Something strange happened at the Nordic Travel Fair. I realized that my go to destination this spring is Lapland. And maybe Iceland Stopover too, on my way to the other North, North America. And maybe Bilbao, again and with more time…
But lets talk about Lapland first. Lapland, which is the home (& the North Country) and the most magnificent place on earth. Something which I always return to and to which I now want to visit almost desperately. Homesickness and wanderlust combined, maybe.
But why Lapland, eventually? Why Lapland, over all the other places; the sunny beaches, big mountains and big skiing, colorful drinks and bustling cities? And why am I telling you this?
I HAVE THIS THING WITH LAPLAND
There’s couple of reasons, both for my own desire and for why I want to inspire others, you, to travel there. One, there’s so many new cool places to visit, restaurants to eat in, shops to shop in and exhibitions to take a look at. And most importantly, there’s so many friends and family members to hug and kiss, the ones who I’ve seen too rarely the recent years.
Second, there’s now a special person (or well, many persons – my dear friends, I’m always ready to be your personal Lapland guide) for whom I would like to show it, my home, Lapland, in its entity; so wide and open* and unique. I wanna show what I’m really made of (also goes as a reminder to myself) and what kind of challenges and possibilities it offers. A haunting place with lots of opportunities, especially for a visitor looking for the extremes; adventures, sauna, open fire, peacefulness, wellness, fresh and pure local food, great design and wilderness with only a tiny touch of human. I also want to hear the honest, objective comments from someone who’s never been there. Maybe some of them I’ll be able to share with you too (the funniest ones at least, I promise).
Lapland in the spring (my spring starts in February – arriving with the first cutting sharp rays of sun) also offers one of the finest, purest experiences; white snowy landscape with little snow diamonds shining all over the place (remember your sunnies)! It’s really magical the way the Lappish landscape gives off light, especially during the spring months. Wouldn’t you like to ski into this too?
Third, what you really need when traveling to and in Lapland, is time. Lots of time. Time is also something for which you should go there for, especially in these turbulent, almost chaotic times we live in our societies. Lapland is not for instant breaks. It’s for pausing, getting used to that Lappish rhythm (if you’d speak Finnish, you’d even hear the difference in our dialect) and getting that sense of respite, solitude and comfort.
Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
Despite the calm, Lapland also has the wild in her. Even though offering almost exceptionally well functioning infrastructure and service (it’s really not that easy up north), she does have her wild side left. So keep your eyes open even in the most silent, peaceful moments. Lapland is a wilderness. It also helps to keep in mind that even though in Lapland they’ve taken tourism security seriously and the good infrastructure is there to help, planning well in advance, taking everything possible into consideration and being aware that everything can change suddenly and without warning, saves lives.**
Lapland makes you understand that even though you can live from the nature and adjust to it, you can’t really change it (just think about how big powers climate change needs to happen). In Lapland its so easy to find that perspective, to realize how tiny we really are. And when you realize it (or in my case, remember it again) you easily start (or remember) to respect the nature; to be humble in front of it.
Time, patience and awareness are also needed for the distances in Lapland. You can compensate with money though, take a flight over train or central accommodation over cabin in the forest. But I’d like to remind you, that traveling as it’s purest form is to be on the move, on the road. Roadtrip, anyone?
Remember to take care though.
I also want to show how my Lapland has no national borders – how the Swedish Lapland and Northern Norway both are as close to my heart as Finnish Lapland, closer even than Southern Finland, no matter what my passport says. And still, despite these shared characteristics, I want to show how different they are, and why some things are better exactly where they are, how all the places have their own strengths and weaknesses.
This transnationality helps if and when you like mountains and sea, but have happened to born in flatlands, by the river, like I do. It’s good to be able to borrow from the dear neighbors easily, especially since crossing the borders is (or has until now been) easy in the Arctic Europe.
planning TRAVELS for lapland
I’m now on the planning mode, pockets full of ideas and invitations. There will / should be Arctic Design Week, Arctic Light Hotel, Santa Claus, snow, skiing, great outdoors, Riksgränsen, National Parks, sauna, cabins, reindeer and so much more. And there should be something geographically new for me too, the Lapland north from Inari.
More than anything I want to show the Northern Lights. But if the real ones decide not to show, I now know that I should call Finnair and ask where they got that amazing Northern Lights Ceiling at their Nordic Travel Fair stand.
Moreover it would be amazing to get there on time to visit the North Country Fair, aka Jokkmok Market, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to fit to my timetable, this year again (it’s far and the accommodation options nearby are limited – but and if you have any tips or better knowledge than I do, please share those, in the comments or by email).
Basically, I’d just like to live the song, you know.
* When I talk about open & Lapland, I mean both the landscape and the people. Yes, most of us have nothing to do with the image of reserved and silent Finnish people.
** And remember – the most important thing is to come back home safely in the end of the day.