Why I chose to go somewhere colder than Maine in February!
So … LAPLAND! It took us a long time to get there, with a few things almost derailing the trip entirely. Here’s the incredible story, and when you “CLICK HERE”, you’ll be taken to my IG posts–remember to scroll through the photos in each post; all but one or two have multiple photos. And yes, the Northern Lights were involved!
So … sit back with your favorite relaxing beverage and enjoy the ride!
“Here I am [in Helsinki], photo taken just a few moments ago. We’ve been traveling for a solid 25 hours, and awake for a lot longer than that. I can NOT sleep on airplanes to save my life, so I’m about to CRASH now, at our second layover [1st layover was 5 hours in Amsterdam; in IG, click back arrow for previous post].” CLICK HERE
“Third and final layover [in Kuusamo] until we reach our destination TOMORROW!” ❄️AND I FOUND SNOW!❄️ CLICK HERE
“Our accommodation at our final destination–Basecamp Oulanka …” ❄️I’M IN FREAKING HEAVEN❄️ CLICK HERE
“Our snowshoe today was GLORIOUS! I’ll just let the photos do the talking here, because I don’t even know what else to say.” CLICK HERE
“We were out in the pitch dark, on a frozen lake in the ARCTIC CIRCLE, 8 miles from the Russian border, in silence that was magical, powerful, under the Aurora Borealis. The entire experience was extraordinary, mind blowing, transcendent …” CLICK HERE
“My first time [XC skiing] was in Austria, in 1980-something, with my ultra-ultra-competitive German cousin, who was supposed to teach me how. But as soon as he got me into the tracks, he took off. At full speed. After a bit of a wobbly start, I eventually got into a rhythm, put my head down and just went as fast as I could, to try to catch up.
One of the many (every!) things he didn’t teach me was how to step off the trail when people came up behind me and made a noise. After getting sworn at a few times, I figured it out. But each time, I fell. And he also hadn’t taught me how to get back up after falling—there’s definitely a certain finesse you need on xc skis, so each time I fell, I took off my skis, stood myself up, somehow got my skis back on, checked to make sure no one was barreling down on me, then gingerly started up again.
I was sweating, sore from falling, embarrassed, and I was PISSED. 😡 But I couldn’t turn back, because we had taken a few turns, and I had no idea where I was.
The next morning, I discovered that that experience was the gift that would keep on giving all week—my legs were so sore, I had to walk down stairs backwards.” CLICK HERE
“When Ava and I were considering this trip, the xc ski day almost derailed it. … After we had some fun [skiing] on the lake, Martti [our guide] brought us to a pretty big hill. Obviously, I didn’t want to do it, but, what the hell? 🤷♀️ So I fell, then he made me do it again—and I fell again. He told me I need to work on my mindset.” CLICK HERE
The most hilarious and dramatic xc ski “fall recovery” I’ve seen. Martti taught us this, and here’s a video of me demonstrating it for you! CLICK HERE
Have you ever heard of a quinzee? Neither had I. Would you spend the night in this? Check it out … CLICK HERE
“Today, we visited Riisitunturi Kansallispuisto National Park, and as we got closer to the summit, the windchill got colder—it was that icy, slice-off-your-face-skin kind of windchill. 🥶 My fellow Mainers know this feeling very well. But as always—the right gear made it a MAGICAL experience.” CLICK HERE
“When I tried to roll over at one point, my back spasmed, and I got twisted in my sack liner. As I tried to untangle myself, I lost one mitten. So I just laid still, hoping the spasm would go away, hugging my bare hand, with my liner over my entire head and face, because the cold air was freezing my throat.” CLICK HERE
“I can’t remember the last time I was this terrified about trying something new. 🥺 When I read in the trip notes that we would be dog sledding with a guide, I understood that to mean that Ava and I would be sitting in the sled, and the guide would be driving the dogs … nope. We drove our own dogs BEHIND our guide and his team, who led us through the forest—for one hour!” CLICK HERE
Kota-Husky is a perfect example of why I will only work with certain travel vendors—these vendors walk the talk of stewardship and regenerative travel. They work with local organizations, who believe in protecting children, animals, and the environment, and who promote gender equality. And the money spent on these excursions goes directly into the hands of the locals. CLICK HERE
“Are Santa’s reindeer actually female? I now have your definitive answer.” CLICK HERE
“Going on a public trip, where random people sign up—that could result in mayhem, right? But if you think about it—what kind of person would want to do all that I shared with you, in sub-zero temps, in the middle of nowhere? So yeah—we were all definitely up for adventure, and we had a BLAST together! (All guests, except Ava and I, were from the UK. 😊)” CLICK HERE