Number of countries I have visited: 34
Number of countries I have lived in: 3 - Finland, USA, Spain
Number of countries I have spent Christmas in: 5 - Finland, USA, Austria, Italy, Sweden
Number of countries I have spent New Years in: 6 - Finland, USA, Estonia, Austria, Italy, Sweden
Number of countries I have spent my birthday in: 4 - Finland, USA, Spain, UK
What do I always travel with: my iPhone + my Canon 7D. Love, love, love taking pictures ♥ always have.
Why did you start traveling?
My parents have always traveled. Together and separately. I can’t even remember my first trip, but it must have been a ski vacation with my parents. I guess it’s just been a way of life in my family. My grandfather took my dad and the entire family to Italy and Spain by car several times in the 50’s. That was a big deal back in the days in Finland. I should post about it someday, since I actually have all their magnificent photos. Just need to get my hands on a scanner.
Why do you travel alone? What are the positives and negatives to traveling alone?
I’ve traveled mostly alone since I was 16 years old. Usually I travel to meet and stay with people I know, but sometimes I’ve sprung on an adventure all by myself too. Also right now, my significant other doesn't want to travel. I'm still working on changing his mind.
Positives for traveling alone:
- I like being able to keep my own schedule, make my own plans and eat and see whatever I like.
- I also like being alone quite a bit.
- Meeting new people, like befriending a strange Mexican dude while traveling alone to Foz de Iguazu. We ended up going on quite the adventure together with our Brazilian guide/driver. 3 countries in one day wasn't a bad deal.
Negatives for traveling alone:
- Traveling with someone helps me feel more safe and takes me on adventures I would not otherwise embark on.
- Traveling alone with a dog was a pain. Especially when stuck at a big airport with 3 pieces of luggage, a cart, a dog crate and about 10 hours to kill. How do you walk your dog without any help? This is where I need to thank the wonderful lady at ORD in Chicago, who made it all possible.
- Being alone.
How has travelling changed your life?
It has changed everything for me. The way I am, the way I look at things, the reason I like the things I do and the languages I’ve learned. Nowadays I also know exactly what I like and where I want to travel. I.e. what I want to spend my money on.
What has been the strangest food you have tried on the road?
I’m not much for strange foods, but I guess I must say eating whale in Iceland. It tasted like fishy horse meat.
Have you ever been scared while traveling?
I felt scared all alone in Athens, Greece late at night. I stayed in a 5-star hotel, but the area wasn’t ideal. Also traveling alone by train at night in Romania was a bit uncertain. Fortunately I spoke Romanian and latched onto a local family and pretended to belong, so I was left alone by crazy people on the train at 2AM. Not one of my best moments, I must say.
Is there a country you always travel back to ?
I’ll always travel back to the US.
Do you have any packing rituals?
I always pre-pack and re-pack several times before flying. Trying to minimize to load to be able to bring back more.
What is the most beautiful beach you have ever seen?
Undoubtedly Cannon Beach in Oregon. It’s not a warm beach per say, but just as I like my beaches. Rugged, beautiful and serene.
What was your first trip abroad?
Must've been a road trip to Kaprun, Austria for summer skiing with my parents when I was 2.5 years old. My dad taught me to ski and this was the trip when I lost one of my skis along with the boot from the chair lift, since they just didn't make them small enough back then. The boot + ski fell off my foot, went down the mountain and when my dad carried me down to the bottom of the hill, some friendly Finns had picked up the the ski and were happy to return it. My dad loves telling this story.
What are the top 5 on your bucket list ?
Hmmmm… I’m so predictable, it’s almost scary. Though I have to admit that these have changed considerably since my teens and my twenties. I've become such an old boring soul. Now I just love quaint towns, familiar cities, mountains, National Parks, lighthouses and coastlines. These are in no specific order...
- New Zealand.
- National Parks in Utah, Wyoming and Montana
- Exploring the Southern United States some more
- I’d love to go back to Maine and from there up to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Maybe even Newfoundland.
- A US road trip coast to coast or perhaps the Route 66.
Is there any place in the world you are not interested in traveling to?
Belgium, for some strange reason. And any place that’s very crowded… I prefer things small and peaceful, so perhaps most of Asia and the Middle East? With the exception of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and perhaps Thailand. Could imagine springing for those given the time, money and a proper travel companion. But feel free to change my mind about anything.
What is the one thing you miss at home when on the road?
My dog Java.
Do you think you will ever settle down and if so, where would you see yourself doing so?
I think I already have. Though I’d like to retire in Southeast Alaska in a little house with a view of the mountains and a daily walk on the beach.
What is your favorite airline and airport?
Favorite airline: Alaska Airlines, but not for their prices. They have great routes and a fabulous mileage plan. My favorite airport must be Seattle-Tacoma - always feels like coming home + love Anthony's Beer Batter Halibut, which makes any trip worth while.
What is your favourite place you've been to and why?
Alaska - need I say more?