When did you have your last first time? I did today, when I crossed river Tornio and finished the Polar stroll across Finland. During this adventure I had a lot of first times - I went on a multi-day ski-trip for the first time, dragged a sledge for the first time, slept in a tent in -25 degrees for the first time, saw wild reindeers for the first time, tested the saying “go on even when your nose is bleeding” on my own nose for the first time, fried a fresh perch on a fire for the first time, lived in a forest alone for the first time, and all of it was just mind-blowing and I enjoyed it with every cell in my body.
At first I planned to cross Finland together with Martins and to do it in 10 days every day walking/skiing approx. 25 kilometers. As you already know, that plan went down in flames. Now I’m really happy about getting to Finnish/Swedish border in 22 days, so 12 days off the schedule. During this trip I have gathered a hand-full of unique experiences which I will use in the next Bored of Borders adventures. For now, this adventure is over, but I’m not ending it with a period, instead I’m putting an ellipsis, because I will definitely return to the Polar Circle and follow it to the Norwegian Sea.
I guess you are wondering why I’m stopping now, if I feel so good and have finally adapted for the conditions I have to face. The answer is brutally simple - I feel that I can’t get to the Norwegian Sea in 13 days, which is the time left for this adventure, because on April 15th I have to be home. The only way to make it to the sea is by using the highways and strongly deviating from the Polar Circle, which basically means dropping the initial idea of this project. That’s not right and I don’t want to do that. Also I feel that crossing the Finnish/Swedish border is kind of a logical end point for one leg of this adventure and a good starting point for the next one. Today I am enjoying the hospitality of fellow Latvians, who are living in Jouksengi right on the Polar Circle.
To be honest, I have to admit that I have been overly optimistic about this adventure both planning the time required for the crossing and evaluating my capabilities to ski and drag the sledge in off-road conditions. To paraphrase Bart Simpson “I know! I know why I did it, I know why I enjoyed it, and I know why I'll do it again!”
Big thanks goes out to my supporters - Lūzumpunkts, Ceļotājs, Vanagkalns, Radisson Blu Elizabete, Stokker, Fiskars, map publishing house Jāņa Sēta and maketi.lv.
Thanks to Martins Gulbis for the great company, Miks and Liene for keeping the communication channels open.
And of course thanks to all of you for following this adventure and stay tuned, because Bored of Borders is a life long adventure!
Karlis (66° 33.45N, 023° 49.80E)