Photo Diary: Cherry Blossoms in Stockholm

Cherry blossoms are usually seen as Japanese thing but suprisingly you can see these beautiful pinkish flowers even in cold northern countries like Sweden. During our day trip to Stockholm a few weeks ago the most important thing we wanted to do was to see the popular cherry blossoms on Kungsträdgården.

Earlier today, I asked my sister if sharing post full of cherry blossom photo would be okay. She said no… Apparently this is boring idea. So, here is post full of only cherry blossom photos I took in Stockholm! I am always been kind of rebel and not so good at listening others’ opinions. I hope you enjoy.

Cherry Blossom Trees in Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

We were scared that there wouldn’t be any cherry blossoms left because it was cold day in Stockholm (and it was even snowing at one point). Luckily for us half of the trees were still blossoming and we got to see these beautiful flowers.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

We weren’t the only one who had came to central Stockholm to see cherry blossoms. Under the trees everyone from families to excited tourists were taking photos and admiring pink flowers.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Here I am looking totally lost and awkward like usually. But hey, we traveled to Stockholm to see these trees so at least I can share one photo of me with them.

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

cherryblossom_in_stockholm

I have to say that seeing a few cherry blossoms in Stockholm made me want to travel back to Japan. Maybe next spring? I love pink and pretty things so seeing even more cherry blossoms would be like a dream. Now I just have to plan this trip, right?

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Have you ever seen cherry blossoms? Or what are your favorite beautiful travel spots? Feel free to comment anything like always.

With these cherry blossom photos from Stockholm it is good to start spring. It is snowing today in Finland but my summer holiday started yesterday. Because I don’t have school anymore before autumn I will have more time to write this blog. So, wait for better post next Wednesday! I will come up with something interesting.

With love,

Viivi Severina

Tips For Solo Female Travelers

Happy International Women’s Day all fellow female travelers!

Traveling as solo female traveler is adventure not any man can even imagine. There is many small things you have to remember if you decide to do adventure as solo female traveler. Not all countries are as safe or as comfortable to go without male company or safe group. It’s kind of annoying that gender can affect our lives so much but this is our society and we have to deal with it.

Women’s Day is often seen as the celebration for independent and strong girls. And that’ why I wanted to share today some tips for all women who want to travel alone. I may not be the best person to give these tips but this text is based on my own experiences and observations.

I hope you will enjoy my tips. And I hope you will keep traveling even if many people seem to think that solo female travelers are just playing with the fire. Let’s show them some girl power, shall we?

1. Trust people but doubt everyone.

female_travelers
Photos from: unsplash

I often hear that as female traveler I shouldn’t believe anyone (especially men). You may follow this advice blindly but I have one I think fits traveling better. Trust everyone but always doubt anything said for you. 

Trusting people has taken me to the most amazing experiences. Getting tour around Tokyo by super nice local girl, going around Helsinki with fellow travel blogger (when my friends thought I would surely get murdered) and maybe the funniest memory: forgetting my umbrella when it was raining and random person offering to walk me back to my hostel so I don’t get wet. If I hadn’t trusted those strangers I would have never ended up to the most memorable situations of my life.

Some people may call me starry-eyed and naive but trusting people doesn’t mean that I am not on my toes in these situations. I trust people but I doubt everyone. And when i say everyone I mean literally everyone because you never know what are the people’s true nature if you have only known them for a short moment.

2. Be ready to lie if needed.

solo_girl_travel

When you travel alone as girl you have to be ready to use all your actor skills. Walking alone at night? Talk to phone like you are having conversation with your beloved badass boyfriend. Too enthusiastic wooer? You are waiting for you best friend and can’t talk right now. Make stories ready before traveling so when you have to do some acting it feels natural to lie.

This may sound funny or stupid but sooner or later as female solo traveler you will feel need to escape some kind of situation. If you want to take this to next level some woman travelers use fake wedding rings to avoid unwanted attention.

3. Girls are confident, strong and cool.

solo_female_travelers

Whatever you were boy or girl acting like local can save you from many problems “normal” tourists have to face. One of the key features I think is important for surviving as solo female traveler is being confident, strong minded and seem cool but kind. The truth is that “bad people” try to find easy targets so you have to make yourself someone who will probably survive anything.

