BRIGHT.TRAVEL

Inside Finland: Northern Lights & Husky Safari

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Finland has been on my ‘I-really-really-really-would-like-to-visit’ list for many years. In fact, it’s probably been sitting there on The List since I graduated from university seven years ago. So when the folks at Three kindly invited me to visit with them on a colour hunting trip through the snow, I literally clapped my hands and screamed with happiness. The moment I looked out of the window as we flew over the Baltic Sea and saw the most incredible winter sunset I knew the trip was going to be full of inspiring experiences. Read on to discover where I stayed, how I got on guiding a husky safari sled, what it was like to see the Northern Lights for the first time and so much more!finland-lapland-holiday-2finland-lapland-holiday-3During the four day trip I stayed at Torassieppi Reindeer Farm and it felt like living in a fairytale. Log cabins with snow-capped roofs and wood burners inside sat nestled amongst the trees in the forest, while hanging lanterns lined snow covered paths which led down to frozen lakes. Reindeer roamed through the trees and candles flickered from the windows of each cabin. Yes, it was as ridiculously charming as it sounds! It was everything I imagined a trip to Northern Finland to be and more.finland-lapland-holiday-4finland-lapland-holiday-5finland-lapland-holiday-6It was fascinating to learn about the Finnish approach to livestock while on the trip. Although reindeers roam feely, none are truly wild as they are all part of herds that belong to locals. Also, they aren’t bred only for food or their skins. Rather they let the animals live full lives and once they pass away naturally they use all parts of the animal for different things. Their antlers are used to make knife handles and drinking cups; their skins for rugs in the home; and their meat for food.finland-lapland-holiday-7You see this teepee? It’s actually sheltering a hole in the ice of this frozen lake, and is there for sauna users to jump into after rolling in the snow. Sidenote – It’s Finnish tradition to do so naked – very exhilarating and great for circulation but also incredibly #cold!finland-lapland-holiday-8On the first day I went ice fishing. Although I didn’t manage to catch any fish (apparently only two fish have been caught in this lake all winter!), I did manage to look about twelve in my snow suit and hat. Drilling the hole in the lake by hand proved to be a great workout, too!finland-lapland-holiday-9Aside from seeing the Northern Lights for the first time (more on that further down!), I think the Husky safari was the highlight of my trip. I set off guiding the sled with one passenger sat at the front. The moment we set off we headed down a really steep corner and the huskies were so excited to finally be free to run. Let’s just say we went really, really fast and I loved every second. I loved feeling the wind rushing through my hair and the winter sunlight flickering over my face as we practically flew through forest after forest – it was so invigorating! The dogs are happiest when it’s under minus thirty degrees and are born and die outside, so they love the exercise and adventure. Oh, and getting to pet the dogs at the end was like icing on the cake of what had been a feast of an adventure already!finland-lapland-holiday-10finland-lapland-holiday-11finland-lapland-holiday-12After the Husky safari I was keen to extend the euphoria of trying something new, so I headed out cross country skiing for the first time. Setting off from the edge of one forest, I had to navigate a small slope down to the frozen lake. Yes, I fell straight on my bum! With much hilarity and struggling I eventually managed to make it back to the vertical position and found my rhythm as I crossed the lake. Soon I had found my stride and explored countless deserted forests on my skis. I loved the workout going up hills knowing the reward of rushing through the hilly forests at speed awaited when I skied down the other side.finland-lapland-holiday-13People often ask me how I manage to share my #mrbazaartravels content on Bright.Bazaar’s Instagram feed while I am on-the-go travelling. The reason is because I have a Three sim card that has a Feel At Home function, meaning I can use my phone and data at the same cost as if I were in the UK. Goodbye roaming fees and Hello to uploading many Instagrams as I like! While in Finland I used my usual Three sim card and it meant I could share my colourful finds and adventures in real time as I captured them on the iPhone 6. Then, back in the cabin, their mobile broadband meant I could keep on top of my emails and other work while travelling, even in a location as remote as this forest in Northern Finland. Incredible, right?!finland-lapland-holiday-14One of my favourite things about visiting this region was the light. I had expected Northern Finland to feel a lot darker than it did. The first day was very cloudy and grey, but the following three days offered clear blue skies and brilliant winter sunshine. The best bit was that the sun never rose very high in the sky, so it meant there was a low, rich and golden hour light all day. This meant constant picture taking and I didn’t mind one bit!finland-lapland-holiday-15finland-lapland-holiday-16Where do I start with describing what it was like to see the Northern Lights in person for the first time? When I write that it was like an out of body experience, I’m not exaggerating. When the lights really “kick off” and start to sink and dance across the sky, they look so perfect – just like the pictures on Google or in the pages of National Geographic – that it feels as though you are in a movie or seeing something fake. I promise they are as incredible as I am describing! I was standing on a frozen lake in Northern Finalnd for an hour and a half watching the auroras build (above picture), when suddenly the whole night sky lit up. It was as if someone flicked a switch and suddenly the colourful lights shined so brightly as they danced majestically around the stars and across the inky night sky (below picture). This really was a colour hunting moment for the books and a total bucket list moment!finland-lapland-holiday-17finland-lapland-holiday-18Skidooing (or snowmobiling) through the dramatic landscape of Northern Finland was an other incredible adventure of the trip. From driving at seventy miles per hour across the frozen lakes, to navigating up and down steep mountain sides the whole experience was an adrenaline rush from start to finish!finland-lapland-holiday-19finland-lapland-holiday-20As we drove our Skidoos through the snowy forests I kept stopping to capture the beautiful natural textures and colours of the trees. The way the golden light danced across the frozen branches and pine needles made everything appear as though it was sparkling and twinkling.finland-lapland-holiday-21finland-lapland-holiday-22Standing on top of a mountain that was 200km inside the Arctic Circle was breathtaking. You could just see frozen lakes and forests as far as the eye could see. It was so remote and so peaceful – I loved it.finland-lapland-holiday-23Remember how I said the light in Lapland was incredible? Yeah, I wasn’t joking! Wow. Have you ever been to Finnish Lapland? What inspires you about my pictures from this beautiful corner of the world?finland-lapland-holiday-24

