Ten years on and I am still blogging, photographing and enjoying the outdoors. A look back at a decade of outdoor blogging.
Ten years ago, at the beginning of April 2009, I opened up my blog at the hikinginfinland.com domain (actually, back then I was still at Blogspot, but that changed soon). Why did I start my blog? Well, I’ll need to start a few years earlier for that story.
In 2008 I hiked with my best friend Martin on the Karhunkierros Trail in Lapland. Back then I was far from hiking ultralight, and both Martin and me hiked with well over 20 kg on our backs this popular trail in Finland. On the the last day, motivated by the thought of a nice warm Sauna at home, cold beers and Pizza, we hiked as fast as possible to reach the early bus from Kuusamo to Oulu. This is where things went wrong: Sitting in our sweaty and smoke-smelling clothes in the bus, a fire alarm went on in the bus toilet – NOT caused by us 😊. The Bus pulled over, and a few minutes later it was burning with meter high flames flickering in the sky. Not only did we miss our connecting train to Tampere, but also lost all our backpacking gear which burned to ash in the luggage compartment of the bus.
I still loved hiking, and so decided to buy with the insurance money new backpacking gear. But I remembered that carrying 20+ kg on my back didn’t add to a pleasurable experience, and so, little by little, I found out that ultralight backpacking was a thing. So why the blog?
Back then the Summit & Valley blog, Chris Townsend and a few others were a huge inspiration for me to start blogging. I enjoyed the accounts of Bristish backpackers going out into the hills and documenting their trips, and as I felt there was no blog documenting the hiking and backpacking possibilities in Finland I registered the Hiking in Finland domain without much thought for a brand name or such. I published trip reports, gear reviews, and even made videos back in 2009 already, though they were quite different from what I produce nowadays. Together with Roger, Joe, Jörgen, Martin and Gustav we founded Nordic Lightpacking and even got together to go backpacking in Vålådalen in 2010.
Things took off for me well and magazines and companies started to ask if I could write and photograph for them. As the financial crisis from 2008 still made my work as an environmental management consultant quite hard, I decided to switch careers and have been working in this content creation, photography and outdoor business since 2011 full-time. Without this blog that wouldn’t have happened, and the amazing readers and friends I made during the last ten years helped me a lot so that I can work on my own with amazing outdoor brands, creating inspiring content from Northern Europe and across the globe. So thank you to the millions of readers who have read my articles over the last decade – it’s because of you that I am able to live this life!
Hiking, Climbing, Skiing
… as well as Packrafting, bikepacking and trailrunning are what I do mostly nowadays. Quickly I realized that limiting myself to only hiking would mean I’d sit six months a year inside, so on came the XC skis in winter, and since four years I also go ski touring in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the Alps. With over 180.000 Lakes in Finland the addition of a packraft was a logical first step, and also bikepacking felt like a good way to explore my surroundings.
I was dabbling for some years in climbing but because of having small kids I never was able to train as much as I wanted, so lately I haven’t been climbing on ice or rocks that much, but with the kids growing fast I hope to get back into that activity at some point. I did pick up trailrunning to stay fit as I can easily go run from the front of my house, and it is an activity which also gives me a good fitness for backpacking. Yes, backpacking, the activity of hiking and camping in nature, is still one of the best things in life. Even better, I am fortunate enough to call this work, mainly because I carry a camera, tripod and notepad with me when I go out, and am able to create compelling stories, photos and videos about my trips. It is something I truly love, because not only do I know that spending time is nature is healthy in many ways, it also inspires people to protect our planet better.
What is next? you might think, and it is a good question. Ten years ago I already started to write and talk about the negative effects of climate change, but society was not ready for it. Now, in 2019, thanks to a 16-year old girl and the movement she has inspired, old politicians finally start to listen up and ponder the future of the human species and the planet (though I feel these old politicians simply will continue business-as-usual). I feel the time is right now for me to again start talking about how we outdoor enthusiasts can do small things which can make this planet better – from picking up other people’s trash which we find on the trail to cycling more, eating healthier and flying less.
As you might have seen on Youtube I enjoy making videos again, and most of my reviews and trips will feature a video. I love the creativity video allows me, both in shooting and editing, and it is something that I feel better communicates what I want to say. Don’t worry, this blog will not go away. I see this blog as my home base, a sustainable and lasting place for the content I create, from the much-loved The Week In Review to trip reports and other content series. As I hate Instagram and equally despise Facebook I will spend less time on these necessary evils, but you will still be able to find me on Twitter and engage with me there. I also plan to give this blog an visual overhaul. The last one is too long ago, and I hope to find the time in 2019 to give this blog the look I wish it had. Don’t worry, it will not look like every other cookie-cutter blog out there but retain it’s quirkiness, although in a slightly less 90s-internet look 😂
Finally, I have to thank you, my readers, for returning for so long to read Hiking in Finland. It always makes me happy when I receive tweets, comments, Emails and messages from people who went to hike somewhere because of my trip reports, bought an item because of my review or decided to make a change because one of my ponderings. It is because of you that I create content, and it means so much to me to hear that it matters to you and that you enjoy it. Thank you for reading and following me ❤️
If you feel like you’d like to support me and say Thanks” my content, the best way to do so is via Patreon. It’s a monthly subscription and you can give as little as $3 per month to enable me to do what I do. As a reward you get to hang out with me on a chat server and can pick my brains on where to go hiking in Finland, what to pack and which shoes to wear, or we can discuss the latest Game of Thrones Episode! In that sense, Happy trails!
All photos in this article are from 2009 and 2010.
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