About travelling

I happened to read a blog post about travelling by an old good friend of mine. She left an incredibly tough question in the end of the page; ‘What does travelling mean to you?’

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When I lived close to Paris, I really loved all the metro and train trips – got some time to think, travel in mind.

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Ways of travelling – tuktuk in Bangkok, Thailand

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Ways of travelling – a flight to a foreign land
Fra Airport, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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Tradition of travelling – by camels in the desert
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Travelling is a word, meaning usually ‘to move from one place to another’, as in my previous pictures. But there is so much more to it, it’s both a physical and mental life-changing experience.

At the moment, travelling is work for me, in a literal way. Long distances became my office and far lands home. When you are far from home physically and culturally, you really need to feel inside you and search your peace, your history, culture and values. Only by knowing first what I am made of, I can start learning from others.

Deeper inside we are not so different. Cultures, religions, traditions and history have made us act differently. But we all have same feelings, we need love, we want to understand the world, we get angry when something doesn’t work as we are taught, we forgive when things are settled in a respectful and constructive manner.

Travelling means meeting the world and through acceptance learning to live the world. At first travelling was mainly physical for me, but as it became mental and spiritual, it became home.

Change for 2014

It’s been a while that I haven’t been posting. For me this pause was most of all time to search something new in myself. I felt the need to understand me more, and through this process, simply get new power on sharing new stories again.

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The last sunrise I saw in 2013

I had awakening times over the holidays. During one week, I visited all the three places I consider my homes. Jyväskylä in Finland, Paris in France and Frankfurt am Main in Germany. Three different cultures, languages, lifestyles, group of friends and stages of my past life.

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French stage – delicious snails

They say you need to know your history to understand the present and to plan the future. The important thing is to understand these points in all levels, starting from the largest one – the history of the world, to understand the dynamics around, the situation of your own country and culture in this frame. The knowledge of your own culture will teach a lot about behavioural aspects and give the power to be proud of your roots.

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Wild berries is one of the privileges in Finnish forests, I learned to bake a berry pie à la Mom

Knowing the history of your own family, will help you realize partly how you have become the person you are, and the reasons behind your parents’ and other family members’ choices. It is important to remember that regardless of which choices your family has made, you are you, the only you in the world, and in today’s world you have the ability to choose the change if you wish so.

That brings us to the final one, our very own personal history. Which way have I developed during my life? Which kind of choices did I make? Which mistakes did I make? How did I overcome them?

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Sometimes the light blinds you, sometimes guides
Eiffel tower in Paris, France

Staying in my childhood home in Finland is always awakening experience. Every single time I learn new about my past. Seeing the world, grows my respect towards my roots, and all the people who have walked part of my path with me.

Paris put many questions in my mind. Why did I do certain decisions in life? What came out of them? How did I grow up during those periods of time? Answering these taught me about my decision-making and behaviour in a big picture.

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Re-living your past path makes you know yourself more

I finished the travelling week in the present. I see my path, I see this place and time that I have ended up in. There are things I like, and things I want to change for the future. I have ideas, plans and energy again but as we all know, only the future itself will tell the result.

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Find the balance of the presence and the future – enjoy today, building your future

Happy new and very successful year 2014 for everybody!

My home Finland

Last week, I flew back to my home country Finland. Since I have been staying abroad a long time already, during the trip to my home town Jyväskylä, I realized and understood many things of Finland that foreigners have told me that surprised them.

The surroundings, habits, and lots of other invisible things of a culture make a place or life feel home. For a visitor it is all different. Sometimes a shock.

This time I took a place of a foreigner and tried to see Finland with their eyes. How do they see Finland? What will surprise them?

Since I have been dealing a lot with people from south of Europe, let’s take one pair of those eyes. Here are some thoughts, I have heard that have amazed or surprised those foreigners, and that I confirmed during my visit.

Wow, it is actually warm here!
Yes, the summer exists in Nordic countries as well. It might be different but it is summer. Temperature was +24 and the sun was shining when I stepped out of the plane.

The trees are so small.
In southern Europe as well as central Europe the trees seem mammoth size next to these little ones.. Road trip view.