  • So how to act like you belong to this new unknown city you are visiting as solo female traveler? It is easier than it may sound like. (Maybe I should write longer post about this subject?) Walk like you know where you are going.
  • Throw away maps and download them to your phone so you can check them like you were just reading text message.
  • Always listen to music or act like you are listening to music. Put headphones on and listen to your favorite songs. It will calm you down but also make you fit in better. No lost scared tourist would close the world away with music. If you hate music or feel like you want to hear what is happening around you, you can just listen quietness and act like you are listening to music.
  • When in need ask help but continue your way after that like you own the whole city.
  • Practice basic words (thanks, sorry, etc.) and use them while smiling sweetly. If someone asks you something tell them confidently that you are not living here so you can’t help them. Being honest is the best in these situations.

4. Say no! (And yes…)

For me the hardest thing to learn has been how to say no. Believe me you have to learn and use that word a lot. No, I am not bying anything. No, I am not going to that shady looking bar you are trying to track me because they will pay you if I go inside. No, no, no… But between saying no to everyone you have to learn when is the right situation to use yes. That one small word will get you to the most amazing adventures. Don’t be afraid to say yes to other people but more importantly to yourself.

5. Check everything before going.

solo_female_travel

Where is closest police station? From where you can get help if needed? What time sun sets? Is there any areas you should avoid or be careful in? Is there any known scams or other warnings happening in the area? When does the last bus/metro leave and if you miss it what can you do?

You should do some research before going. Not only about the places but also how to survive in bad situations or who to trust when in trouble. Not police can be trusted in all countries and not all places are safe to go alone as female traveler. Even if you will probably survive without checking things before your trip knowing as much as possible will calm your mind and make the travel experience more enjoyable.

6. Trust your instincts.

Female_solo_traveler

At first this may sound funny but I think it is the best safety net one can have. Our instincts are usually the first thing telling us that something is wrong or that we should definitely run from this dangerous situation. If you feel like person isn’t trustworthy or that you are taken to place you don’t want to go just say no.

Even if you don’t realize it your brains keep reading other people and their body language. If someone is acting threateningly or if the situation quickly changes to weird, it is your instincts that make the alarms go off in your head. Sometimes our instinct may be wrong but it is better to be safe than dead in side alley because you didn’t trust your own judgement.

7. Know the risks and dangers.

It may feel uncomfortable and unpleasant to think these thing but before deciding to travel alone you should truthfully tell yourself all the problems you may have to face or risks you are taking. If even after thinking trough all of those you feel like traveling is the only option for you, you are ready.

8. Don’t think too much and just go.

travel_girls

You will often meet skeptic people and probably your own family or friends will try to change your mind about traveling as solo female traveler. Lonely woman who is traveling is often seen as crazy person who is just trying to find the trouble. Our society even now thinks that women can’t travel the world alone like men.

You shouldn’t listen these people. Of course there is some dangers and risks that only female solo travelers have to face but other than that girls are as capable to travel as boys. If world is place where women have to stay in kitchen just so we can live and not get in danger, I don’t know if I even want to be here anymore. Is staying back home and not risking it by traveling life worth of living? Maybe for some people but definitely not for me.

So, I will keep solo traveling as lonely totally risk hazard female and I courage you to do the same. Let’s enjoy our lives and not believe those who don’t believe in us. Happy Women’s Day everyone!

 

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Like always feel free to tell your thought and tips on the comments. Have you any bad or surprisingly good experiences as female traveler? Or if you are man what is your view to this whole “female solo traveler” thing?

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi

 

(Not so helpful) Flight Booking Guide

This Wanderlust Wednesday, I wanted to try something new. So here is post I wrote yesterday (totally not during my political economy class…).

Many people are wondering how to book the flight tickets like traveler. In fact some of my most popular posts that get new comments often are about travelling cheap and adventuring like traveler not tourist. Whatever that “like traveler” means here is my 5 levels of booking tickets. This works for me but please don’t take anything seriously and maybe listen someone more experienced than me. I hope you will enjoy!


5. The art of decising your destination

Deciding where you want to go seems like good way of starting trip planning and flight booking. This is a lie! Be adventurous and leave deciding for those who just want safe boring holiday. Throw dart to world map and go where it points. Or look the flight deals and take cheap one. Where ever you there is amazing adventures coming to your way.

 

plane_tickets
Photos from: unsplash.com

4. Three months before your trip and other tricks

There is as many secret tricks as there is people. Some say that best time to book your flight tickets is three months before your trip. Others swear for the only buy your tickets on Tuesday rule. I have never really thought these. Usually I am too late for that three months mark and who has time to wait for Tuesday when wanderlust is taking over your life!

