A decision has been reached. It wasn't particularly hard to reach it - and in the end we realized it was what we both wanted to do anyway. So, at the end of the year, we're moving back to Finland, to Lapland, to Rovaniemi.
With Minna's visiting professorship in the US is in it's final year, and our future employment options in the States limited by some surprisingly harsh visa restrictions, it's time for a change. But in all honesty, we'd already decided that it was time to go home. There's a lot to love about America; its vast, wide-open spaces; it's warm, friendly people; cheese curds. But at the same time, there's a lot of weirdness that an evil socialist such as myself finds it hard to get his head around. But let's not get into a discussion
. This is, after all,
. It's 10:07 AM, and I haven't drunk enough beer yet to start arguing politics.
Because of other events taking place in our lives this year, the amount of time I'm going to be able to spend on the trail is likely to be far less than I would normally. I'd hoped to get to the Badlands this spring, but I can't realistically spend that much time away from home at the moment. As this is likely going to be the case for the rest of the year also, I have to scale down my plans for trips. And that's fine. A night here, a day there - if that's what I can do, then it's enough.
This last week there's been a fantastic set of trip reports from Joe (Thunder in the Night:
) and Jörgen (Fjäderlätt:
) following their heroic trip on Finnmarksvidda in northern Norway. Their experiences and thoughts sent me back in time to life in Lapland, and the trips I made during the eight years I was there before my temporary relocation to Minnesota. I'm excited to be returning; the old axiom that you don't know what you've lost 'till it's gone certainly rings true for me. I intend, on my return, to make the most of the fantastic landscapes on my doorstep with a renewed vigour. And so, I'm looking forward by thinking back, courtesy of my photo library.
Magnificent Norway (aka Mordor)
Can you spot the Wizard?
The Gulf Stream and Maelstrom in action
In the coming months, there will be fewer posts on Backpacking North. As I said, trip opportunities will be few and far between. I hope to get out for a short trip soon, but after that I'll have other things on my mind. Having a baby is an enormous life-changer, and combining that with a move back to Finland (which I'm stressed about) is a logistical challenge to say the least. I'll keep posting about the mini adventures, and review some gear every now and then, but posting frequency will be reduced. Still, quality not quantity, that's what they say - and with that in mind, I promise to keep these less popular, philosophical posts to a minimum, and end this one here.
Tromsø (in alpenglow reversal)