Tagline: The journey of her life? More like a nightmare actually.
Summary: Café owner Mia Lindell is 36 years old and has never dreamt of traveling. But here she is in Malaysia, far away from her home in sleepy Klippsund, Sweden. Ahead of her lies several months of traveling in Asia. She has brought a list of nine things to accomplish during the trip. The list, found in a box of recipes at the café, contains nine missions plus one scribbled over and was written by her now dead stand in-mother Kerstin who dreamed about far away places.
Mia is reluctant to travel but the list will force Mia out on various adventures and literally make her end up in deep water. She will also meet a lot of unforgettable people who make her grow. During the journey, it becomes clear that the list has a deeper meaning than just making Mia dipping her toes outside of her comfort zone. Instead the list provides keys for her to unlock what happened when her mother died all these years ago, and that Kerstin’s sister is involved in some way.
Target group: Mostly women ca 30-45, everyday life-escapers, travel lovers, former backpackers (now older and a bit more lazy), meaning-seekers light.
Similar to: Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Bridget Jones, Me before you by Jojo Moyes. Themes: Identity, life crisis, love, family secrets
Released in Sweden: 15th of August 2017
Comments in the app and in SoMe:
”Lovely vacation listening, good company on the beach on Zakynthos”
”Cosy and well-written”
”You get curious of what’s gonna happen to Mia”
You get easily drawn into Mia’s Asian trip. It almost feels like you share her adventures. If you seek a nice getaway from the rainy everyday life, this book is perfect”
”It’s apparent that the author is a backpacker and well-traveled. It feels empty now when the story is over … I would love to have more!”
Mia Lindell (36) Our anti-hero in this story. Single, no kids. The trouble with Mia is not that she lacks imagination, but rather she has a bit too much of it. She is the kind of person who looks for emergency exits when entering a room. Better safe than sorry is her motto. She would probably be a really annoying person to have around if she didn’t have a good sense of humour and the ability to laugh at her own expense.
She has a father and a half-brother. They’re not close. Her mother drowned when she was a teenager and she was around when it happened, but has only blurry memories of that day.
Not long after that, her father moved from Klippsund and started a new family while Mia stayed in the care of her employer’s.
Andreas (27, or is he?) Aka The Cycling German. Mia’s love interest #1. He has a tender smile, a precocious way and collects cheesy sayings in a little note book. He has bicycled all the way from Berlin and comes from a very strict family. At least that’s what he says. The bicycle part is true though. Exactly where he’s heading is not important since the journey is the goal. Or maybe he is as lost as Mia in life, but refuses to admit it?
Peter (age around Mia’s) Mias love interest #2. The guy Mia spent her teenage years in Klippsund drooling after. Good-looking and cool, but unfortunately he never took notice of Mia then. Now he is divorced, travels in Asia and longs for company. This is a dream come true for Mia. Too bad he is a walking mid-life crisis …
Sebbe (19) Mia’s half-brother. Traveling in Asia with his buddies and has the time of his life. At least if you look at his Facebook account. In real life he is lonely and lost but has a hard time admitting it to his older sister.
Kerstin (age unknown) Mia’s now dead stand-in-mother and writer of the list. She’s the reason why Mia goes abroad. When Kerstin was younger she dreamt of traveling and had her dream almost come true. Instead it was her sister, Anna, who went the places Kerstin had planned for, escaping the fuzz after Mia’s mother’s death in which Anna feels responsible for.
Jens (age unknown) Aka The djungle Danish. Lives with a djungle tribe in Sumatra, Indonesia. Altough being a total cliché, all the way down to the little loincloth covering his private parts, he gives Mia some good insights.
Lieke (30-ish) A Dutch backpacker pro who Mia meets in Laos. She has vivid recollections of the place (or at least parts of it) and shows Mia how to party like it’s 2005. She is convinced that Mias trip is part of something bigger.
Stephànie (25-ish) A french girl who refuses to call herself backpacker. Instead she uses the term traveler. Another thing she refuses is to pay for things, claiming she is not rich. But in the end someone has to pay, that person is unfortunately Mia.
Mission: Travel! Challenge yourself! Dare to be alone, dare to make contact. Mia is in Malaysia. She has lost her baggage and missed her bus. But with the help of a bicycling German called Andreas she can reach George Town on Penang Island. They hang out for a couple of days and the episode ends with some promising romance J. A small step for mankind but quite a leap for Mia.
