1. Ladders on all of the homes, coming out of every window but only going halfway to the ground. These are fire escapes. The ladders going to the roof are for winter when maintenance people need to get up there to clear the snow off!
2. Amazing berries. Cherries are extra good here, but they also have a lot of blueberry flavored items, juice/yogurt/ice cream that are exciting because I don’t see enough done with that fruit in the States.
3. Books are really expensive. Not sure why.
4. Much bigger markets than Norway and Denmark. Lots of different milk options and spices. Yay!
5. ALL families have a trampoline in the yard for kids. No understatement here.
6. Reindeer and bear 🐻 meat is sold for consumption.
7. Most people here speak about 4 languages. They learn Finnish, Swedish, and English, and can choose and elective language usually German, French or Russian.
8. Finland apparently has the more lakes than any other country (188,000) and I have yet to see one.
9. Not much cereal to choose from, but the ones they do have are really good! I’ve already found many favorites-
10. Lots of dog walking. More than I’ve ever noticed anywhere else in the world. Not many have a yard, but everyone has dogs. Mix breeding isn’t allowed in Finland, but one can go to any of the neighboring countries and bring one back!
11. The wild animals here in Helsinki include gigantic hares and hedgehogs. Up North there are reindeer and bears.
1. Clean clean streets, even huge city sidewalks are practically pristine. We saw uniformed men walking around in the early A.M. with long chopsticks picking up small pieces of trash.
2. People walking dogs carry plastic baggies to pick up the waste, but they ALSO bring along a spray bottle to wash the pee off the sidewalk when that occurs! How thoughtful!
3. Food is good. Anywhere and everywhere. The quality of things in general is quite high, so much so that restaurants do not allow customers to have “left overs”. They do not want anyone to get food poisoning.
4. Going to the bathroom is almost a luxury experience — heated seats and sounds of waterfalls cascading while you do your business! Lots of buttons and different water fountains can be activated from the arm rest.
5. In most food places the drinks and condiments are doled out by employees, no self serve option there! And no taking extra sauce packets!
6. People here mind there own business- on the trains and in the streets! Not even a drunk businessman will hassle you for any reason.
7. There is sales tax (unless you are in tourist type duty free shops)!
8. Everything can be cute-ified. Food art is taken to a whole new level here, whether in a themed cafe or convenience store you can find some clever designs. Even the police department has its own mascot (a cartoon elephant)!
9. The women in Japan dress modestly, which comes off as more feminine and classy.
10. There are suicides happening.. it was evident by the many late night train delays aka “Passenger injury” aka people jumping onto the tracks… so this is an issue. Signs along the way offer encouragement and a help line if one is feeling too “stressed out”.
11. It is possible to find just about anything. High end - low end. Things are made to be collected. Things are made in excess. Packaging is just as important as the contents within-
12. Napkins and toilet paper seem to be of a different quality. I’m not sure if it has to do with being better for the environment but neither seem very absorbent and it ends up taking 3x more napkins to clean a mess.
13. Personal hygiene and appearance is important here. You never see someone walking around in pajamas… even if it is 2am in a 7/11!
14. Engrish. Everywhere!
15. Fruit is perfect. No blemishes. Large. Expensive.
While we still do not know exactly how long we will be away we did plan for a minimum of a year and a route that would lead across the world at the most opportune times (no winter seasons… etc). This being said, I’ve always tried to travel light. On my last trip to Europe (3 weeks, 4 countries) I brought along clothes that I was not very attached to, but would also mix and match well with everything else. After 2-3 wears I would toss the item, thus lightening the load and giving me room for a few souvenirs. I did have a good leather jacket and my favorite pair of jeans which would be staple pieces. I kept this same strategy for packing my RTW backpack, which is actually smaller than the duffle bag I used on my previous trip. Challenge accepted.
Underwear x2 + [travel x4]
L/S Wool Top
Tank Top x2
Crop top (Black & White)
Camisole (Black & White)
I am actually amazed at what has fit inside my Osprey Farpoint 40L backpack. I recommend packing cubes… initially held off on them because I figured I could fit more with my own folding methods, but that was a joke! I used one rectangular larger packing cube for the majority of my clothes, and a smaller rectangle for clothes I can squish and roll, like underwear/socks/camis!
1. Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Finland $43 // Laura Mercier Tinter Moisturizer in Nude
Over the years I have been opting for foundations that are lighter in consistency and coverage. I found that I was really just using the product to even out my skin, but I have nice enough skin that I don’t need to put a mask over it. I am still not used to how transparent just using a moisturizer is, so I do layer it a bit till I feel comfortable. I love how my real skin shows through and still looks very natural and dewey.
2. Kat Von D Waterproof Eyeliner in Trooper (Black) $19
Ohhhhhhh the search is over. Gone are the days of dipping a brush into a pot, spreading it out on a tissue, drawing out a line, redrawing a wing, and cleaning up the mess. This little pen is the perfect eyeliner, it has a fine tip for whatever cat-eye you may be feeling that day and you can throw it in your bag to go if you plan on going out later! While this formula says waterproof, I often do not need more than soapy water to get it completely off. I don’t mind that at all—
3. NYX Extra Creamy Lipstick in Paris $4
This is a more fuschia version of my favorite MAC lipstick, Pink Plaid- for a fraction of the cost. The formula is even creamier than most and easy to apply without any base on your lips, and doesn’t dry them out later. The way this product wears throughout the day is quite nice, but eating and drinking will mean reapplication. The cost makes this guilt free 🙂
4. Moisturizer: Lancome Regenerie Lift Multi-Action $117/ Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Broad Spectrum SPF 20 $48
Always good to use: I usually remember to apply before bed but also as another layer of sunscreen on my face. Sometimes the combination with sunscreen makes my foundation a little transparent but I like to call that the youthful look. The Lancome one smells amazing and feels refreshing to wear on its own. I’ve used both of these for years and still love them! I packed two travel size containers for my RTW trip- made the right choice!