If you live in a bustling and loud environment, are constantly online, constantly reachable – you might feel like Lauren and I do at times. We get overwhelmed and our brains start burning. The only thing we crave is complete silence and an undisrupted connection to nature. It’s easy to forget that we actually still have access to these sacred places on earth. One of these places is Finland and it’s untouched wilderness. For Lauren and I, Finland has quickly become one of our absolute favourite destinations in the world. Let us tell you why.
There is a purity, something almost magical about the Finnish woods of Karelia. The soul and mystery it holds, can be felt in the air. Lauren and I had a super busy fall with many changes and developments in our company and in developing TCW. Even when we love what we do, there is always a risk of a burn out. And our bodies are absolutely amazing in telling us when by giving us warning signs. When you start feeling exhausted even though you have slept 12 hours straight, or you don’t find the energy to appreciate each other, your friends or family, your body is actually trying to tell you that it needs peace, quiet and rest. We had reached that point and were desperate to get away. Visit Finland organises a big influencers trip every winter (NBE Finland) and we decided to apply. The itinerary included many, many hours of snow shoe hiking, ice fishing, sauna breaks and fire place hang outs in remote hunting lodges. We spent a good chunk of our time close to the Russian boarder, in Karelia, where wilderness is still real. Going on this trip was probably one of the better decisions we made last year. The soil had some sort of cleansing effect on our minds. The only thing we could hear was the thick, crisp white snow squeaking under our boots. An occasional sound from an owl, deer or moose breaks the silence to remind us that we are not alone. We are only guests in their territory. Lauren and I felt grateful to be let in to this winter paradise. As we were hiking across ice lakes and thick pine woods, nature made us let go of any worries or stress that otherwise tends to cling on to our overheated heads.
Ice-fishing is the perfect activity for practicing patience. We sat for hours out on the frozen lake. I will admit, that patience is not my strong suit and I’m naturally a high speed person in life. That is exactly why this was specifically good for me. Just sitting still in silence. It’s a healing experience. And for anyone who wonders – No, I didn’t catch one single fish! Lauren did however (typical!) but it was such a tiny fish that we dropped it back into the water through the hole in the ice.
Apart from the nature of Finland, I want to talk a bit about the people of Finland. It is said that Fins are quiet, a bit grumpy and not sociable at all. Well, the quiet part we can agree with. But honestly, the Finnish people that we have come across on our trips to Finland have been absolutely amazing people. Genuine, warm and welcoming. They seem happy to share their culture with you as a foreigner. When it comes to LGBT rights, it hasn’t always been great in Finland but big steps forward have been taken in the recent years. Same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples was approved by the Finnish parliament in 2014 and will take effect on the 1st of March 2017. The laws however, are not always reflecting the general views of a people. As an LGBT couple, we have encountered zero unwelcoming looks or words, not on the countryside nor in the cities. We are happy to put our Gay Friendly stamp on Finland as a destination.
It was cold. Really, really cold. Most days around negative 35 degrees fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius) So if you decide to do a similar trip, please make sure to check the weather forecast and prepare yourself with some serious gear. Lauren and I love our Nau Clothing gear and we do multiple layers underneath. We hold Nau Clothing extra close to our hearts because the mainly work with recycled materials and eco-conscious material and production of their goods.
A week of this heavenly nature experience nourished us both. It’s 2016 and we should have learned by now in our western culture that we are no machines. As creatures of mother earth, regardless of the digital world we exist in, we all need silence and rest. And more than anything, we crave connection with nature. Finland offers so much precious, untouched land where you can recharge and reflect. So when you feel in need of this type of journey; Finland comes with our warmest recommendations.