In the spring of 2016, I hit a wall. Got a burnout, spiced with anxiety and depression. I lived alone in Helsinki, capital of Finland. I was in total dead-end, although everything was supposedly fine. Nice job as nature journalist on TV, great friends, family near and opportunity to do whatever I liked. Still, something had to change.
Through the darkness one image kept appearing in my head – a small wooden hut in the middle of nowhere, covered with snow, surrounded by trees. Candlelight in the window and sound of fireplace rattling.
I wanted to escape to the peace and silence of Lapland. For a long time, not just to visit.
And so it happened that instead of therapy and pills, I managed to enrol in a year-long wilderness guide training, taking place in Muonio, next to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in the west of Finnish Lapland. I got to experience every season of Lapland, all the colours and all the temperatures.
Lapland is an extreme place – when it’s cold it’s really cold. When there is snow there’s lots of it. When the sun is up, it’s constant sunshine day and night for a couple of months. The air is the purest in the world and the water is drinkable from nearly every stream you can find.
People are genuine. They don’t feel they should be this or that. You are who you are. I realised this authenticity is rare in big cities.
During my year of healing (and learning) something else happened. Something I wasn’t expecting – I fell in love. With a long-haired banjo playing outdoor gear geek from my course. Joona. Together we roamed and explored the wilderness.
We decided this is where we want to live. And we decided how we want to live. Simple life. But full life. No more waiting for weekends, no more feeling numb, no more stress from the city noise. Instead, adventures in the fells, camping under the northern lights, skiing in the pure whiteness and listening to the.. silence of nature. So we started our company, Pihka Outdoors. We tailor exclusive holidays to remember.
This is our journey. You are most welcome to join.