April 19, 2017

ITALIAN EASTER ADVENTURE VOL.1: ALTO ADIGE

On Easter we, me and my boyfriend, decided to do a little weekend getaway and head south to the north of Italy, the area of South-Tyrol, to enjoy the Alps and the quietness. A little getaway was definitely needed, since we both have been recently finishing up our studies and jammed with work. Besides, I get really tired sometimes with the city; we live quite central and it's challenging to find any peace and quiet in Stuttgart, the city of cars. Even though Finland doesn't have big altitudes, nature is a huge part of Finnish mentality and culture. After all, our country is over 70% covered in forests, and XX% of lakes. So getting close to nature is something that I just need to do on a regular basis.

Filled with energy and ambition we headed to the Alps with a goal of a full day hike. The mountain huts were closed and hiking season was not on its peek, so on our 15km hike we saw no living soul. We took a bit too big bite to eat as beginner hikers though: the routes were partly covered so bad in snow, that we sometimes fell in there having snow up till our hips. The routes also included a lot of climbing, and eventually we had to give up and turn back, when we reached a point where the rising was simply too steep and covered in over a meter of snow. I was actually very bummed, since giving up and turning back are not in my nature. But after all it was a good achievement for a rookie and eventually the point was to enjoy nature and the beautiful mountain views. We did not reach our goal, but definitely stepped out of our comfort zone by even doing such a challenging route.
The moment of reaching a peak in the height of almost 3 kilometers was definitely a breathtaking moment. Endless view of more peaks and valleys, and no people on sight. Somewhere in the distance you could hear mountain rivers and birds. It felt as if we were the only ones in the world. The air was so fresh and the wind felt so good.I guess there and then I reached a moment of complete calmness, that I haven't experienced for a long time, and that I was so desperately in the need for. The whole way you didn't think of anything – only where you stepped into. For me that kind of clearing your mind was amazing, since I consider myself as a bit of a over-thinker.

I did though almost miss out on that startling moment at the peak just because I wanted to waste time on thinking, how I wasn't good enough, or didn't go as far as I planned on going. Eventually I was able to give in on the amazing feeling up there. What I learnt is, that goal-reaching and ambitiousness are good characteristics, but because of them you shouldn't miss out on enjoying the moments. I think being fully present in the moment, with heart and mind makes the experiences so powerful and much more meaningful, than when you're worrying about things that don't really even matter.

What I also learnt is, that no matter how deep you're in snow, it doesn't prevent you from getting a sunburn. You should've seen my face the day after!! Also, wasn't such a good idea to go to a hot sauna afterwards :( Oh well, lesson learnt. Although, I don't know how many times I gotta burn my skin before learning, that it happens basically every time the sun is up.

It was also the first time in my adult life to stay in a spa hotel with full service: 4-course dinner menu in the evenings, didn't have to search for a restaurant. Normally I love strolling down the streets and spontaneously just pick a place to eat, but I gotta tell you, this all-inclusiveness fitted so well to this trip, and in the village where we were staying were no restaurants anyway.  Was after all a nice, care-free way of spending your Easter-weekend, and it gave me a lot of strength to carry on the next couple of months before my next getaway. I'm sure I won't have such an arrangement in all of my trips, but will definitely combine it in the future in similar activity-holidays, where you physically burn the energy so hard, that it's good to save it for the actual sports rather than wandering around searching for food.

I can definitely recommend the hotel Tannhof in Vals, if you want to head to South-Tyrol. They had a nice spa area consisting of three saunas, small outside terrace and a relaxing room. The dinner was delicious and affordable, and service good. Rooms were beautiful and clean.



April 17, 2017

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY: IT'S FINE TO BE CONFUSED SOMETIMES

I admire those people, who always seem to know, where they are going. They have goals and they make their moves in order to achieve them. Those people are able to concentrate and do not get all shaken up, when there are moments, when they have to ponder, where to go next. I'm not one of those people.

I sometimes feel like I'm in a big carousel and don't know on which horse to sit on. For someone who doesn't know me well, already my regular habit of changing a job, hobbies, countries etc. etc. gives a hint of restlessness. I can change my mind various times, and even though I can be very ambitious and goal-orientated, the topic changes on a regular basis.

Couple of weeks ago I met with a friend of mine, a very dear one whose opinion I really value (and who is one of those non-restless people). I told her that I recently started taking swing dance lessons. She said, that every time she sees me, I have tried out or am planning on trying out something new. I felt a bit embarrassed and was thinking to myself, how crazy I look like in other peoples' eyes. She continued: "I find it so cool that you have the courage to try stuff out, it's fascinating and always a pleasure to listen to those stories!"

So maybe confusion is just over floating curiosity: you can't choose what to do, cause you haven't tried it all yet! Let us be who we are and listen to where our hearts bring us, and stay careful of whose opinion actually matters to us - others might judge and hold you down, but others can give you a boost, support and another point of view.

Let's enjoy the week!

April 11, 2017

CAN EVERYDAY LIFE BE AN ADVENTURE?

Oh, how much time we spend on dreaming about going somewhere or doing something, and then think how far away those dreams are from reality, and blame the lack of time and money. Then you read from online blogs some encouraging words like "go and live your dream", "what's stopping you?" and "the life is meant to be lived". Now, if I would have to pick a cliche line to guide my life, it would be something like: "Make every day an adventure (but it's okay to have few normal ones as well)".

It all started this year in January, when my long wait ended and I finally got to settle down in one place, after having a home in three countries for the past three years. Finally having my things in one place and not having my suitcase on a standby all the time, I realized that I am in a desperate need of spicing up my everyday life to compensate all the travelling I've been doing. After some thinking, I noticed, that there are so many wonderful opportunities around me, that I just have to go for it!

As a result of the new mindset, this year so far I've tried snowboarding for the first time at the Alps (the bruises lasted two weeks), I started swing dancing classes, boxing and yoga, started learning Italian, begun writing a blog, decided to be more experimental with cooking, started reading books again after years of "not finding time" to do it, and the list goes on. I do work full time, so naturally some of the activities will probably stay in the category of "stuff I've tried". Though some of the things have made me discover new skills that I have, expanded my networks and became part of my life. Most importantly, I've been having fun and learnt new things. Life can be exciting and full of new experiences also from where you stand - you don't need to quit your job and start it all over again to gather them.

I like being still for a while, build up my career and concentrate on my current relationships. For me this means that at this very moment quitting my job, saying goodbye to boyfriend and friends, and leaving it all behind once again wouldn't be an option for me. I love travelling, I could never live without it, but realizing, that you don't have to change your whole life and use all of your life savings to make life into an adventure is somehow a relieving discovery; even the smaller adventures make life exciting. Only thing to change is the mindset. Having some courage and trying out new things create an adventure - even if you would do it in your hometown.

So to wrap up this topic, I find it fitting to quote the wise words of Benjamin Button (I know, I'm the most uncool person ever, but that movie is awesome tho):
"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."  (The curious case of Benjamin Button. 2008.)