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What did the bus driver say??!
The Finnish language belongs to Uralic languages (sometimes heard Finno-Ugric languages). It is completely different from bigger groups for example in Europe and Americas, that also have influenced each other. An example, an English word ‘centrum’:
Centro = Spanish
Centro = Italian
центр (Tsentr) = Russian
Centre = French
Zentrum = German
Centrum = Swedish
Keskusta = Finnish

Nokia 9km
A little village Nokia close to Tampere (the 3rd biggest city in Finland) is much more known in the world probably than Finland itself. Even a road sign ‘Nokia 9km’ could be a funny touristic sight for a foreigner.

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Does anyone live in this country?
During the bus trip, the view was much just nature, nature and nature. Forest, thousands of lakes and some forest again. A house or two every once in a while. There are only about 5,2 million inhabitants in the whole country, so there is some space for the nature as well.

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22.00 and the sun is still up?
Up north (as well as down in the very south) for half a year, there’s light. North of Finland enjoys the nightless night in the end of June, also a little bit more southern the sun stays up almost all night.

Because Finland is my home, I am used to certain things. When you go far, you see close. I’ve been around and now I see so many beautiful and special things of my original home, and I appreciate them a lot more. Go far and learn to respect your roots!

You have to travel far to see close – Introduction to exploring

You have to travel far to see close. I heard this quote many times since a kid, but understood the true meaning only when I actually went far. And by this I don’t even mean physically travelling to the other side of the globe (which I also did). Even in your own home city you can explore something very far from your everyday life.

We are used to repeat our days. We have habits in everything, the route to work as well as which milk we choose in the supermarket next door. Even a little change can open your eyes, in these examples changing the car to walking one morning (meaning another route) or going to another supermarket that might not have the same milk brand.

Anyone may start exploring physically close but travel very far in the mind. Of course, abroad it’s more likely that several different things hit you that you’ve never thought of before. A holiday to the beach resort might not be the most culture shocking choice, since it is designed for you to feel EXACTLY as at home, most of the times also the travel guide speaks your language. If the purpose of the trip is to relax and have everything as easy as possible, ready package vacation is the one to choose. In this case though, the culture of the country doesn’t really open to you.

How to explore a new culture then? In the end, it takes very little effort. Most important is to keep your mind open, give a possibility for the new ways of living introduce themselves to you. Meeting the locals is a very good start, also when visiting your neighbour city in your own country. There’s always someone who is ready to show you the insights of their culture. Locals are likely to bring you to places that you otherwise wouldn’t find, make you taste something you’ve never heard of, and teach you a part of their history and beliefs.

Listening, hearing, seeing and feeling this new world will make you compare it to your home culture. What do I like better here, what I prefer at home? What could we learn from each other? You might learn a new language, or improve one. Interaction with anything different from you will give you so much, make you grow and think. It will make you richer.

Here I have some examples what kinds of things you could explore. All the pictures are from my travel archives of past years.

Exploring the miracles of nature, temperature changes, different landscapes and extreme experiences in it, getting to know the history and art, changing points of view and interacting through other visions and thoughts, tasting new flavours and sensing the vibes:

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Amazing view of Mediterranean sea. I was introduced to Sicilian culture by a local family, I ate fresh melons from their backyard, improved my Italian and explored the history of the area.
Erice, Sicily, Italy / August 2012

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Freezing moments with -30C degrees, glittery snow in the air. My home but always an experience to feel it.
Jyväskylä, Finland / December 2012

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White river rafting – feeling the great power of the nature, understanding our mortality, living full with adrenaline.
Rotorua, New Zealand / March 2011

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Going back in time, feeling the ancient. I found this place to visit thanks to my Sicilian friend.
Segesta, Sicily, Italy / August 2012

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Fresh provoking art on shirt with the happy owner – me, Spr Fkr
I participated open doors of the museums of modern art in the downtown of Los Angeles and changed points of view with a local, talented artist.
Los Angeles, California, USA / Februay 2011

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Interacting with the visions of the greatest artists of all times in Louvre museum. I have visited several times, but I never get enough of the master pieces in it.
Paris, France / December 2011

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Delicious bruschetta bread after a burning day by Mediterranean sea. ‘On a holiday’
Terracina, Italy / August 2011

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A very special flavoured liqueur from Finland, tastes similar to liquorice, just saltier. Definitely a must! A ‘little-piece-of-home’ present from a lovely friend visiting me this weekend.
Frankfurt Am Main, Germany / February 2013

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Vibes of a lake in the silence of a  nightless night. In the middle of all chaos and experiences it is important to stop and reflect.
Keuruu, Finland / June 2008