Travel plans for 2018

After making the recap of the year 2017 last week, I want to share my plans for 2018 today. I’m super excited to share these plans because during last week I and my family decided something super cool! Keep reading and you will find out where our adventure will take us.

Big ben and Telephone box London

Starting the year with London and Brighton

Last autumn I had bought tickets to Poland but Ryanair decided to cancel my flight. For me it ended up being a good thing because I got back the price of my flight tickets but also 30€ gift card. I almost forgot this whole trip until someone asked me where I am traveling next year. My flight will leave in a little over a week but I haven’t yet booked anything else. That’s why I am not sure if I will be staying in London or maybe in Brighton.

Because I have visited both of these cities before this is going to be a relaxed week with a lot of walking around, enjoying the cities and writing in cozy cafes. No need to stress out about seeing everything. I will sleep long, maybe go to a concert and buy new socks from Primark. If anyone has some “out of the beaten path” tips for Brighton or London, please share them with me!

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Long spring and trying to not do any last minute trips

I have to save some money to make my autumn perfect and that’s the reason why I haven’t planned any bigger trips for this spring. This plan is doomed to fail. How I know? I have been at home for about two weeks right now and I am already craving for my next trip. Staying at home for months without traveling anywhere sounds like a torture. I don’t believe that I will be able to spot myself if there is a good and cheap last minute deal…

Cherry Blossom Trees In Stockholm

Cherry Blossoms in Finland!

One of my biggest dreams has been to visit Japan during sakura (cherry blossoms) season. Unfortunately, I am on a budget for good reason and so this dream won’t happen during 2018. Last spring we did a family trip to Stockholm and saw cherry blossoms there. Afterwards, I did photo diary post of the trip and someone told me that I can see even more cherry blossoms in Helsinki. For those who don’t know Helsinki is the capital city of Finland and I have lived my whole life in Finland… Are you kidding me?

Well, this year I will make a spring trip to Helsinki and see those super secret cherry blossoms!

kiyomizu

Dream vacation with family

Now we can go back to the cool autumn adventure we decided to do with my family. Can you already guess where we are going? Japan! Yes, I am returning to Tokyo and Kyoto after two years of longing.

This is kind of funny story because for whole autumn of 2017 I have known that I will probably travel to Japan next year. For that reason, I have tried to persuade my mum to travel with me. I was already giving up thinking that she didn’t want to leave. Then a few days after Christmas my mom told me that she may have been looking for flights to Japan. My sister and cousin heart that and about thirty minutes later we had decided that all of us will travel together to Japan at the end of summer 2018!

idyllic tokyo neighborhood train

Adventure to Asia

Because I am buying tickets to Japan and back, I have to take everything out of them and travel as much as possible. That’s why after my family returns back home (or before they come to Japan with me) I will spend some more time in Japan and possibly finally go to South Korea. I know that I have already lived three months in Japan and this trip with my family would add two weeks to that amount. However, I feel like there will never be enough time in this world for me to be in Japan. I have fallen in love with that country. And I feel like Sout Korea will make me feel something similar.

 

Like you can see, I don’t have that many plans for 2018 but I love these plans more than my 2017 plans. Mostly because Japan but also because I have missed staying in one city for a longer time at once. What plans do you have for 2018? Like always all comments are more than welcome.

Btw, I started daily blogging and you can find all my posts from here: LostViivi.com

With love,

Lost Viivi

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I just bought domain for my blog! How exiting is that? I wanna thank all of you reading my blog and making me feel like my voice is heard. I hope you will like my future content. Thank you!

And I had to make new bloglovin’ for my blog so if you are there feel free to follow me.

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

Traveling the rest of my life?

Today we are going to talk about how I plan to travel around the world for the rest of my life. My dreams may be stupid and some of them impossible but I’m just not a person who can stand in one place for too long. Until the end, I will always be a traveler or wanderer who just can’t live life without adventures! (Be prepared for long and boring writings by me. For those who don’t have the patience to read check out just the bold sentences.)

Two weeks ago I talked about my plans for the future and how I would like to travel the world rather than live the life others call normal. ‘Hasan asked on that post:

I have a question though, you mentioned about deciding to take university or not cause it might get stuck in the way of your travels, how do you manage everything? Like I think if I start going around the world I will HAVE TO abandon the work and everything and if I do that, there is no way I can earn enough to be able to travel around the world or at least some places which I intend to.
I will love to get your thoughts and suggestions about it, thanks.

After I started to think how to respond I realized one life-changing fault in my own travel dreams. I have never written down what is my plan and how could I keep traveling full time for years. It’s quite funny because I am usually the person who scribbles her every thought in whatever paper she finds. That’s why I’m a writer, blogger and well dreamer.

