Live like a Finn!

Teemu featured in a book about the everyday life of Finns, the happiest nation in the world.

Live like a Finn!

Nature is healing. Being in nature makes me a better person – it puts things in perspective, combats stress and helps me relax.

Nature is healing. Being in nature makes me a better person – it puts things in perspective, combats stress and helps me relax. A hike in the forest or a fishing trip at sea calms you down and helps you forget your worries. The sounds of the forest – the wind in the treetops, birds and insects – soothe me.

I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can. I hike, ski, fish, hunt, and pick mushrooms. There is something deeply rewarding in finding mushrooms or catching a fish. I can’t explain it fully, deep down it just feels right. I learned to fish as a little boy by following my older cousin. He was a skillful fisherman and I admired him a lot. My uncle, who worked as a geologist in Lapland, introduced me to hunting. I have a strong hunting instinct; it’s something I can’t really explain. It brings me primitive joy. Being in nature awakens your animal instincts.

Happiness for me is all about finding inner calm. The best way to achieve that is by being in nature, completely offline. Happiness comes from hiking in the forest, fishing by the river at night or skiing across a frozen lake. It sounds simple, and actually, it is.

I hunt birds mainly and love cooking and eating game. I’m committed to responsible hunting, only take what I need and use all parts of the animal. For me, it’s a way of respecting the prey. A responsible hunter does not kill for fun – hunting must always happen in harmony with nature and should never be a threat to biodiversity.

The same goes for fishing; there is so much overexploitation. I am a fan of selective fishing, which means only catching fish from sustainable stocks and respecting quotas and size limits. To me, this is crucial. All fishing and hunting should be done on nature’s terms.

I love the Kemihaara Wilderness Area as well as the bordering Kemijoki River and Urho Kekkonen National Park. The air is so clean and the water so pure, it feels like an Arctic paradise. 

It’s easy to go fishing, you can hire a fishing guide to take you to the archipelago, or you can just go fishing by yourself. If you are in Helsinki, the Vantaanjoki River is an easy place to start. The Finnish lakes are full of fish and usually open to the public, but you do need to buy a permit – it’s not too expensive and easy to get online. If you have a valid hunting permit you can access the state-owned hunting grounds controlled by The Finnish State Forest Enterprise. 

Over 70% of Finland’s terrain is forest, and most Finns have a personal relationship with their woodlands. We feel safe in the forest – traditionally it has given us food and shelterand yet sometimes I think we take it all for granted. Living so close to nature can mean you lose perspective. Unpolluted lakes and pristine forests will only be preserved if you make conscious decisions to value and protect them. I think this is one of the greatest challenges we will face as a society in the future.

Unpolluted lakes and pristine forests will only be preserved if you make conscious decisions to value and protect them. I think this is one of the greatest challenges we will face as a society in the future.

A few years ago I was fishing in Lapland with a friend. It was a beautiful, silent night and the midnight sun was shining, as it does there in summer. We were fly fishing at the Kemijoki River and saw a big brown bear crossing the river. It was coming our way and we started shouting, because we knew that brown bears are afraid of people and won’t deliberately come close. For some reason, the bear didn’t hear us and just kept coming closer and closer, until finally, after what seemed like a long while it noticed us. It panicked and ran to the bushes as fast as it could. It was such a special feeling – this shared fear between us and the bear. 

Lapland is my ultimate favorite place on Earth. I have a small wilderness hut in Savukoski, in Forest Lapland, close to the Russian border. In winter and spring I go skiing and ice fishing and in summer and autumn I hike and hunt. In that part of the world you really feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. I love the Kemihaara Wilderness Area as well as the bordering Kemijoki River and Urho Kekkonen National Park. The air is so clean and the water so pure, it feels like an Arctic paradise. 

For some reason, the bear didn’t hear us and just kept coming closer and closer, until finally, after what seemed like a long while it noticed us. It panicked and ran to the bushes as fast as it could. It was such a special feeling – this shared fear between us and the bear. 

Read more about the book here.