// Photography by Will Taylor | Three UK sponsored for my trip to Finland but all views are my own.

49 Comments

  • Reply Niamh March 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Such a gorgeous post will and beautiful photographs. Takes me right back!

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      @Niamh – It was so great to meet you on the trip. Thanks for the kind words! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Susan March 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Beautiful pictures, Will. What an adventure you had! Thanks for sharing it all with us in so much detail. x

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      @Susan – Thanks! Yes, it was an amazing adventure from the start to the finish, and a total pleasure to blog about it, too! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jules March 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    So.much.beauty! Amazing blog post!!

  • Reply Minna - Carefree Casualness March 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Oh woow, seems like you had a pretty amazing time here, nice! I’m from Finland, living here right now and i’ve been traveling in Finnish Lapland a lot lately, you can check out the posts from my blog if interested, but never seen northern lights like these! I’ve seen only the small ones, bad timing i guess.. One thing i love in Finnish Lapland is the quiet and peaceful athmosphere and the amazing nature of course, you have captured it nicely like it really is. You should visit here in late summer too so you can see the other side Finnish Lapland.

    Yeyy, so happy to read this post, greetings!

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      @Minna – Thanks so much for stopping by and I will check out your posts as well! Yes, we didn’t see any of the lights on the first night (it was too cloudy!) but on the second and third nights they put on a great show for us. According to the locals it was the strongest the Lights have been for some time, so we were quite lucky to see them! Enjoy your beautiful country! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Minna - Carefree Casualness March 2, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Oh you were so lucky! Most of my posts are written Fnnish but the photos are even more important in my opinion. And thank you, i definitely will because I’m going to Lapland on next month to enjoy some snow fun for the last time on this spring! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      @Minna – They are beautiful pictures! Fingers crossed you will get to see the lights on your next trip! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Hey Rita March 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Wow! What an amazing trip, I would LOVE to do this one day. Maybe next winter, as I can’t stand any more cold right now, so fed up! Roll on Spring.

    Rita
    http://heyrita.co.uk

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      @Rita – It was cold but totally worth it to experience all that beauty! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Minna - Carefree Casualness March 2, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you Will, i really hope so too!

  • Reply The Kentucky Gent March 2, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Looks like such an amazing trip! You have bigger … than I for rolling in snow naked, then hoping in the hole in the ice – just saying. BUT I also will say, that when in Finland, do as the Finnish do? I’d probably do it for the sake of saying I had done it, but the thought of how cold that must of been.. take my breath away at the moment.

    Best,
    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      @TKG – Hahaha, you crack me up! Let’s just say that it’s A LOT colder than Kentucky! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply becky hutner March 2, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Stunning photos! Harkens back to my own Northern Lights adventure in Alaska a few years ago, huskies, reindeer & all! Warms my heart to read about the Finnish approach to reindeer cultivation. I’m a vegetarian but totally ok with fur if the animal is already dead! (& not because someone bashed it over the head).

    http://canadianinlosangeles.com

  • Reply Emily March 2, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    This looks beautfiul, although freezing! Part of me is glad it was you instead of me! But I did want to say what a clever campaign this was. You can’t help but wonder how you could be Instagramming from the edge of the Arctic Circle – great marketing for Three. Love when brands and blogs can collaborate creatively to reinforce the message.

