Europe

Europe, Finland, Travel

A Naked Asian In Finland – Taking Things Beyond Finnish Sauna


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One of the most notable Finnish tradition is the sauna experience. It is the norm to have one in every household, almost mandatory. Finnish people hop in the sauna before work, after work and whenever; like a ritual. Typically, you are seated butt to butt next to someone else (usually of the same gender and in a completely non-sexual way) and do not utter a single word throughout the sauna session. I think it makes sense that this is a large part of their culture due to the long cold winters, especially in the Finnish Lapland. I had the opportunity to experience different saunas throughout Finland and I found them addictive to a point (something about the intense sweating and the deep cleansing of my pores) where I wanted to go almost every other day. Luckily for me, most accommodations in Finland including the glass igloos in Lapland have saunas (both private and public).

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Photo credit: Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland

Going naked in the sauna (my experiences)

Being naked in the sauna feels different from going skinny dipping or walking in the wild since everyone around you are naked and in close proximity. There are some saunas in Helsinki (Allas Sea Pool and Löyly) which require all to wear a swimsuit if you enter the mixed gender room, otherwise strip away! Being with a group of other naked people, it felt almost primitive and ‘back to the beginning’ – we are created by God and born without clothes anyway. Everyone has a different heat tolerance level, making it difficult to determine how often to pour the water over the hot stones to steam up the sauna. I have came across where someone threw water onto the stones every 30 seconds, making the heat unbearable and I had to end my session prematurely.

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The hot stones in the sauna (Photo credit: Elina Sirparanta, Visit Finland)

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Photo credit: Eetu Ahanen, My Helsinki

My Löyly experience was one of the best sauna experiences especially jumping into the icy Baltic Sea right after sauna. It was a dip to cool down after the intense steam session, any time spent longer in the water felt like my hands and toes were freezing up.

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The top part of the photo with 2 stairs is where you take the Baltic dip! (Photo credit: Joel Pallaskorpi, My Helsinki)

Going naked in the nature and skinny dipping

Taking that aspect of nudity in Finland, I took a step further to experience being away from my own clothes. It is a huge taboo in Asia and whoever is naked in public would most likely end up at the police station for an act of indecency. In Singapore, it is a crime to be naked even in your private homes so long as your nakedness becomes visible to the public. Skinny dipping in Lake Menesjärvi was an idea that came to mind so as to try how it feels like being naked in the wild. I felt more comfortable after my naked sauna experiences. It felt liberating and surprisingly fun. Despite getting some curious onlookers, it was probably due to seeing an Asian rather than a Finn without clothes.

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Going in the lake with only the fishes in there – no other humans

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Here, it reminded me of the episodes of Man vs Wild series. I should have joined Bear Grylls on his adventure!

I am not a nudist by any means, neither do I walk around naked in the eyes of the public but this was truly an invigorating experience if you dare to give it a try. Would love to hear about your experiences! Have any of you tried going back to the beginning sans clothing?

Finland, Travel

HEL-lo SINKI #MyHelsinkiResidence For A Week! Here’s What I Am Excited About!


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#MyHelsinkiResidence is aimed at digital professional/influencers in creating authentic content without any schedule! I was super excited when I got the opportunity to visit Helsinki for a week in the middle of September. What even more amazing is that I get to bring a +1 – just when I was thinking about going Finland for honeymoon. Helsinki Marketing (aka Visit Helsinki) partners with a few other well-known names in the hospitality industry such as Marimekko, Aallonkoti Hotel Apartments (can’t wait to stay in the apartments with beautifully designed Nordic interiors), Visit Finland and Finnair for this amazing media program.

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Photo credits: Jussi Hellsten, My Helsinki

Helsinki in Autumn

They called it “ruska“, predominantly in Lapland but I hope to witness more of it in Helsinki. It will be a phenomenal blend of tree colours that sends photographers scrambling for their gears. Being there in September also means that there will be less tourists than the summer months. The International Grand Market and International Film Festival will be going on during the visit, good time to check it out too.

First-hand Finnish local experience!

Experiencing Helsinki from a local experience might be attractive, but I am more intrigued about the Finnish joke: ‘An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes’. The social perception of the Finns is one interesting area to watch if it matches the stereotype.  You can read more about the Finns here. In this trip, I wish to explore the local places to go – not to bring the influx of tourism there but to experience it. Be it biking in the city with vintage looking bicycles or checking out some coffee shop down the street, it feels very dreamy to me. A week is just the right amount of time to explore Helsinki, rather than 3 days or so which can be pretty rushed.

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Photo credits: Lauri Rotko, My Helsinki

Finnish Sauna

Nude sauna is the Finns’ way of life, maybe that is how they do their leisure time rather than going on Facebook. Jumping into a cold pool after a good session of sauna is like dipping nachos in cheese – not sure if I will like it. Wild sauna or electric sauna, I want to try it all. Hello Sinki indeed, I got some kiasu-ness (A Singaporean slang/dialect that means afraid to lose out).

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Photo credits: Eetu Ahanen, My Helsinki

Finnish Food

They have seasonal food, so here I am in autumn to try those speciality according to this guide. Getting ready for a ‘foodplosion’, just like the explosion of leaves colours ‘ruska’.

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Photo credits: Eetu Ahanen, My Helsinki

The Unknown!

The last but not least, a Helsinki Survival Kit will be given to us. It will contain local tips, suggestions on what to see and do and hand-picked local design, food & urban nature experiences and items that are essential for city-dwelling. How exciting is this! Though this travel concept has been commercialised to provide that excitement of not knowing your itinerary, it is still working very well on human’s nature – curiosity.

In a nutshell, I am flying to Helsinki real soon, as soon as good times fly.

 

Inspiration, Travel

Why Should You Do A GAP Year?


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Ever heard of GAP year? That means taking a long period off whatever commitment you have, mainly school or maybe work. I know that most of you felt pressured by your friends when you see them already out there working, you felt that you should quickly get a job too and start earning your keep to pay off your study loans.

DSCN0520GAP year or GAP years?

There are numerous articles over the internet explaining why you should do a GAP year and how it benefits you. They usually explained how GAP year allow you to experience the world and how it enhances you as a person, making you a better person for the next phrase of your life. Those are true and no doubt you should do GAP year for that. Well I think that GAP year is about YOURSELF, not for whatever reasons stated those articles. Reach out deep within your inner self and discover that you really want in the next phrase of your life. I am talking about graduates that are going to enter the harsh working world. Because this is the stage in life where there are uncertainties going on.

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