Ivalo, Lapland – What it’s really like being out in the wilderness


lapland ivalo

After 14 hours of driving we finally arrived in Ivalo – kind of smile.

Ah, Lapland. You already know how I feel about the place. It’s beautiful and unique. The cottage in Ivalo is a place to go to relax and forget all about the city life.

But being out in the wilderness is not at always as amazing as one would think. Here’s what annoyed me during our trip, that now makes me laugh a little bit though:

  • The weather conditions are extreme – and it’s not always comfortable. Did we pack only warm clothes to our trip and was it almost +30°C the first day? Yes. Warm weather is nice, but not in the forest, and here’s why:
  • Bugs.
    If the weather’s warm, it’s horseflies – and they are buzzing around you the second you step out of the cottage. Buzzing. All around. So many, you can’t count. There is just not a chance of being outside, unless you’re ready for a good amount of bites – which hurt, by the way. The horseflies come, when it’s warm – so you can’t even protect yourself with clothes, because you’re burning.
    If the weather is cool (in other words, comfortable), it’s mosquitos – and we all know how annoying they can be. Luckily you can protect yourself easily from them with bug sprays and machines, that can banish them for you, but there’s one downside to bug sprays. You can only imagine how fresh you will feel once your clothes and skin are full of some toxic spray. It’s sticky and gross. And hey – what about that one mosquito, that got into the cottage and wakes you up with it’s annoying little buzzing sound? Good morning to you too.
  • Sleeping in a tent is interesting, to say the least.  Especially when it’s almost +30°C. Ever tried to sleep in a sauna? Well, it’s not as much sleeping as it is just blacking out from the heat and suffering. Things are better, when it’s cool, but +6°C is pretty cold to be sleeping outside. I was freezing until we realized we needed to put a blanket under us, so that the cold didn’t come through the mattress. The good thing about tent is that there are no mosquitos inside. The bugs did, however, crawl around the tent, and cause some small heart attacks. I think it’s pretty safe to say, that I’m not that into tent life anymore. And yes, I did have the option of sleeping in the cottage, so this one is on me. The last night we slept in the cottage though, and that was better.
  • You can forget all about your sleeping rhytm. When the sun actually blinds you at nights, it’s pretty safe to say you won’t be going to bed in your regular time. It’s kinda awesome though too, but it does ruin your routine, when you sleep more like from 3am to 11 am.
    nigh in lapland
    Umm.. Good night, I guess?

    Wow, what a masterpiece of a reindeer photo.
  • This one is a totally dumb problem created by me: Reindeers and the impossibility of taking a good photo of them. You can see them countless of times, but why are there only reindeer butts on my camera roll? Okay, I might have just had bad luck and I also might suck at taking photos of animals.
  • This one is a totally self-inflicted blogger problem as well: thought of taking cute holiday photos of yourself? Forget about it. At least that is my case. My outfits were purely practical, and I packed only clothes, that I knew can get dirty and smoky, since I knew I would be spending some time around campfire as well. I could have packed some photoshoot outfit, like a dress, but then I would have gotten bitten, wearing that (remember the bugs?). Not to talk about not wearing makeup or doing anything to my hair. It was dirty most of the time anyway, since washing your hair there is not as simple. But hey, at least I got to focus on holidaying and you see how I anyway normally look – cozy.

All in all, I had a good trip and I got to relax as well. And in the end, what’s important is your own attitude. You need to have a relaxed attitude towards problems – as always with travelling. I hope no one takes these complaints too seriously. Because when the biggest problems you have are a few bad night’s sleeps, bugs or bad photos – you can say things are pretty well.

wood flume nellim
We visited this cool wood flume place in Nellim.

lapland wilderness

lapland selfie

We stopped on our fourteen hour drive to see this fake lake, Uljua. It was pretty cool.

Do you like camping or being on a cottage in the wilderness?

Travel plans for summer & fall

travel plans

My calendar for summer and fall has somehow filled up with pleasant surprises: trips and flights! I didn’t use to travel much – or at all really – but with Risto I have been able to see our beautiful world and I am forever thankful for that. We have already been to, what, ten countries, I think?

Our trips are something, that we both like to look back to and I think quite a lot of out friends have had to see our holiday photos as well. Sorry guys, I know they’re quite boring to everyone else except us, haha. And also – I doubt we will learn.

This Summer we’re making two trips: one to Risto’s mom’s cottage in Northern Lapland – and another to also a very familiar destination called Amsterdam. Remember when I said I could live in Amsterdam? I wasn’t kidding. And I’m as excited to go as I was four years ago.

Lapland is very close to my heart and I can’t wait to get there. We actually leave very soon – on Monday. It’s one of those epic road trip cases, because we’ll be driving for about sixteen hours. And when I say we’re driving, I mean him. I do my very best to stay awake the whole time – because who doesn’t love to sleep a little in the car? (I said that to Risto and he said that he totally understands and gets sleepy on the wheel as well – haha, not funny.)

I can’t wait to get to my very first holiday of this year. It’s no wonder I already feel like I need that. I’m pretty sure I will leave my computer home and just focus on unwinding. The days usually pass by quite quickly, when you’re in an environment without running water or electricity. You know, carrying water, preparing food, warming up the sauna – and perhaps also taking a nap in the loveliest cottage I know of. What I won’t be leaving home though, is my camera. We have sunlight for almost 24 hours there, so I see a photoshoot opportunity 24/7.

But don’t worry – I have worked on some amazing content for you for next week, so you won’t notice my absence.

After Lapland it’s work as usual for a month, but then in the end of July, we leave for Amsterdam. We’re there for week and a half this time, so there’s a chance I will get enough of the city for once (not). Our friends celebrate their 10th year wedding anniversary there, so that’s one of the things I very much look forward to. The bride actually just asked me to do her makeup for the event, so I get to play with makeup a little there as well. We have booked airbnb for our stay there, and it’s right next to the canals. One of the things I want to do there is take a boat ride in the canals.

travel plans

photos of me: Susanna Pomèll

After Amsterdam, we have about two months and then we fly again. I actually look forward to October already quite a bit, and it’s all because we are going to Paris and Martinique. Those are the trips, that Risto surprised me with on our anniversary. One of my sisters already left us earlier in the spring, when she moved to Italy, but another sister is also abandoning us this summer, when she goes to Switzerland and France. So one of the things waiting for us in Paris, is my sister.

And one of the trips missing from these plans, is a trip to Italy, to see the other sister. Maybe in winter then?

So: Lapland, Amsterdam, Paris and Martinique calling! I just got a new camera, so I will be focusing on photography on these trips. Hopefully you’ll see the photos here on the blog as well.

Do you have any travel plans? A trip to the beach counts, as not all of us can or want to travel far.