Narnia! (without the witch and other scary beings)
Finnish Wilderness Week exceeded our (my daughter’s and my) expectations! Our incredible guide, Martti, established an amazing group culture, taught us a ton, and kept us safe all week. There were many different ability levels in our group, and Martti made sure each person was challenged, engaged and having fun. Our 1st-class accommodation, Basecamp Oulanka, and it’s attentive staff, definitely exuded a vibe—totally chill. Every meal was comfort food (Finnish style), delicious and plentiful, with all dinners and desserts made from-scratch. And of course, there was a sauna! We snowshoed through snow-covered fir trees, we skied on a frozen lake, and we drank hot tea from a thermos at the summit of a mountain, overlooking a lake. Everywhere was so silent! When we visited the dog-sledding and reindeer farms, we experienced first-hand how the owners of each organization “walk the talk”, and are true stewards of their animals. I, personally, overcame a huge fear of mine, when I was coached, entrusted and encouraged to drive a team of dogs! Another personal challenge I met, as a claustrophobe, was squeezing through the opening of the quinzee we built, then committing to spending the night in it. And when we turned off our headlamps to call it a night—lo and behold, the Northern Lights began to shimmer! But my favorite and most memorable travel adventures are the ones where I end each day sitting around a table with new-found friends, eating and drinking together, and sharing stories—this week had that in spades! This adventure is another Exodus home run—challenges, comfort, fraternity.