At the farm: a good start and a reality check

Sometimes life in the countryside is not as happy as when a newborn calf is there waiting for you in the box with its mommy.

Last Sunday was a great day, I went along to bring bales to a customer and on the way back I was in the back of the open trailer. It was great, looking around at all the countryside still snowy but on a sunny and warm day. I counted 11 butterflies of at least 4 different species, the first bumblebee of the season literally bumped into me, a gentle breeze on my face and the land and woodlands with the wet crisp smell of Spring flowing around me. I felt, and I am sure I did look like a toddler happy for something.

ImageThen I got the chance to ride a horse. A very good friend and rider was around and she volunteered to supervise me so SK allowed me to ride Lurtti. Lurtti is the sweetest and calmest of the horses I have ever met. It is also heavily pregnant, a thing that make it even less dangerous. Lurtti was not very happy we decided to take her for a spin, but it complied and did everything I was asking her despite I am confident in saying I had no clues of what to do precisely. It reminded me of how good I was when I went to a month of Argentinian tango lessons, and well you don’t know me personally but I can assure you it wasn’t strictly come dancing if you get what I mean.

ImageIn addition, the evening was so nice that I had the chance to go and get some photos by the lake before going for the traditional pike dinner as AK’s father fished a 3.5kg one for the first time this year.

The countryside can be heaven on hearth but as I was saying in the start is not always roses, spectacular sunrises and magnificent sunsets. Today it was raining here in Orimattila, pretty much the all day. Few hours ago when I went to get the horses for the overnight stay at the bed and breakfast, the intern looked at me and while I was telling her to take Kake while I was taking Luikku in she said: “yes I will take him, he is going tomorrow“. A heavy sadness came upon me. You cannot know this but what she meant is that Kake will be put down tomorrow. I knew it had a bad foot for some days and that SK was pondering on when to send him away so it should not have got me by surprise but it did.

I know Kake is not a human being and being a farm animal is even more subject to the hard law of usefulness so to say, yet it hurts a little.Image I will write soon about the reality of leaving and working in a farm as my time here is coming to an end, but for now I just wanted to mention Kake and do it with his full real name Kraftkeiser, a great horse, a good animal and despite not being the easiest of the horses I care for, a very good and lovely friend. Apples, carrots and stale bread are on their way as special dessert for my favourite of the horses.


as elegant as usual also when muddy as some SPA customers

Spring clearly reached Finland

Today it is the second day of a brown and green landscape more than white and glittery. It goes so fast, one day you look around and think that spring is not on sight and the next one <boom> winter is gone and the ground is dark, muddy and you can only distantly remember the white coat that was there till few hours before.

I did not have a lot of time in the last few days to go out and take pictures due to the farm work, weather (yes it was quite greyish and raining) Imageand dinners with friends. So I will leave you with some photos that I believe briefly hint to the end of winter here in the Finnish countryside.

I cannot convey to you the increase number of birds singing, the ducks arrived at first around ten days ago, the wild swans couple that I hope I will be able to take a picture of before I leave, the cranes and all the plethora of little and coloured ones that are swooping around and greet the day that are getting longer and longer. ImageHowever, here is a spot in front of the house that I shoot a couple of days ago in the night and where yesterday I caught the cat in action catching its prey, a mouse, just under the same tree. You can see for yourself the difference.

I have to stop here as I have to go to the barn, I am actually late already, so greetings for now and happy spring to everybody.

Enjoy your achievements

It is nervous breaking to wait for news from my bank in Italy that is supposed to sort out my trivial, yet major, problem with the credit card limit. I keep looking at the positive sides and think that it is just a small bump and I should not stress about it as bumps will come and I should embrace them with calm and serenity. Unfortunately I have been known among some of my friends as the worrier more than the warrior so shaking the old cape for the new placid and smoothly following the current one is a bit of a challenge.

I am committed to this and I am doing it, I am still struggling to find my style and my edge in reporting on my experiences to you. I embarked in this blog of chronicles as a personal project, but I also hope that it will help me in reach and inspire people to let go and follow their dreams in their ways and schedule for small that they can be. There is no dream small enough to be call that, every dream is a world of its own and should be looked after and visited as much as possible.


My mind is full of ideas and projects I would love to take forward, a vortex of not properly planned things and seeds of which I get glimpses while they peek out from the eye of the cyclone. It is still quite hard to concentrate on one of them, to explore it more properly, to select and weed out the ones that are just too difficult to achieve or not relevant. I guess I should give myself some time and figure out my pace and stronger interests while I am on my path. And I hope you will be patient and supportive with me.

