In trying to understand wandergrief from my past experiences, I'm already slowly but surely leaving behind my present one. It feels right. So I will keep going. This was not the first time I'd been down this road.
What lessons from the past can I take comfort in? What hangover cures might there be?
This time, it is from Helsinki, Finland in August 2014. Helsinki was the last stop on a 6-week solo sabbatical trip, after leaving a particularly exhausting job. I started in Bordeaux, France where I spent 3 weeks in Plum Village, meditating, practising mindfulness and mindful living. A much needed retreat. After that, I made my way through land, air and water (really! I took overnighters on trains, planes and cruise ships) to Denmark, Sweden, then Finland. It was a mind-blowing trip for sure. Mindfulness and Scandinavia works well together, me thinks. Something about the culture, the nature, quality of life, pace of the cities, the people, made Scandinavia a good post-retreat travel.
Helsinki, Finland in August 2014. It's the last stop on an amazing trip. I swam in the Vantaa river and the Kuusijärvi lake, visited Temppeliaukio Church, a church carved into rock monolith, strolled in the native birchwood forests around Pikkukosken Uimaranta. Wood and water, rock and metal. Just rough, raw nature in all it's natural, unpolished beauty, blended into spaces and things with such a unique Arctic sensibility. It was so deeply enchanting.
I love how Finland's northern landscape inspires the work of Finnish artists and designers, and how they took that as their own and created a very unique, native design vernacular around their nature. I hear of their longing for the forests, for their native culture, for their traditions centred around the water, trees and rock, and I'm too filled with a longing to find the equivalent of that artistic/design vernacular in Singapore.
Just hear these words - it gives me goosebumps:
The nearby woods,
the home of life lines.
~ Maarit Mattanen, a ceramic artist from Sodankylä. The birch is the tree close to her soul, her pillar of strength. The birches growing outside her house provided the inspiration for her most successful product.
"I try to go to the woods every day. It calms your mind, and you find solutions to the issues at hand." ~ photographer Kaisa Sirén
"Sorrow has become my friend and creativity my aide in easing the pain." ~ artisan Maarit Magga
"You shouldn't force anything. There is a time for everything." ~ paper artist Sirpa Kivilompolo
"Fishing and working with your hands are the best possible therapy for your body and soul." ~ boat builder Pentti Pieski
"I'm lying high up on a rock. Each stitch makes me a part of this world." ~ textile designer Seija Ranttila
"Just a few line, capturing the essential, nothing superfluous." ~ goldsmiths of Taigakoru
"Sea, earth, forest, the globe - the cradle of culture." ~ cabinet maker, designer Maxim Narbrough
"The fell lake glimmers like steel, a rock is more than a rock - anything can provide inspiration for a new shape." ~ steel designer Pasi Hornamo