Mission: Malaysia. Learn how to dive. Mia registers for a diving course in Perhentian Kecil. The school’s tagline is Dive with us, which in Mia’s head sounds more like Die with us. Andreas visits her, and knowing about her mom’s past, he is great support to Mia. But Mia is somewhat annoyed of the ready to be sent postcard she spotted in his luggage, claiming he’s missing someone. The episode ends with a ghastly cliffhanger: on the final graduation dive, one of Mia’s co-students falls into the water.
Mission: Cambodia. See the sun rise on Angkor Wat. See what’s beautiful and what’s tough. Mia is in Phnom Penh, recovering from saving her co-students life. She befriends Tey, a young woman who struggle to make end’s meat. Tey prefers plants to men but convinces Mia to meet up with Andreas for Christmas. But he doesn’t show up and Mia has to put up with an extremely cost-conscious french woman instead. They sneak in to a privat all-inclusive hotel, but get caught. The episode ends with Mia agreeing to meet her teenage love Peter in Vietnam. Screw the cycling German!
Mission: Vietnam. Learn from history. Mia is in Ho Chi Min City together with Peter. A total dream come true. But as they explore Vietnam’s troubled past (and tailor shops) Mia realizes that some dreams easily can turn into nightmares. But Peter unveils some details about her own troubled past, claiming Kerstin spoke to her sister Anna before she died, telling Anna never to return, for the sake of Mia.
Mission: Laos. Follow your instinct and open your senses. Mia meets Lieke, a Dutch woman in Vang Vieng, who talks Mia into a tubing trip. The parties along the riverbanks are rare these days, but one place keeps the party going. Mia accidentally eats a ”happy” brownie and suddenly finds herself in a muddy tug-of-war. It’s maybe not what Kerstin had in mind with her mission but it sure feels liberating. The episode ends with a mail from The Cycling German who wants her to meet up with him. But she has also gotten a concerned mail from her father, making her choose between seeing Andreas and tend to some family business.
Mission: Thailand. Enjoy life and reclaim things lost. Mia meets up with her half-brother in Koh Pangan after a concerned mail from her father. Sebastian thinks she’s there to spy on him, and Mia has a hard time convincing her brother otherwise. When Sebbe goes to a half-moon party Mia decides to follow him. Somewhere in the moonlight she loses track of him, but in the dance haze she finds someone else …
Mission: Sumatra. Discover the djungle while it’s still there. Test the outdoor person in you. It was The Cycling German who showed up at the half-moon party. They spend some time together until Andreas, on a whim, decides to leave. Mia gets angry with him and decides to go visit the Danish guy in she met briefly in Cambodia, who now lives in the djungle. The Danish is pleased, although surprised to see her, thinking she would be the last person to come visit. Looking at the night sky in the djungle, Mia realizes she has to find out the reason why her mother drowned.
Mission: Java. Reach Nirvana in the temple of Borobdur. Mia is in Java, Indonesia, when a vulcanic eruption hits the nearby surroundings. Mia volunteers to help out. After a visit at a safe shelter they must evacuate. In the car towards safety, Mia realizes she’s lost the list. The episode ends when she tries to turn back to collect it, but fails. But in the grey ash fog along the road she finds something else: one very ashamed Cycling German and his Finnish girlfriend.
Mission: Bali. Give your body and soul a break. Feel the magic in the town of Ubud. Mia leaves Java without sorting things out with Andreas. For her birthday, her dad and his wife has arranged for Mia to go to an expensive retreat in Ubud. She imagines herself eating elaborate food and enjoying spa experiences. But the only things allowed to do is repeating self-affirmations and drink green smoothies. When her hostess wants her to do a colon-cleanse, she escapes. She agrees to meet up with Andreas to talk it all out. They come to an understanding, maybe they could be friends instead? The episode ends with Mia discovering the tenth mission: Tell my sister I love her and forgive her if you can.
Mission: Tell my sister I love her and forgive her if you can. Mia and Andreas have tracked Kerstin’s sister Anna to Australia, where she works as an outdoor guide in the Blue Mountains. Mia goes on a trip with her, not telling who she is. At a very steep place, Mia accidentally falls into a river and Anna saves her life. They sit down and talk and Anna, who knew who Mia was the instant se saw her, explains what happened all those years ago: Anna found out that Mia’s mother had an affair with her fiancé. She confronted them on the jetty and the cheating couple rode off in a boat. Furious, Anna took up the chase in another boat, causing Mia’s mother to take a dangerous turn. The cheating couple ended up in the water where Mia’s mother died. Mia decides to stay and learn how to climb mountains.
Next season: Depending on listenings a new season can be written. Is there more her mother chose not to tell the family? And is Mia content with just being friends with The Cycling German?