So today I am going to tell you my plan. (I am making this up right now so let’s see how it goes…) Maybe this will help other travelers reading this, maybe not. I think everyone has their own path of coming nomad and this is just how I have planned to do it. There is no wrong way of coming traveler or so I hope…

1. Save Money to Travel

The harsh reality is that you can’t start traveling if you don’t have money. For me, this is the easy part. I don’t drink alcohol (no offense to those who do but it just tastes terrible for me) so I can save the money I would hypothetically spend to drinks. What are you ready to give up to achieve your travel dreams?

I’m cutting down the costs of doing fun things when not traveling. For example, I spend extra time to answer panels that reward you with movie tickets. Earlier this year I started doing mystery shopping which rewards me with present cards. So basically try to spend as little money as possible to the not essential things. It’s good to make a habit of saving money because you have to continue to save money while traveling.

2. Make Money If You Don’t Have Any

I have of course thought possibilities to start traveling even if I don’t have any savings at the moment when I decide to go. How to travel for free? I have many plans but my favorite ones are these two…

Working Holiday. Growing your amount of money to spend traveling seems so boring to do at home, right? So why not do it in Australia or New Zealand? I can’t come up any negative answers for that. So one year working and experiencing a new country with the benefits of being able to start your lifelong travels afterward. Not so bad deal.

Work on a cruise ship. Who wouldn’t love waking up every morning in a new place? Even if cruise workers’ life sounds like a dream it is hard work and long hours with not so good pay. However, you get free housing, food, etc. and get to see the world. For me, this sounds the perfect way to raise my travel savings. And it’s basically a way to travel for free!

Funny fact: Both of those are on my bucket list.

3. Save in Travel Expenses

I don’t need business class flights or fast trains. It’s okay to take a cheap night bus or walk around cities. Planning your route from city to city through the cheapest route is important.

For example, flying from Finland to London would cost me over 80 euros but is there a way to travel cheaper? I can start by taking 20 euros flight to Gdansk, Poland. From there it only costs 10 euros to get in Berlin by bus and from Berlin pay 8 euros to get Cologne from where it would take 8 euros to get in Brussels. And in the end from Brussels to London 14 euros. You still with me? After counting everything together it would take 60 euros from Finland to London and I can stop in many places on my way! It’s not easy to travel with almost no costs.

4. Travel & Save in Living Expenses

Work to get free accommodation. After working in a hostel I found from Helpx I was totally hooked to this way of traveling. If you are not familiar with the site let me shortly introduce the idea for you. You work for the place (usually hostel) for 3-5 hours per day and they give you free accommodation. Travelers can easily find free accommodation!

Last year I stayed two months in Kyoto, Japan and didn’t pay anything for the hostel I was staying in. Traveling and living in Kyoto for two months would have cost me almost one thousand euros if I had rented a place or stayed in hostels. For addition to the free stay I got some food, tickets to museums/events and insider tips to the city.

I, however, didn’t fall in love with this way of traveling because all the money I saved on my travels. Every night I met new people in the hostel’s common room. Listening to their stories was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And their reaction when they heard I was working in the hostel made me realize I was living the life of travel I had been dreaming for: the cool person who works and lives in the hostel and knows all the secrets floating around the city.

5. Find Your Thing

Now when I have theoretically cut down my travel expenses and saved some money I need to find the job I can do while adventuring in the faraway places.

How do I want to spend the rest of my life? What things do I want to do to get money? What am I good at or better than others? Let’s make that your job. As list lover, my way to approach this question was to write down all my skills. Here is part of the list:

-Writing. I attended many years to a creative writing course.
-Solving other people’s problems.
-Making travel plans, finding interesting places from the internet
-Doing web searches and finding the answer to any question
-Reading tarot cards (btw anyone needing their future predicted? :D)
-Taking decent photographs
-Traveling and writing a travel blog about the places I have seen.

6. Work, work, work

Time to make my list sound more like real working opportunities. There are two ways for that: what I hope I can do in future and what I am ready to do. You see, I have always had two dreams. If you have read my travel blog, you know the first one is to adventure around the world. And maybe you can guess that the second dream is to make living by writing.

Writing is something I am going to do even if no one would read my writings. There, however, is almost no change for that to be my income. So what is the real plan?

In the best case scenario I would be able to get some money from this blog, maybe start a youtube channel and review products/holidays/travels from brands I love. In addition that little money I will get from those things a freelancer writing is my keyword. Translating from English to Finnish (after I master my language skills also from Finnish to English). Writing articles, blog posts and whatever. Want someone to write you travel blog post? Feel free to ask!

Making my own writing course is also in a planning stage. I know millions of writing practices and prompts. Maybe selling my problem-solving skills or tarot card readings in Fiverr? People sell crazy stuff there so I would come up with more. Every cent counts.

Writing to Finnish travel magazines is also a big dream with no guarantee to never happen. But girl can hope and dream as much as she likes… Someone, please hire me? (I’m not desperate but millionaire husband would be also a good idea?)

7. Just Travel and Believe in Yourself

Sounds stupid but if I don’t leave because of being scared of not succeeding there is no way of living the life making me happy. I may return back home crying after traveling for a few months but it’s not stopping me from trying. This is the way I want to spend the rest of my life.

