This one alone day in Helsinki really made me realize how much I need a solo trip, with no plans, no set itinerary; Just me and a semi-familiar or even unfamiliar place. I just want to walk, explore and mostly reflect and allow my mind and heart to fully feel all the things I have been pushing to the back burner.
I’ve always been such an advocate of solo travel but the truth is, I haven’t had one in ages and I need it. I need it to be away from the states so I can’t be reached so that I don’t feel guilty about it nor feel any obligation towards it.
I chose not to get a day pass on my phone today, mainly because WiFi in Helsinki is pretty accessible but I’ve had a hard time connecting for a prolonged period of time, probably because I was on the move continuously, thus jumping from network to network.
I finally got to an Indian restaurant, Samrat, where at first I felt like I was being mistreated because I was presumed to be “Indian” and given a table on the inside of the restaurant instead of where everyone else had been sitting (on the window side). I thought it through to make sure I wasn’t being irrational, I looked around to see if any solo diners were on that side, and there was one woman I could see of. To make matters worse (in my head), I hadn’t been attended to for what I felt was longer than normal, but not too long after all these thoughts rose, I saw a solo diner, definitely not of South Asian descent being led over to my side of the room and given a table across from mine.
Then I realized, perhaps I was misguided (by myself), perhaps I jumped prematurely on that judgy wagon. Isn’t it funny that for all the solo moments I seek, when I was given one, my subconscious wanted to jump the gun when the moment was afforded to me at a restaurant? We really are a species of such double standard.
But I digress. Back to the not being able to connect online, I reluctantly asked the waiter if they had WiFi (I could tell they didn’t from the available WiFi networks), and was politely informed that they didn’t. Just as well. I need to be with my thoughts and soak in the one half-day I have to myself.
I quickly realized that this moment and these feelings that had been surfacing during my solo day in Helsinki really needed to be addressed. I’ve gone through a lot of much emotional drama this past year, and I haven’t given myself a single moment to feel, react, be with any of it ALONE.
And this was the universe, God telling me – “Go find that moment because you have a lot of unresolved issues.”
I fell in love with Finland on my first time here, two years ago. It had quickly reached my list of the top three countries in the world. I’m not a city person, so it’s not really Helsinki that captured my heart, it was the Lapland. But just being in Helsinki for a day so far made me realize that it’s not just the Lapland, it’s all of it. Finland gets me, or I get it.
In a moment when I was walking the Esplanadi towards the sea, the following realization hit me and it made my heart so full:
Paris is where I feel most at home.
Switzerland is where I feel most grateful.
And Finland…is where I feel most at peace.
This post hasn’t been super thought out – I wrote this while sitting at the restaurant and waiting for my food. But I just needed to put it out there because someday I’ll look back at this and it will have an important effect on me.
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