Helena Englund Hjalmarsson and Peter Hjalmarsson, and their concept called Vaycay in a Box. | Helena and Peter Hjalmarsson


Some people really know how to turn off all worries and enjoy little things even if they have big life challenges. I had personal reasons to spend some time in the emergency room this last week and it occurred to me how normal things feel, despite all. There was someone with a broken leg, someone with kidney stones and others that came in after a traffic accident. So much energy going on in there. In the middle of the chaos, I saw this lady that sat with a large book sipping her coffee and just waiting for her turn. I love the way she reacted, no matter how uncomfortable the situation you are in, you can always close off for a minute or two to find a moment of peace.

There was a time in my life when I spent most of my work week in different hospitals, coordinating patients and insurance companies for tourists in hospitals. Translating, calling family or relatives in different countries when there had been an accident. I did this in Greece, Tenerife, Thailand and here in Mallorca. It was hard sometimes, but it felt good to do something useful. I remember one guy specially; he was only 17 and travelling with 5 friends to Mallorca for the first time. They did not prebook the hotel and ended up in Cala d’Or. The first night even before hitting the town, the guy slipped in the bathroom and broke his spleen, things got complicated and he spent 2 months in hospital before he could be sent home. Every day we went over to visit him and this was before mobile phones, so we did bring him books to read. What a way to spend a summer when he should have been out to make new memories with his friends.

Speaking about making new memories. It has not been easy for the people who love and are used to travel several times a year in 2020. I meet Helena who has been working in Mallorca for the past years in a real estate agent in Palma. Helena and her husband Peter Hjalmarsson had little idea what was coming, when they promised each other that 2020 would be a year when they would travel a lot. To quench the urge to travelling, they began to travel in the imagination - now they offer others the opportunity to join them on their travels- the concept is called Vaycay in a Box.

The whole idea started as Covid hit hard in Sweden in the beginning of 2020 and they had to cancel their lifelong dream vacation to Jamaica. The couple felt sad, stuck, and bored with sitting home watching Netflix. We decided to make a roleplay and make a concept that would transfer us to Jamaica for the weekend. They set up for the weekend with the right music, movies, recipes, necessary props and off they went – even though they were still in their home.

“Soon we will land in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital…” says the voice in the introductory film and already there the travel nerves are tickled. Anyone who orders a “Vacay in a box” home will receive a cardboard filled suitcase with props for the trip, a ticket, and a roadmap. The trip is planned as a weekend from Friday to Sunday and begins by logging in with your ticket number and then guided through the day programme step by step.

The trip to Jamaica begins, for example, with a welcome drink where straws, colourful umbrellas and banana chips for the drink are found in the box while the drink itself you prepare according to the recipe. The box also has a rasta hat with dreadlocks to put on your head and a Jamaican flag to hang on the wall for extra atmosphere.

It follows with a packed weekend programme with ready-made music lists, making the souvenir rasta bracelet, a language lesson in patwah with the local language, a dance lesson in a dance hall, breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with spices from the box, tips on feature films to watch in the evening and a training programme signed by the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

In addition to Jamaica, Vacay in a Box also has holiday boxes that take you on city weekends to the alleys of Madrid and a special box to the holiday paradise of Mallorca. Trips to Costa Rica, Istanbul and Lake Garda will also be released soon - and in the autumn you will be able to join a spectacular camping trip through Kyrgyzstan. The plan is for a new box to arrive once a month or so.

“The idea is that the trips should work just as well for those who want to dream their way out into the world, as for those who want a more fun way to do research before their upcoming trip,” says Helena. For more information visit the website: www.vacayinabox.com