I just have to tell you about Thomas Bodström. I presume most of you have never heard about him and I don’t blame you. In Sweden though, most people know who he is, at least if you regularly watch the TV news and stay tuned in to what is happening here. He used to be the Minister of Justice until the Social Democratic party lost the power about 3 years ago. He is one of the front figures in his party and he is now busy, together with his friends, planning a comeback in September next year when all the Swedes get ready to cast their votes. He is also active as a lawyer and in his spare time he writes crime novels that have been quite successful.
So Thomas has just announced that, after the election next year, he will be taking 6 month off to do some extended traveling with his family. Or rather, move to somewhere in the USA where the kids can attend school and explore the country. This will give him lots of time with his family and also the opportunity to finish another of his novels. It turns out that this is a 10 year old dream that he is now going to make a reality of. He and his wife were planning already back in 1999 to travel the world with their children for 6 month, when the Prime Ministerof Sweden, at the time, called and asked him to take the job as Minister of Justice, since the previous one had to resign because of some scandal…
The Bodström Family did put their dream on hold back then, but are not willing to do it again. Even though he would be the obvious choice as the next Minister of Justice if the left wing wins the next election, he intends to start his new assignment by taking several months off. This is of course unheard off and it has created big attention in the Swedish press. Quite frankly I am not too interested in the discussion whether or not he is allowed to do this, if it is good or harmful for his party and if he is un-loyal towards the people of Sweden.
To me it is just fun that a successful man like that also feels the need to do some extended traveling with his family. As you all know I believe it is good for everyone to do it sometime and to get a new perspective on their life. And I do congratulate anyone who makes the decision and really does it.
My suggestion to Thomas, if I was asked, would be:
• Not to make too many plans for the future before taking off. Not to commit to a job he might not even want when he gets back. Or maybe he and the family don’t even want to go back once they have discovered a new traveling life style. Here he is giving himself the opportunity off a life time and he is willing to limit it by committing to a job as Minister of Justice…? Well what do I know? Maybe it is a lot of fun and maybe that is the opportunity of his lifetime.
• Not to commit most off his time to writing another novel. Can’t that wait until he gets back? Really take the time off and devote it to his family. They have probably had to stand back many times before. Well he does sound like a busy guy and maybe writing a book is his way of relaxing and spending quality time with his kids?
• Maybe enrolling the kids in an American school is a positive change for them. But an even more exciting change would be to also give the kids some time off by homeschooling them for this relatively short period. It would for sure give them a different perspective on how learning can be done. But maybe this is to ask a bit too much from a maybe future Minister of Justice in Sweden since Sweden is, for whatever it is worth, trying to more or less stop the right to home school with the new school law.
Well who am I to give a man like that advice? First of all I don’t know much about him. And secondly, he is definitely much more successful than I’ve ever been, in a traditional sense of speaking anyway.
But then maybe he is interested in my opinion? I’ll send a link so he at least gets a chance to read it…
To finish this I just want to offer you this quote from his Blog:
“It will be incredibly exciting. Of course I realize that it may have consequences for my career, in politics anything can happen. But still I have no hesitation. Somehow everything always works out to the best. And is there anyone who believes that in twenty years from now I will think: F… my choice to focus on my family back in 2010?”
It is just like if he has been reading what I suggested a little while back in “Listen to experience speak and you will take your dream of long term travel more seriously”