So is there any tricks I have learned? Making my travel route complicated. Did you know that cheapest round trip flight tickets from Finland to France cost 120€ while from Stockholm to France it costs only 35€ (and it takes 30€ from Finland to Stockholm and back). So you see why I love this ‘trick’? Other one I have learned is collecting airline points.

 

airplane

 

3. Panic, be unproductive and plan like a pro

The most important part of any travel planning is the panicking stage. Walk circles in your home and think all the negative things this trip may cause. Never forget considering airplanes falling or your luggage disappearing. After panicking enough it’s time to stare guide books without doing any real planning. This may take hours, days, weeks or even months. In hopeless cases even years.

After getting over your insecurities it’s time to start the real planning. What time do you want to travel, how to get to airport and from airport to the city?

 

 

2. Time to buy the tickets

It’s finally time to buy the tickets! Go on the right web site (I prefer to buy straight from the airline websites.It’s usually cheaper.), select your flights and use your beloved money to buy the tickets. That’s it really. The most important (only important) part of buying your tickets part. Don’t consider or get scared, just buy.

 

airport

1. Share the good news with world (after panicking some more)

Again time to panic! You have flight tickets so it is real now: you are going to travel somewhere. If you are like me you probably forgot the plan properly ahead part and are now in totally phase of panicking. Don’t worry it will pass quickly.

After panicking it is time to take the next step (also known as the “make all your social media friends jealous”). Yep, it’s time to tell everyone that you are going. I recommend leaving that make everyone jealous part out of this step but I know how it feels to be excited about your new flight tickets. So smile for the camera and put nice photo to Facebook telling everyone the cool destination you will soon head to.

.          .          .

I hope you liked my not so helpful tips that will probably make your flight tickets booking experience horrible. For me this works but I am that person who has to fail to win.

Do you have any bad flight ticket booking tips? Or maybe good ones that would be helpful for everyone? Like always feel free to comment whatever you have in mind?

So did you like this kind of ‘not so official’ travel post?
I hope you are all having an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

 

My Travel Year 2016

It’s the last day of year 2016 and I have decided to (totally not be original and) write summary of my travel year 2016.

This year has been eventful one for me. A lot of travelling, move to new city and starting studying again. Because everyone else is doing these year 2016 things I decided to gather together my own travel memories and best post from the present year (four hours till midnight!)

Missing Japan

Travel Year 2016: Japan KyotoMy year started with being happy to be finally back at home but still missing my amazing three months in Japan. At this state of my mind I also started this blog! One of the best decisions of my year I think. Who said after travel blues can’t cause good things to happen.

Surprising Trip To France

Travel year 2016 MontpellierThe first trip of my year was to France! I was invited to spend two weeks in sunny Montpellier. I got to see the beautiful beach towns, old streets and kind French people.

Too many cruises

Tallinn's Old Town QuoteThis year was also full of shorter cruises because my schedule was quite booked with the school. I did family cruise to Sweden and travelled to Tallinn for the first time (and for the second time to see the Christmas Market).

Travelling in Finland

Travel Year 2016 Helsinki

End of my summer was full of university exams around Finland so I did more than a few trips around the country. Sometimes it’s good to explore your own home country and see what is has to offer. For example I visited Helsinki, Seitseminen National Park and moved to new city.

London Holiday

Big ben and Telephone box London

The biggest travel I did this autumn was to London. I got to visit Harry Potter attractions and see a lot of things I had seen when I was younger. Everything is in different point of view when you see it for the second, third or fourth time.

 

My Blogging Year 2016

When this year changes we also come closer to my blog’s first year’s end. I have written many different posts but here is some of the best/most popular ones:

insane

My travel bucket list post of me explaining what are my biggest travel dreams.

My travel post about seeing Tallinn’s Christmas market.

My travel diary to London.

Kiasma museum helsinki

30 travel things I want to do before I turn 30 years old.

Travel rant: being scared…

So all in all I have had quite good year, right? A lot of travelling but I think my next year is going to be even more full of adventures. How has your year been? And how are you going to spend the coming year 2017?

Happy New Year for Everyone!

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

 

Story Time: Problems with Police

The story of me in abandoned amusement park continues…

Part 1: Lost In Abandoned Amusement Park

Part 2: Abandoned Beauty

 

Like I said I had just visited the broken mirror house and was now walking towards the beautiful huge princess castle. It was amazing. I climbed up the stairs and was welcomed by graffiti and sunshine. Up there I was able to see the whole park. Even the gate I saw my two new friends walking towards. They were leaving and I thought it was my time to leave too. But like the saying goes curiosity killed the cat.

