A retiree's life in Sweden, juxtaposing the U.S. commonly multi-equipped RV's and a retirement on wheels for... retirement on rails.
Meet Jan-Erik—he traded his life as a pensioner to that of a traveler. Jan-Erik Kaiser, 66, is one of only three people in Sweden who carries SJ’s Årskort Guld. This fancy card (which costs a whopping SEK 80,400; $12,550) gives him unlimited train travel in Sweden and also allows him to eat as much as he wants onboard Statens Järnvägar, the main train operator in Sweden.
When Jan-Erik first retired, he’d hang out at the library and cafes in and around his hometown of Haninge, near Stockholm. “Not much fun,” he says. Thus the Guld-kort. ADVERTISEMENT
“I bought the first card because it was a bit fun. Then the year came to an end, and I took a break. But after a week, I was bored, so I bought another card. Now, I’m on my third Guld-kort.”
Jan-Erik starts his day early, usually at 5 a.m. Sometimes he sleeps on an overnight train, but more often he’s back at home come evening. He always travels first class (his card allows him to choose).
“I bring my laptop along, and blog from the train. I read newspapers, I eat, I look out the window. There’s always something to do. Sometimes I sleep.” He goes to new places or revisits old favorites, but summertime is for traveling to where the sun is. “I don’t go where it’s rainy.” Jan-Erik’s favorite routes are: Kiruna-Narvik: “Open landscape, mountains and raw nature. You see everything.” Stockholm-Göteborg: “It’s very pretty to Södertälje and from Alingsås to Göteborg.” Malmö-Lund: “Very pretty in the evening. The Skåne plain is extremely beautiful when you see Lund in the horizon. It’s postcard perfect.”