After ten weeks on the road, an unexpected, and extended, stopover in London and travelling woes it was great to begin our life in Kuusamo.
Everything might have worked like magic, but big life changes are still challenging and can be scary. It can be tough starting again. Especially as we get older.
We get comfortable in our routines and familiar surroundings. Perhaps too comfortable and we stop challenging ourselves and striving to create more. To be more. To better ourselves each day and in every way.
That is why we sometimes need a little – or large – shake up. It can invigorate us to go for new challenges and goals. It can make us more focused again on what we really want to do and who we want to be.
I have for a long time wanted more time to focus on writing. After all, becoming a published author has been a lifelong dream. It really has. My first writing project was with a friend when we were nine years old. It got abandoned quite quickly because of artistic differences.
When I had seven months off for cancer treatments, I had plenty of time to work on writing projects. Of course, I would have preferred to find the time without cancer. However, I have to be grateful for the journey I have been on because it opened my eyes and stopped me from forever procrastinating.
The trouble was going back to work. I was lucky that I could go back part time. But with London rents being so high, it was a strain on our finances. And with rents and other living costs going up and up, I probably would have had to go back to full time at some point. That or move into a shoebox on the outskirts of Croydon.
Nothing against Croydon, but it wasn’t where I saw myself living. Neither did Justin.
I’m not sure how the idea of moving to Finland first came up. But just like the cycling idea, it was something that stuck and the more we thought about it, the more it made sense.
So here we are and life is, in so many ways, far removed from our life in London.
The pace of life here is so much slower. Nobody is rushing about. Not even at Christmas time in the supermarket.
I have a vivid memory of the queues at Asda leading up to Christmas 2020. Nothing like that here. Although sometimes the queues to the till are long because even though they have plenty of tills, they only open a few of them. It puzzles me. Every time. Why have eight check outs, but only open two or three?
Time seems to have slowed down since we got here. Perhaps because we have more free time and we are doing more with it.
We are spending weekends outdoors snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, we’ll swap the winter sports for cycling, hiking and watersports like whitewater rafting and paddle boarding. We want to get a little canoe or paddle boards to make the most of the lake we live next to.
In the summer, the area is great for cycling, too. Lots of quiet roads and remote villages to explore. Ruka, the skiing resort, is also working on becoming a more all year-round destination and has created downhill cycling tracks. You can take the gondola up and ride down. In July they host a downhill biking competition.
We are definitely in the right place for cycling. Justin has even met a Dutch guy who is a downhill cycling champion and now lives here. I might leave the off piste downhill cycling to them and stick to the roads myself.
But while it’s still winter, we have taken up swimming in the hole in the ice. We both wanted to do it. My sister has been doing it for a couple of years now and when she was here, we went swimming with her.
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Although it’s more of a dip in the water in my case. Justin can stay longer in the water. I’m working on it. Ice swimming has plenty of health benefits, but that is a topic for a whole post itself.
My dad also lent us his ice fishing gear, and we have been catching perch from our local lakes. It’s so relaxing sitting there, especially in beautiful sunshine and wait for the fish to bite.
Over the Easter weekend, Justin is going beaver hunting with his colleagues. Yes, you read that right. Beaver hunting!
We both love London and it will always be a huge pleasure to go back, but we are cherishing a more chilled out lifestyle. Never would I have thought I’d say that. Maybe it is being older, or maybe it is the different perspective since cancer and COVID.
To finish, I have a question for you. Where in the world would you move to and why? Let us know in the comments.
Until next time, and as always, thank you for being here.