I suppose everybody loves to travel, but the reasons for travelling can differ a lot from person to person. For some it's the excitement of discovering and exploring new places, for some it's the pleasure of lying on a sunny beach under palm trees.
I love travelling for a multitude of reasons, but perhaps the most important reason is to get acquainted with different cultures and experience new ways of living. That's why I've chosen long-term travelling as a lifestyle and my ambition is to live in a new country each year.
So far I've only lived abroad in Italy (for two years in Milan) and currently I'm living in Thailand on Koh Phangan. For me, three months abroad every year seems like a reasonable minimum, but preferably I'd like to stay half of the year abroad and half of the year back home in Finland.
If you have any idea how the Finnish year looks like in terms of seasons, you can easily guess when I prefer to stay abroad. Despite all the great things we have in Finland, the sad truth is that from November to April the weather is cold and slushy (especially along the coastlines, where I live) and worst of all, it's dark as hell.
Being abroad during the winter time is also perfect from our family-owned hotel's perspective (Hotel Villa Maija), which operates during the nice months of Finland. Otherwise all the work and projects I do are location independent. Only a decent Internet connection is required.
In my travel blog I try to post stories about things I've experienced that are in stark contrast to the way we Finns would consider normal or preferable. I'm also an enthusiastic photographer, which means that all my blog posts will be peppered with travel photos.
Summary of Travel Blog Posts
The Finnish winter is long, dark, and cold, so it’s no wonder that many Finns dream of escaping it to a warmer place, even just for a week or two. For over 50 years one the most popular destinations has been the Canary Islands.
Most people have heard about Switzerland's Davos in conjunction with the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, which is held there each year in January. I visited this mountain resort two weeks before the summit when it was still peaceful and quiet. With sunshine and blue skies every day, I completely fell in love with the massive alpine scenes of this tiny town.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital of Malaysia for the first time. I didn't know much about KL beforehand, but I remembered that just before the .com crash all software startups envisioned having an office in KL. It seemed like a cool place.
I made a short video of the Pantip Food Market, which is located in the centre of Thong Sala on the island of Koh Phangan (Thailand). It's a remarkable place and I did my best to capture the mood and atmosphere. Too bad you can't record smells with any device I'm aware of.
Fortunately I got to spend seven, but even so, it was only a scratch on the surface.
All good things must come to an end. It's time to move on and leave Milan behind. Feels a bit sad, but it's always invigorating to turn a new page in life.
Milan Italy, May 2016.
If you’re planning on making a day trip to Lake Como during your Milan visit, you should definitely consider Varenna.
Varenna, Italy, May 2016.
The 55th edition of the Milan Design Week has just ended and finally the city can take a breather. This is Milan’s most action packed week of the entire year. It brings out the best of Milan but obviously there are some downsides as well.
Fuorisalone 2016, Zona Brera, Milano Italia.
My favourite place in Milan is Parco Sempione. There are not that many green spots in Milan, which makes this park all the more important. I go there almost every day for a run or walk.
Milan Italy, March 2016
Number five on my list is the Quadrilatero della Moda, a.k.a. the fashion district. I thought it might be best to describe this place with a short video.
Via Montenapoleone, Milan Italy, February 2016
In Italy cash is king and I mean real physical paper money and metal coins. This is not just my observation – European statistics show that cash is more important only in Romania and Greece.
Pavia Italy, November 2015
Italy is the second most visited country in the world with about 80 million tourists a year. In practice this means that you should avoid popular attractions during the summer high season. Even places that used to be peaceful are now swamped. That’s why Cinque Terre is considering restricting the number of annual visitors.
Cinque Terre, Italy, July 2015
If you want to go out and have a casual evening with friends, Navigli is the place. It’s a district south-west of the city center easily accessible by tram or metro. Navigli is characterized by canals, along which you’ll find a lot of bars and restaurants. It's the most vibrant and diverse area in Milan and the evenings are full of life even on weekdays.
Como is a famous tourist destination in Northern Italy and can be very crowded during the summer high season. That’s why you should go to Como in the winter or early spring. It’s a bit colder, but very beautiful and peaceful. As a bonus you’ll get excellent service everywhere.
Il Duomo ("The Cathedral") is the most famous landmark of Milan and the fifth-largest church in the world. You can’t avoid it if you visit Milan, because it’s in the middle of the city and all main streets radiate from it. The best you can do is climb up to the roof on a sunny day and enjoy the splendor.
As the name implies, we’re talking about a cemetery. A monumental one. Yes, I know it's a bit strange, but this is one of the most beautiful creations I’ve ever seen in my life.
Every now and then I walk around in downtown Milan for some serious window shopping. It’s fun because the things on display are often outrageous both in design and price. It’s also entertaining to look at the people who are genuinely interested in luxury and high fashion – and actually able to buy it. You also get a reminder of how important the luxury and fashion business is for Italy.
Nope, it’s not the castle. It’s the small kiosk in front of the castle! It’s called Chiosco Squadre Calcio (Football Club Kiosk) and they serve fabulous panini sandwiches. All sandwiches are named, surprisingly enough, after famous football clubs like Juve, Barça, ManU etc.
I'm sure you've encountered them as well. You know, people who are compelled to always turn positive things into negative. Take for example the decision by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to donate 99% of their shares in Facebook to the cause of human advancement. It didn't take many hours before the first negative editorials and blog posts emerged. I don't know what has to happen in order for these pessimists to be happy!?