Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve written anything in English on this blog. I’ve meant to, but then life happened.
This summer my whole life, the current and future one, turned upside down. On a perfect way, thankfully. If you follow me on social media, for instance on Facebook or Instagram, you probably know already what revolutionised my world.
In case you don’t, let me explain it shortly. On an ordinary June evening, Daniel and I went to see a beach house, just like we’ve done every once in a while for years. After all, a house by the sea has been our biggest dream as long as I can remember. The kind of dream you never really believed to become a reality.
But dreaming is fun. And that’s why we’ve been regularly visiting open houses. Fantasising. Viewing luxurious properties that we could never afford to buy or live in. Being
nosy curious. Maybe even torturing ourselves a bit.
But this time something was different. Instead of a realtor, we were welcomed by a lovely elder couple and a delicious smell of freshly baked good. The coffee table was set, and the couple even invited us to come another time for a sauna and swim.
“Of course you need to know what you’re thinking of buying”, the lovely couple said with a smile.
After a week and a half, we returned to the crime scene. The seaside sauna was hot and inviting. I dove into the refreshing Baltic Sea and knew immediately there was no going back.
After a few days, we had set the price, signed the purchase papers and listed our town apartment for rent.
It was the starting point for a weeks-lasting cleaning and moving rumble that is still partly ongoing. Part of our life is still packed in boxes. The wild sea buckthorn growing on our beach is full of unpicked berries, part of potatoes are still on the field, and apples are hanging on the tree branches. At least pumpkins and onions are stored as well as 10 kilos of Aronia, even if another 10 kilos is still waiting to be picked.
This is the first reason why my blog, English and Finnish sides of it, has been deadly quiet for months. I just haven’t had the time while I’ve been balancing between work, moving and harvesting. And standing late nights on the dock with my camera learning to photograph nature’s own fireworks, the Northern Lights dancing over our backyard and the Milkyway glowing above our new house.
A big pile of unfinished tasks remain on my to-do list, but over time they’ll all find their gap on my calendar.
This travel blog included.
If I’m frank with you, there have been times with a few hours to spare. I’ve done some travelling, too. I’ve been to the Dolomites in Italy and visited Kaunas, Lithuania together with my blogger friend Heidi. I’ve managed to write a long list of tips to Kaunas in Finnish and hoping to do the same in English one day. Meanwhile, you can read about our visit to Kaunas in English on this article written by KaunasIN.
I’ve also experienced a test night on my new camper-to-be van, adventured in Tenerife doing hiking, mountain biking and kayaking and spent a weekend in the small municipality of Mäntsälä together with a few other Finnish travel bloggers.
The primary reason for my slow blogging hides somewhere between these two mentioned above; How I’m learning to live more self-sufficient life far away from town lights and noise. And how to write about my travels in such a way that would help you understand why choices we make while travelling play a more critical role than ever before, whether we travel abroad or locally.
I couldn’t be happier with my life right now. But at the same time, I feel entirely lost. I don’t want or even can say ‘don’t travel’. How could I? I travel myself, and mostly because of my work: to write about travel!
This year, every trip I’ve taken abroad has been a work trip. And that’s my biggest problem. When someone else makes the schedules and books the flights for me, someone whose interests are in tight budgets and partners rather than in the future of our planet (which feels silly, as if there’s no planet, there wouldn’t be destinations to travel to or people who could travel), my chances to affect on how I travel are very limited. How many layovers do I have, what kind of planes and airlines I fly with, can I travel with public transport or do I need to drive my van, will I be welcomed by a private driver or could I travel by bus or train within the final destination.
And then, after all this, I want to tell you all how to travel more responsibly and sustainably. Even if I have so little chances to affect the way I travel myself. Can you see the dilemma here?
Of course, I’ve learned a lot from each trip this year. I’ve learned I need to be much more persistent to get my message through to the organisers. Believe me; I have tried. But clearly not hard enough. There’s still so much to do.
This is my biggest dilemma I’m facing every time I try to start typing a new story for you all to read. How can I encourage you to choose better when I continuously suffer from the limited possibilities to affect on my travels? And this is the main reason why writing this blog has been so damn difficult this year. I touched the issue on my latest English post I wrote in March this year and half a year later, and I’m still struggling with the same question.
It feels like the changing climate, the way how it’s reported in the news and the way how different parties act on it have split people into two sides. We should either go to the barricades and shout accusations out loud or choose the opposite side, announce ourselves as climate denialists and troll the people standing on those barricades.
The thing is, I don’t believe in extremities.
It would be unrealistic to assume people would stop travelling. Considering how many countries, destinations and people live on tourism, it would be irresponsible to ban the travel industry completely.
What we all can do is to learn how to choose better. And the most important thing what we, the people who write about travel – whether we do it for our careers as travel journalists or blogging as a hobby – can and should do, is to tell to our readers why it’s so important and how we all can learn to make better decisions.
Not to forget the companies in the travel business in our own countries and abroad, who need to change the way they work to be able to provide better options. So that us travellers wouldn’t always need to choose the slightly less bad option out of two horrible ones but to choose the best out of two excellent ones.
I hope that writing my dilemma out to the public will help me to bring my blog back to life. I hope it would help me not to feel wholly blocked every time I want to tell about a stunning destination but at the same time ask you to consider twice before travelling there.
Do you ever find yourself struggling with similar questions?
I’d love to hear if your attitude towards travelling has changed within the past year. Do you still buy the cheapest flights whenever you have some spare time and money without considering options? Or do you carefully think when and where you travel or whether you should travel at all? Do you travel within your home country or do you always fly abroad for a holiday? Do you research the hotel, restaurant or souvenir shop you’re spending your money on or do you just pick the one that looks the best from outside?
Or do you now find yourself thinking why on Earth should you?