In the last period lots of interesting things have happened to me, challenging myself as a stock photographer in Cape Town under the scrutiny of the world most selling stock photography company, interviewing fashion designers in both Finland and South Africa, working as event photographer at burlesque shows, working in the farm from where I am still writing all this, having a big NY burlesque site asking me to run a photo gallery and article about the Helsinki burlesque festival (HBF), and others to count. Interestingly enough are all things that a few months back I would have never thought would have happened. It is easy to forget how much I achieved and done in the past few months, I do one thing  and archive it switching immediately to the next problem not cherishing the results obtained. The “problem solved, focus on next one” mind frame coming from my PhD upbringing need to be re-trained to learn how to take pleasure and enjoy the fulfilment of completion.

Did you ever feel the same? Try to think about it, when was last time you took the time to look back and took the pleasure in a task you completed?

So I am leaving you with a mission if I may, take few minutes and focus on the last small or not so small achievement you overtook, dust it from the shelf of “done that forget about it” and embrace the pleasing sense of accomplishment. I am sure it will give you an energy boost. I have just finished painting two massive doors for the new horse riding hall and despite my lungs are obliterated with the fumes of the paint I feel pleased with myself.

If you do take the time to do it let me know how it went, sharing your achievements is even better.

Stuck in the mud

When I wrote about the 5 reasons that kept me from committing to the final step of phase 2 of my Round the World Trip (RWT) I shook off my inertia. So in the past few days I have been planning, unplanning and replanning to get going. I finally came up with something and booked my flights. I was quite surprise with the result.

I decided for flying to Milan from Helsinki to take care of a couple of things there. Then from Rome to NY on the 20th of May and from LA to Osaka on the 19th of August. I used an internet site that a fellow Bootcamper suggested me in Cape Town, Cheapoair. It has a great advantage, it allows multicities option and that means that it is not required to have a round-trip that go back to the starting point. I checked everything, I went through the booking and without even realizing this, I came to the confirmation page. I started shaking having suddenly realized that I actually got through it and I was in.

The euphoria and nervousness came to an end 10 minutes later when I received a sms from my credit-card company that notified me of a “transaction rejection”.I was in the barn and I cursed profusely in front of the cows. No I am not proud of it. It came to my mind that this is probably the third out of five times that I have used this credit-card and I did not get a positive result. It is a good thing in the end, I am probably back at square one with the booking but at least I know that probably I should get a new credit-card before I hit the world.

Now you will think that the title is a reference to this matter but actually on a quirky side, it doesn’t refer to it fully. I actually meant to write about the fact that today I got asked to drive up the hill and bring a bale back to the barn. I drove the tractor once before since I arrived at the farm and I managed that fine, so I said yes and hopped on. Unfortunately little I knew that in a few minutes I would have found myself stuck in the mud with no mobile on me. Luckily enough the neighbouring house owner lent me a spade and I got the tractor out from the mud, twice! Yes, because I am quite stubborn I tried again to get the bale out from a different angle.

In the end after nearly 45 minutes I got back to the barn bale-less and feeling quite defeated. AK laughed at my poor face and explained me that he forgot to mention that in case of troubles there was an extra lever to activate the 4wheels drive. I have no idea if any of you have ever saw the inside of one of these new tractors, there are more levers and buttons than in an arcade room, obviously it did not even cross my mind to look at them. Oh well, everything went well in the end, I managed to come back and AK told me, once back, that it was quite a difficult drive for an inexperienced tractor-driver.

How to Travel Around the World for $418

How to Travel Around the World for $418.

I am reposting this article I have just stumbled upon looking for the best credit-card to have with me because it is rich in information and tips. Moreover, I know that I am not the type to go for the credit-card points or reward systems as up till now I thought learning how to use them properly was not worth the time invested in the process. Now that I am jobless I obviously would have probably benefited of such knowledge, yet I am still quite skeptical about this subject.

Anyway, in case you are into travel hacking or interested in it, this post can be a very good start. I also wish for you to let me know how do you feel about this sort of rewarding systems and if you have any tips on this matter or if you have any good stories about using them.

Thanks a lot to Steve Kamb that actually shared this info with all of us.

Morning Surprises

It will be a very short update, spring is coming and the work start to pick up here at the farm so I have always something new to do and that comes with tiredness and little time to properly blog attached to it. However, when you get up and first thing in the morning you get to the barn and find out that there is a stray cow parked in the middle of it, you know that you are in for an interesting day from the start. It was nice that AK was around to save the morning, I really didn’t know from where to start otherwise!

5 problems that keep you from leaving for a Round the World Trip


It is approximately 2 months now that I have committed to a year of Interactive Travelling around the world. I am still as excited as day one and I am trying to plan the first part of it. I wanted it to be as unplanned as possible. I knew this choice was romantic more than realistic, but I am now completely aware that it is just a mythical goal and the path to it is paved of procrastination, sleepless nights and commiseration. As a result, enough with this romanticism and let’s make my walk on that path so far, a positive part of my journey.