EXTRA… Survey Sites

Did I already mention these? Oh, yes in the first point. Before you call me stupid or something I will reveal to you that I am totally hooked to survey sites. And if you pick right ones you will (slowly) collect points towards travel gift cards! So it’s a good way to get some extra spending credit for your adventures.

Just as an example I have been on this site (sorry everyone I think it is only in Finland) starting from the year I turned eighteen. So soon three years. I have had long periods when I haven’t done any surveys so maybe approximately survey once a month during that three years. Guess how many 20 euros gift cards have I received? Six. So if I had used those to get travel gift card I would have enjoyed holiday costing 120 euros.

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I hope you enjoyed today’s travel blog post and hearing about my “dream” plan. And like always I would be more than happy to hear your opinions. Do you have any tips for me? Or what kind of plans do you have?

I am now leaving towards Helsinki (Finland’s capital) and boarding a cruise ship towards Sweden. I will see you soon with more travel stories!

With adventurous mind,
Lost Viivi

Surviving Finland: Music

One of the Finnish stereotypes is heavy music. I mean it is kind of true. We have heavy metal bands more towards person than anywhere in the world. We won Eurovision with hard music and Lordi. It’s normal to see people in band shirts and men with long hair.

Even if the stereotype is kind of true Finnish music is a lot more. Not everyone likes metal, rock or even music at all. Currently rap has taken over Finland and a sad music is always fitting to listen in our dark country. We have many kind of music here and today I am going to introduce some genres for you with sample songs!

 

Let’s sing melancholichally and cry together girls

This used to be one of Finland’s biggest music genres but rap has taken over. Don’t get me wrong we still have many beautiful sad songs singed by desperate women but now we have at least as many rapping strong females.

The example is older song from well-known Finnish artist Jenni Vartiainen. The song literally tells about her ex putting their sex tapes to the internet. Sometimes Finnish hit songs have quite special lyrics but it doesn’t mean it can’t be a sad and melancholic. Vartiainen is perfect example for this music genre.

 

The strong independent girls

Don’t let the tender female voices lead you on because in Finland we have some power ladies. And I say some I mean a whole lot of amazing powerful singers/rappers. The video I recommend you to watch is from Sini Sabotage and presents perfectly the powerful women of Finland.

Just as extra mention this is the song I listen when feeling home sick. When I am trying to sleep on the other side of the world this definitely makes me feel better. This is from far the songs you would except from Finland put this was a huge when it was released. Rhythmic and strong.

 

Rapping about money, girls and odd hairstyles (???)

Rap has always been on Finland but recently rap artists are grown one of our biggest celebrities. When I was young one of the popular artists was rapper Pikku G (nowadays disappeared, probably somewhere not so luxurious…) and teen were totally in love with him. There is list of current rappers: JVG, Nikke Ankara, Prinssi Jusuf and Elastinen.

The one I am going to put as example is Cheek. He is the most popular rapper (and maybe person) in Finland. Our first artist to have Olympia stadium concert and loved by everyone. This video (even if Cheek’s) has other important and famous Finnish artists.

 

The old Idols stars

Our music scene is quite small so same artistes come and go. We had idols contests in years 2003-2013 and many singers have gotten known by it. The music video is from Antti Tuisku, who came to third in our first ever Idols, was forgotten for a long time. Last year he made huge comeback with different style and has charmed out whole gray land with the happy go go songs.

 

The “I don’t even know what our children listen” genre

This first band above is called Hevisaurus (means something like heavy metal dinosaur) and has been quite popular for sometime. Yes our children listen heavy too. Do you have problems with it?

The second children’s song is from Titinalle. This bear has been known for forever. I can sing sll the older songs (I know because I just singed along while trying to find the video to show you). The video looks old because it is old (like it was once VHS old…) This used to be my favorite song so don’t even think of dissing it! (Who can guess about what this song is?)

The third children’s artists I want to mention are called Ella and Aleksi (in Finnish Ella ja Aleksi). This duo has song called Kakkaa Lumella (meaning poo on the snow) and the song tells just about the thing its name is about…Ella and Aleksi is older music and is something I listened when I was child.

 

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Surviving finland heavy metal music

There would be a lot more music genres to explain and introduce but I’m fearing all these videos will slow my blog down. Tell me if you want to get more Finnish music recommendations! If someone wants I will come up way of linking the videos without slowing my blog. (Google please help me…)

I hope you learned something new today about Finnish music and maybe even enjoyed some of the songs (???). I’m sorry you can’t understand the lyrics but to tell you the truth many of our songs have the most absurd lyrics.

For those who have followed me after my last Surviving Finland post. Firstly thank you for reading my blog! I would have never guessed so many people decide to read what I have to say and where I am traveling. Secondly this post is part of my series telling about my home country Finland. Don’t take anything too seriously!

More Surviving Finland posts you can find from HERE.

With pride for her home,

Viivi Severina