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      @Emily – It really was SO cold but I loved every second of it! And I agree, considered marketing is always so much better than throwaway campaigns etc.

  • Reply Camilla Dugonjic March 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    A couple of things:

    1) You are ridiculously good looking.
    2) This is the coolest post ever! I totally loved following your adventure on instagram. I am so happy for you!
    3) Ordering your book to be shipped to Slovenia this week. I find myself color-hunting these days and thinking of you.

    xx

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      @Camilla – Thank you so much on all three counts. I love having you following along with my adventures and find your blog equally as inspiring. Sending you positive thoughts as you continue your Slovenian journey! x

      • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 2, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        @Lindsey – Unbelievable is the word, Linds! I’d love to see it in the summertime as well. Although I’ve heard that there’s A LOT of mosquitoes! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Lindsey March 2, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Unbelievable trip, Will! I visited Finland in the summer so would love to brave the cold and see in blanketed in white!

  • Reply A Home Cleaners Secret March 2, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Looks absolutely amazing indeed πŸ™‚ Hope to convince the fiance to visit Finland for the honeymoon. Cross Fingers πŸ˜€

  • Reply Lizzie Owen March 3, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Oh my goodness – this is EXACTLY what I want to do with my family – how absolutely AWESOME.

    The Northern Lights, snow, magical touches and the colour – just beyond beautiful. I’ve been watching your adventures from afar with anticipation, as this has been on my list too…

    Thank you x

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 3, 2015 at 9:24 am

      @Lizzie – It’s the perfect trip to do as a family, you would love it! Thank you for following along! x

  • Reply Gudy herder March 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

    No words for the beauty in these images, I can imagine how that felt and your text describes so well all the magic you must have seen and felt. So happy for you, Will! xx

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 3, 2015 at 9:24 am

      @Gudy – Really kind of you to say, thank you! It really was so, so beautiful and peaceful there. x

  • Reply muriel @ Liz and pip March 3, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Some beautiful photos here, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Reply celine navarro March 3, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    awesome photos, awesome experiences, awesome country! LOVE reading/looking at your blog/IG/Twitter! Colors make me happy so YOU make me happy πŸ™‚

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 3, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      @Celine – Well that’s a lovely comment to read, thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Reply The Office stylist March 3, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    What beautiful pictures! I’ve never been there before but have always wanted to visit. Not sure if I can stand the cold though. Haha

    The Office Stylist
    http://www.theofficestylist.com

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 3, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      @TOS – It’s pretty cold but the payoff is all that gorgeous natural beauty!

  • Reply JO March 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Just Wow! Having followed your trip on Instagram it is so lovely to read all the adventures in more detail. The cabin looks so beautiful and I could quite happily chat away to the reindeer for hours on end. My personal wish for a visit to Finland would be to find a Moomin, I know slightly sad but theyu are some of my fave creations in literature and it would be fun to imagine them out there looking for Snuffkin or the Hemulin.
    So glad your trip was a success. Where to next I wonder?
    Jo xxxx

    • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar March 3, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      @Jo – Thanks for following along and for your kind words, Jo! There were some people on the trip equally as in love with Moomins as you are! πŸ™‚

  • Reply susan // fleurishing March 3, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Incredible Will – seeing the Northern Lights is also a bucket list item for me. So beautiful.

  • Reply Diane March 4, 2015 at 1:17 am

    The northern lights and visiting Scandinavia is on my bucket list too so I have been able to enjoy it via your amazing photos. Thanks so much for sharing! It looks as beautiful and magical as I imagined.

  • Reply Emelie March 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Wow Finland looks so beautiful! I’ve never been there even though we are “neighbours”, but I really want to go now when I’ve seen your pics! But I’ve actually seen northen light a couple of times here in the Gothenburg area! Quite small ones but still amazing! Have a wonderful day! xx

  • Reply Allister Freeman March 4, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Just stunning, really beautiful work

  • Reply Libby March 5, 2015 at 3:41 am

    The trees are so beautiful Will !! It is heartening to hear about the reindeer too. And as always your posts bring cheer and happiness. Finland from what I have heard seems to be such a special place. Have a great day!

  • Reply douglas frank August 11, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Deifnetely i will go there!

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