Abandoned Amusement Park Adventure

After taking in the park around me I decided to climb down and continue my trip around Nara. I was just ready walk outside from the castle when I heard some noises. Automatically I hid behind the abandoned castle’s door. I may have also chanted “there is no such a things as ghosts and paranormal” in my head while listening the suddenly too quiet park. I decided the noises must have been caused by wind and continued my way out of the abandoned park.

Abandoned Haunted House In Abandoned Amusement Park

Then I saw funny witch and haunted house. Of course I decided to take closer look! Probably bad decision but I am good at making those so get used to it.

After exiting the haunted house (super haunted and scary!) it was time to leave. I started to make my way towards the front gate when I saw other people between me and the gate. Once again I hid. No way I would go and say hi to randoms in abandoned place! I’m not that crazy…

So I walked towards the other way wondering what should I do. Then I saw car driving closer to me and I knew that I was in trouble. I had a few seconds to decide should I hide or stood there and wait for the inevitable. There was no way I would exit this park trough the front gate when there was people and I wasn’t going to hide in abandoned amusement park waiting for darkness. I stood there and was ready to panic when the car stopped right next to me.

Abandoned Amusement Park Japan Nara

Angry looking older Japanese man stared me and tried to communicate with me using word “stop” and Japanese that I couldn’t understand. I kept apologizing because I had no idea what else to do. The moment was totally chaotic and the man seemed to be as panicky as I was. Apparently tourist girls don’t usually get lost to abandoned amusement parks.

(Why only boys have privilege to do reckless adventures?)

At that point two more guards arrived with their cars and there was more angry babbling in English and all I could understand was that English speaking police was coming to make everything better. Great, I was totally in huge problems. We waited for a few minutes me apologizing and the guards trying to look angry before the first polices arrived.

Abandoned Roller Coaster Japan Nara

This duo of two males was like straight from Japanese crime dramas. If I hadn’t been too busy to apologizing I would have probably found it amusing. Of course these two man didn’t speak English except for few basic words.Another of them was talking to the guards while the other one tried to calm me down despite our language barrier.

Then a few more polices arrived but they didn’t speak English either. At this point someone was trying to inspect my passport while calling to someone and other polices where just hanging around. And then there was those two polices that had first arrived who still tried to come up way to communicate with me. It was total chaos.

Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Japan

Finally young police woman arrived with her perfect English. She explained that I couldn’t be here and tried to ask where my companions were staying. It took too long to explain that I was totally alone here and that I really wasn’t hiding someone somewhere. I of course told them that I had seen other people here today and they weren’t even surprised about that. Apparently they get asked to come and make people go away every day.

I have to say I was finding the situation rather strange than scary. I was standing in colorful wonderland with eight polices and three guards. Did they think I was some kind of super villain? I mean who needs so much forces to escort traveller girl out of abandoned amusement park? But I grant them that if I had decided to run at least they would have had enough people to catch me…

Abandoned Amusement Park Ride

After short interrogation (that felt more like friendly conversation) I was made to apologize once again. I had done it constantly after getting caught so one more time wasn’t problem for me. Then the two first police men and the English speaker promised to drive me to the shrine I had tried to find in the first place.

We went to the police car and right away I got asked too many questions. Why are you travelling alone? Why Japan? Where have you been and what you liked most? How old are you? Wait, you can’t be that young and travelling alone? Are you really travelling alone? What about your parents, aren’t they worried? And the questions went on and on.

Then we had to stop because two traveller boys were walking towards the amusement park. One of the two policemen opened his window to ask where the boys were going to. We all know what their destination plans were but of course no one said anything. Then the polices asked them to not visit the amusement park because it was dangerous and they would get in trouble. The policeman gave knowing look towards me and that must have scared the boys who promised to not go and continued their way quickly.

Temple in Nara Japan

After that I got some tips where to visit while being scared for my life. Japanese streets aren’t made for cars… And finally we found the shrine that just happened to be wrong one but I didn’t dare to tell the truth to the kind polices. However it was beautiful place so I have to thank them taking me there.

In the end the trio wished me good luck and made me promise to share this story with my friends. Apparently they wanted everyone to know how kind and friendly Japanese polices are.

 

So, yeah that was the too long story of me getting in trouble with police for the first time. I hope you liked it or at least enjoyed the photos. Next Friday I hope I can write something more travel related or Christmas themed. See you then!

With love,

Viivi Severina