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.
If you read this whole post, Thank You for reading.