Being a scientist I am good at analysing and deconstructing problems to more manageable ones, so why not start doing precisely that? Well, here lay the mind trick, is easy to say but difficult to do when you keep stressing about the results and details.  I already started my adventure by relocating in a farm and working here but I will consider myself on the road only when I will have broke free from Finland. Realizing today that despite all the pointless details I was stressing about I fully overlooked the need for visas for some countries I want to visit, tipped the balance on my favour. So here my list of problems that I feel kept me from committing to my final step so far.

1) Say goodbye to friends and the old style

You have probably like me dreamt and waited for something like this a long time, you finally leave your job, box your stuff and notify friends and family of your plan. But after that the time start to slow down in your mind and only every now and then you realize that it has actually flew by and not slowed down at all. In my case I put this down mainly to the fact that I am quite unease to say bye to my friends. I have great people around me and despite I am use to move from country to country I am the ultimate sentimental when it comes down to friendship. The only thing I can say about this is to embrace the fact that it is not a goodbye, you will be seeing them again, no matter where or for how long, the good ones will stick around and your relationship will just evolve in a different direction; but that is how things go in life anyway.

For the old life style, well yes I already kind of kissed goodbye to that with no regrets but some of the old me is still trying to resurface at times and the only thing is to keep looking forward and probably start to speak to myself into the mirror repeating “Mirror mirror on the wall…” oh no wait this is the wrong quote, but you get what I am aiming at. I will start from tonight, let me know if you get any results yourself in case you try.

2) Reading blogs to plan carefully and find the answers to all your questions

Now, this can sound contentious but actually it is true. Because I found out that there are many people that have experienced a similar journey and they wrote about it, I convinced myself that all their knowledge would have provided me with all the answers I need. I am actually sure that would be the case, there are very good ones around and I got some great tips but I also spent hours if not days on checking them, studying them and ping-pong myself from one link to the other. All good stuff, and I am happy I did it and I will keep doing it but first and foremost this is a PERSONAL journey and I have to find my way not patch together other people ones.

So stop reading to plan, just plan your own things and read others’ stories to enjoy, be inspired and share. But just in case, Rob from Stop having a boring life (SHABL) has a very good list of travel blogs that you can see here if you want a taste of them.

3) Bureaucracy

There has to be a reason if my brain ignored the visas issue so successfully. I like bureaucracy as the next person and I am trying to avoid it and postpone it as long as I can. This is the wrong approach. I luckily never got in trouble and I am trying to straight things up, but a healthy relationship with bureaucracy is critical, especially when you will have to deal with it on foreign and unknown soil.

Prepare yourself, take copies and PDFs of all the documents you need and send them to you by email for online access to it as well, just in case your hard-drive will give the ghost on you when you most need it (and we all know they have the tendencies to do that sort of thing). By the way, Jodi at Legal Nomad has a very good resources page from which I quote here about the visa issue so I suggest you to go down there and have a look for more info.

For American Citizens, entry requirements are here; for Canadian Citizens, entry requirements are here. IATA’s global visa database is also a great resource for anyone – plug in the country you’re from, your resident country and where you are headed.

I am not an American citizen, but go figure you probably are.

4) Looking for the needle in the haystack

I found myself researching the most trivial things. I am postponing the open travelling because I am not sure which portable hard-drive is the best, which online backup service to use or which kind of bag to buy for a year long travelling in unknown conditions…really?! I mean come on stop fidgeting START booking flights! That’s what I would suggest to anybody telling me something like this so I will take the lead myself and drop now all this researching. If a bag is no good I am sure I will find a better one if needed in a new place.

By the way, do you have any practical advice on any of the above issues? I can do with some help.

5) What about the end?

We all have jobs, we are all experiencing the economical crisis, we are all preoccupied for the future. Well I am, and there is a part of me that keep screaming that I am crazy and that a year of travelling will be a black hole in my CV. I will not find a job. I will find myself having thrown away years of studying and a safe future.  Mmm, not sure about the last point, safe future in Postoc-land is an euphemism.

The point is, if you have the opportunities and you find yourself in a situation in which a crazy but dreamt about experience is at reach, reach for it. Will I regret the choice? I don’t know. Will I regret having splashed around money instead that having focused on ways to keep them? I don’t know. Will I think forever that with my knowledge I should have found better ways to change my life? I don’t know. The list of I don’t know may well go on endlessly, and I think there is no solution to this circle of thoughts. What I know is that sitting here and procrastinating is not helping in anyway, so better go on with the plan and invest in things I will certainly enjoy and myself.

I don’t believe in future telling glass orbs nor I actually believe in the power of the 8 ball answers, despite I would trust the latter more.  Thus the way out is a no-brainer, stop stressing about what will be because you will know it only when you get there so you better sit and enjoy the ride and scenery as long as you can. At least you will know you are the one who sat on the driver sit of your life and this thought is soothing and empowering me.

I will end with a quote from Maria Robertson that I think sums it all up:

‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.’