40 000 feet from Kabul

If there is a magical time for kids it’s got to be summer in Sweden. Fishing, swimming, saunaing in the middle of the night, and cannon-balling into the freezing water while the moonlight shatters around you... Zipping around in the rowboat with a little engine on it, not going to bed before midnight and sitting on the warm rocks eating ice-cream with your friends. It is a little slice of heaven. Leaving the idyllic island life at Edlunda, I was struck with how quickly you can change geographic locations and go from paradise to hell in only a few hours…


The flight with Norwegian from Stockholm to Bangkok ended up just as uneventful as we all wish for a flight to be. However, there were a few hours in the middle where I found myself questioning what in the heck I was thinking when I booked the flight. It turns out that since Norway is part of NATO, Russia will not allow them to fly over their airspace. The only option left is to fly over Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I woke up just as we headed in over Afghanistan. Never did I think I would be only 40,000 feet from Kabul with my two children in tow.


They kindly showed our progress as we - in what seemed to be a snails’ pace - crept across the screens at the front of the plane. In my mind I saw all kinds of terrible scenarios - an emergency landing right in the middle of Al Quaida territory - a rocket aimed at getting the attention of the world… The seconds felt like hours. All these names I have heard so many times - Kabul, Herat, Kandahar - always in connection to horror, sadness and death, slowly made their way from the right to the left disappearing off the screen to my immense relief. When we crossed the border to India I felt like we got a new lease on life - I am not sure why I get to leave and so many others don’t. Why do I get to look for happiness and adventure while so many others can’t feed their children or keep them safe from violence? I don’t know - and it makes me feel both guilty and thankful.