• Nicole Udd

INTERVIEW: Moa Sundström, Finding yourself while traveling

Name: Moa Sundström Age: 26

Profession: Studying and working within an interior design school

Location: Alicante, Spain

Moa, for those who don’t know you, can you please describe yourself with 3 words.

Curious, brave, caring

Tell me about your perfect morning!

Wake up without an alarm, prepare a big and cozy breakfast without stress. Go on my morning walk that takes an hour. I usually go around the castle here in Alicante and after that, I can start my day.

Who’s your role model?

I have created my own role model - myself. I have done things that I never thought I would have done, and I want to keep living that way, to strive to do new things and evolve. I want to live to be my own role model.

When you have an hour for yourself, what do you prioritize to do?

Call and talk to a friend.

What is your all-time favorite song?

Lionel Richie - Stuck on you

What would you say to your 18-year-old self?’

Everything will be alright, and you will find your way in your life where you want to be.

Let’s dive in! We have known each other for almost a year, since you moved to Alicante, Spain, but you lived in a lot more tropical location before. Please tell me more about Thailand. You did not the ordinary backpacking journey that a lot of people do, you actually moved there. Tell me about Thailand and your experience.

I was tired of my life in Sweden, I wanted to do something more than I did. I lived a 9-5 job and life every day and I wanted a change. I searched and looked at all opportunities. I ended up finding a nanny job for 8 months. I jumped at the opportunity and everything went very fast and it was quite spontaneous - I moved after 4 months. Life does not always go as planned, so I actually only lived with the family for 2 months before I started an adventure on my own. I moved in with friends and worked as a “freelance babysitter”. Thailand feels like a completely different world, and I absolutely loved it!

What did you learn about yourself during your time in Thailand?

I learned to take no shit, (pardon my french), but honestly, I learned for the first time to say no to things and stand up for myself. I learned that no one can walk over me. I found myself in a situation without money but I knew that I wanted to stay in Thailand and I did not want the money to control me. I learned to live with what I have and just believe that I will find my way. I started believing in myself.

How did you find the courage to more first to Thailand - and then to Spain? How did you feel what was right for you?

I realized that the world was so much bigger than the town I grew up in, I wanted to explore the opportunities I knew was out there. I have always wanted to keep growing and get stronger within myself. I found what I was looking for during my year in Thailand. I wanted to find my purpose and to forgive things in my past - I found the strength I needed during my time in Thailand.

I find today that a lot more people are finding themself that they want to move from their home country and live somewhere else. What was your reason? Have you always wanted to live abroad, and what is your reason?

When I lived in Thailand I discovered that I wanted to live abroad. I don’t like everyday life in Sweden. I feel that I grow a lot more when I am abroad and I feel somehow smaller and I feel like a smaller version of myself when I am in Sweden. Also, I want to escape the winter season - which makes Alicante perfect for me. While living abroad I found a new version of myself, and I want more of that! I see that there are more opportunities abroad than at home in Sweden.

During COVID19 - how it is to live abroad? Especially in Spain, have you been thinking about going back home until it calms down, or do you feel safe in Spain? What do friends and family say about it?

I feel safe here - safer than Sweden to be honest. I think Spain is taking it seriously and people are taking their responsibility and somehow life is still normal - with restrictions. A new normal.

Are you picturing yourself living abroad forever or do you think you will move back to Scandinavia eventually?

It is a good question. It is something I think about a lot. Right now I want to live and be here, but I am not sure if it will be Alicante or Spain forever. When the time comes that I want to start a family, my dream scenario is to work as I work today - so I can be home with the kids a lot. Although when the kids start school I have been thinking about Sweden… but you never know - I guess time will tell!

If there is someone reading this that wants to do a similar journey as you have - what are your best tips for them?

Just do it! Follow your dream. Everything will be alright. Ask yourself the question - What is the worst that could happen? That you will not enjoy it? If so, move back home. At least you earned an experience and you tried.

Something that a lot of people might be scared of before traveling for a long time or moving abroad - is how do you meet people, find friends? What is your best tip to meet new people?

I really think this is the easy part and the smallest problem. People are usually very open and friendly. Facebook is so easy nowadays - there are billions of groups. The first two weeks I lived in Alicante I think I had a new friend “date” every day.

It is currently hard to travel due to the pandemic. Where do you want to travel when it is possible again? Where is your favorite travel location so far the ones you have been to?

Everywhere!! A dream of mine has always been to road trip through Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain. My favorite location so far is Thailand. It is absolutely paradise.

I feel that you are very independent, down to earth and I feel that you don’t worry too much, you allow things to go as they do and you adapt yourself to reality instead. Do you have any tips for that, how do you follow your heart?

I have a very strong gut. I always follow it. If I dream of something - I just it. If something would go wrong - I don't see it as the end of the world - I just learned something from it instead. I also think, when you know something is right - you just know, you feel it in your gut.

What does the future hold for you? Any wishes and dreams?

I want it so much! I want to keep continue developing myself and become stronger. I want to learn even more about myself. I want a stable ground to start a family of my own, which is the biggest dream of mine. And of course, I want to learn to speak Spanish fluently while I live in Spain, hehe!

Ending with 10 fast questions:

A phone call or text

Music or podcast

Bath or shower

Sneakers or sandals

Swedish meatballs or paella

Iced coffee or hot coffee

Ocean or mountains

City or countryside

Friday night out, or Friday night in

Series or YouTube

Get in touch with Moa - Instagram:@moasundstrrom