02 Feb WE ARE MOVING TO HELSINKI, FINLAND
Ok, ok, I might be getting a little ahead of myself. No, we have not decided to give up our full-time traveling life (yet). There’s still some burning steam left in us, and there’s still a million and one things we need to see and photograph (obvs), all across this beautiful planet, so no, we are not moving to Helsinki just yet.
When we do eventually decide to settle, and get dogs (that’s really the main reason we’d give up this whirlwind life), I am going to fight hard for it to be in Helsinki. Let me tell you why…
Admittedly, this happens every now and then. We board a flight, and leave a country, and I get genuinely upset. I remember this happened in Japan, Iceland, Canada, USA, and now, Finland. I get upset because I feel like I have barely just scratched the surface of said country, and now I must say goodbye, and maybe never return again.
Finland, in a very unexpected way, has felt like home. Perhaps it was the incredible #MyHelsinkiResidence (with vegan groceries stocked in the fridge, and enough gorgeous Finnish design from Marimekko and Alvar Aalto that made me want to start collecting things again – HOW CRAZY?!).
Or maybe it was the incredibly welcoming crowd we got to hang out with at the NBE conference this year, making it feel like we had our own little tribe.
Maybe it was Helsinki’s charm, filled with snow-covered beaches, eclectic mix of Scandic, Eastern European and Central European influences, and enough inspiring design stores to make shopping feel like a day at the museums.
Or maybe it was because it felt like the most progressive vegan city I’d ever visited, with more vegan milk options than cow milk options, and the world-first McVegan at McDonalds.
Maybe it was the sauna experience at Löyly, complete with rubber mat leading you into the freezing ocean for a cool down (wildest experience btw) that brainwashed me into the Finnish way of life #FunFact – there are over 2 million saunas in Finland, and 99% of Finns sauna once a week.
I’m not sure.
All I know, is that for a brief while, I pictured the two of us living a very happy (and chilly) life in the suburbs of Helsinki. I guess those lists do have some truth to them – maybe Helsinki is the happiest place on Earth? At least I picked up on its good vibes, and definitely saw why so many consider calling it home.
If you too have visited #MyHelsinki and felt it’s bite, let us know in the comments below! And if you haven’t visited (but you’d like to), read through our “How To Become Finnish In 24hrs” list below in preparation for your trip (our list can also be found here).
How To Become Finnish In 24hrs
- Start off with a morning swim (yes, in Winter too). As the city is on a coastline, you can take your pick of swim spots (and if you’re not brave enough for the ice water, try out the slow lane at Allas Sea Pool).
- Visit the two iconic cathedrals – the Helsinki Cathedral and the Uspenski Cathedral. If you’re feeling extra energetic whilst at the State House (the other name given to the Helsinki Cathedral), run up the stairs screaming “Kittos!” and take a selfie when you reach the top.
- Pop past the Artek store in the city centre, and admire the simple and functional, genius design of Finnish architect and designer, Alvar Aalto.
- If you’re not picking up some organic goodies at the Old Market Hall for lunch, go join the employees at the global design house Marimekko headquarters. You can eat at the cafeteria, and then go next door to buy yourself something cute at the shop.
- Take a ferry ride to see where it all began – the sea fortress Suomenlinna – and get yourself a Moomin mug whilst visiting the gift shop (Tove Jansson would have been pleased).
- Finally, end your day with a sauna session at the ocean-side Löyly, followed by a Kyrö Gin drink on their terrace (using your new Moomin mug is optional).