s wrong with the others and the country. It’s so cowardly, I think.
That there are crazy people who can kill others. They’re obviously not well but it freaks me out that people can be capable of that. I heard a story recently of a man who killed his wife and chopped her into little bits…they had five children together…I don’t know, it’s just horrifying.