Nada Elsaid tells us about her experience sea-kayaking in the Finnish wilderness.
Hi Nada. Thanks for speaking with us.
What was it about the sea-kayaking trip in Finland that attracted you?
Well, I liked the idea of the compact trip. It’s really great that you don’t need to take that much time off work to enjoy a great adventure kayaking and wild-camping, in a unique location.
Had you done a similar trip before?
I have done trips with other sites, but I hadn’t managed to find someone who was offering a short-stint trip at such a good price.
Great. So how much time did you have to take off?
I had to take a half day on Friday. I got to Heathrow where I got a flight to Helsinki, where we were greeted at the airport and dropped at the hotel. We had 4 or 5 other people on the trip. We had a really great little group of us. There was a very mixed group. One had a medical background, another one worked for the army. The mix of the people on the trip made it very interesting.
We all got on very well, and it was a very relaxing trip, I have to admit.
And did it feel like you had been away for longer?
Yes, it did actually, it felt like I had been away for 5 or 6 days. It felt a fair bit longer than it was!
I especially liked the kayaks. I was really pleased that the kayaks were of a good quality, and were very easy to manoeuvre.
It’s a soothing feeling, quietly cutting through the flat water.
And what did you make of the landscape in Finland?
Finland is beautiful! I love Finland. The landscape was stunning. I’ve been to Finland once before, and I’m really quite fascinated by it. I was really happy to see a different side of it. It wasn’t the snow or Lapland, you know, what people normally associate with Finland.
It was just beautiful lakes and beautiful water. The landscape we saw wasn’t the usual Finland that you’d normally think of. You expect to go dog-sledding or skiing. But this side of Finland wasn’t really what I was expecting. The islands and the trees and the lakes made it feel like an interesting fusion of Scandinavian and European landscapes.
That’s a fascinating description.
It was especially surprising as it was so close to the city, around 20 minutes. It’s great how you manage to get somewhere so remote, so quickly. The country itself facilitates this outdoor lifestyle so well.
Brilliant. Were there any particular moments during the trip that especially jumped out at you at all?
I loved the trip from beginning to end. But there are just moments when you’re actually kayaking, and it’s so still and quiet.
You tilt your head back as you slowly drifty along, and you just imagine you’re in a different universe.
And at the end of the day, when you’re tired in a good way, and you’re having a cup of tea. You look across the reflections on the water, and you’re just totally absorbed in the moment.
And would you say that everyone else on the trip enjoyed it as much as you?
Yes, and there’s certainly something about enjoying those experiences with others that magnifies the experience. We were all quite relaxed.
It was a good work out complimented by amazing scenery and fantastic hospitality. The guides were so great, as they engaged the traditional side of Finland as well. They told us Finnish folk stories. They always told us bits and pieces about every island that we landed on, so it didn’t feel like an alien place to us.
I think that having a guide is very important to help interpret the place for you. It felt like seeing the place through the eyes of a local, which creates a much more authentic experience.
It felt like an introduction to the real Finland.
So can you remember your difference in mood when you returned?
Well when I left, I felt pretty excited. But at the end, I felt so calm. The week at work was slightly surreal, especially on the Monday morning.
I had been paddling down a stream in Finland 12 hours earlier, and suddenly I was in the office again.
It really helped to ease the pressure off the week. When I told my friends, they were surprised and impressed that I had a fantastic adventure in such a short time. I gave them your details and told them to check out your website.
They had spent their weekends on the sofa!
Fantastic! We look forward to seeing you on another of our trips.
Photo credit: Nada Elsaid