|I’m cheating here a bit: this is not wilderness but a national park, about an hour from where I live…|
When Bonnie, Kaelene, Sammy and Van invited bloggers to write about their travel bucket lists for this week’s Travel Tuesday link-up, I was at a loss. I don’t have a travel bucket list, I thought. There’s no place I really want to visit (except the ones I keep going back to). My husband and I travel all the time, both together and separately, but the truth is, I have no wanderlust to explore new destinations…
And then it hit me: I do have a travel bucket list. There are two countries my husband and I always say we would like to explore a bit more, one day:
Confession time: I live in Helsinki (or rather, that is where Homebase 1 is located…), but I have hardly ever ventured outside the capital area since I moved there (a very long time ago). Thus, there are dozens of places in Finland I’ve never been to: the archipelago, Lapland, the eastern border region… and lots of things I haven’t done (hiking in the wilderness, swimming in a lake, seen reindeer or the northern lights..).
I wasn’t born in Helsinki, though. I spent my childhood in various places around the country, and I have fond memories of living by a lake as a little girl. I remember picking blueberries in the forest with my mother, wearing wellies and a raincoat, or taking the boat and going fishing… That’s all just part of a normal childhood for any Finn: spending endless summer days at the family summer cottage in the middle of nowhere (and I hated it; I was always a Big City Girl at heart…).
While I have successfully avoided the Finnish countryside most of my adult life, Professor M and I have of course visited family members in other parts of the country (besides the capital), and sampled a few smaller towns nearby on day trips… But we’ve never ventured very far north, or east. Every now and then Professor M suggests we should go to Lapland, and my standard (cliched city-girl) answer is ‘what are two snobbish city-dwellers supposed to do there?’ It is a valid question: Lapland is a great holiday destination for people who like outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, skiing…), getting off the beaten path and exploring the wilderness. But I don’t think it has a lot to offer to someone who thinks having to go to the neighbour town to get to the airport is a drag (that would be me)… And a winter holiday is of course out of the question (as I made a promise to myself when I left school that I would never ever have to go skiing again because I hated the cold and the snow so much), and there are too many mosquitos in summer (or so I’ve been told).
On the other hand, maybe we should go, just once, so that he gets to see what a real forest looks like… (I’ve learned that the Central-European idea of what constitutes ‘a forest’ is very different from the Nordic one).
While I spent my childhood summers in lakeside cottages (and still somehow failed to learn to swim…) and running around forests, Professor M used to to go hiking in the Alps…
And every year he suggests we should go and see all those places he saw as a child… Or just tour his native country a bit.
Of course, I have visited my husband’s native country on several occasions. I’ve seen the house where he grew up, met his relatives, and… well, that’s about it. Whenever we go to Germany together, we seem to have a lot of things to do and people to see, but no time to see anything. We did go to Berlin once, for a weekend trip, though…
So, while we spend quite a lot of time in Britain (in Homebase 2 or having fun shopping or playing tourists in London), keep going back to Barcelona, and occasionally find ourselves in odd places around the world, it seems we have neglected the places closer to home.
Maybe we should explore our respective native lands a bit more, one day…