Two $980 round-trip plane tickets, eight months of waiting and two flights later, Cavan and I arrived in Helsinki, Finland. We had no idea where we would sleep that night, or where we’d go the next day. What we did know was that we had each other, our packs, a bit of food, a bit of money and a huge case of wanderlust.
For the next the next thirty one days, I’ll recount our trek across Finland, Estonia and Sweden (plus a little of Norway and Latvija) as if it’s happening in real time. There will be blood, thievery, epic folk metal, a meat-eating vegetarian and other scintillating things you definitely don’t want to miss.
But for now, we’ll just start with a sweater and a pair of forgotten train tickets.
Lands of troll, lake and bog: day 1
Saturday 7, August 2011
The night before leaving, Cavan and I had a couple of things to take care of:
1 . Send off our album for mixing and mastering
2 . Pack
3 . Set free a bunch of poems and short stories to hopefully be published (that was a goal I set for myself)
There was also something Cavan had to purchase the day before we left, but I didn’t find out about this until he, uh, presented it to me. But more on that later.
The album didn’t get sent off, because bouncing it down (the process we have to go through before getting it to our mixer/master) would have taken thirty+ hours. We did, however, finish packing. Around midnight. Which was just great, because we still had a two and a half hour drive ahead of us to get to my parents, who were dropping us off at the Seatac airport in the morning. But we made the drive and arrived at their place a little before 2:30 am. Cavan went to bed, but I still had those poems and short stories to deal with. So I stayed up till 4, hit save and slept till 6 (am, obviously).
We left the house with plenty of time to spare–enough time to go pick up chemical-free bug spray at the local market and just enough time to almost reach the highway and realize we’d forgotten Cavan’s sweater.
“We could still go pick it up…” I told him hesitantly. My parent’s house was only ten minutes away, but grabbing that bug spray had cost us precious time.
“No, there isn’t any time. I’ll just…deal with it. It’ll be fine,” he grit back.
It was summer and he did have a fleece and a rain jacket safely stowed in his backpack. But we also wanted to go to Lapland, Finland. Lapland, arctic circle, Finland.
But Finland has sweaters, too, so we drove on, figuring we’d get him another once we arrived.
Half an hour into our trip, I realized I’d forgotten our Eurail Passes. Our train tickets. Our $337 (each) train tickets.
This time, there was even less time to turn back. So we didn’t. We discussed the problem briefly with our chauffer (my mom) and she told me to call dad, to see what he thought about overnight shipping to Finland (is it just me or does that not sound really, really expensive?). I dialed the number with a sick, horrible guilt boiling away in the pit of my stomach, and explained the situation to my father. His response?
“I guess I’d better leave right now.” He said this, even though he was on call at work.
I have the best father in the whole cosmos. Seriously.
And he was true to his word. We arrived at the airport at 13:30 (just prepping you for European time) and he showed up just half an hour later, with both the passes and Cavan’s sweater in tow. It was nice to get our forgotten items hand-delivered, but it was just as nice to see him one last time before leaving. He also left me with a note that I tried to keep in mind for the rest of the trip:
Don’t forget to have fun!
Simple advice, but on a trip that sometimes leaves you with nowhere to sleep but the bushes, it’s very good advice.
Our flights were, if not fun, uneventful at the very least. I had a spring digging into my back the whole way to Reykjavik, but that was really the only nuisance. Read a lot of seanan_mcguire‘s FEED and watched a bit of AVATAR. I got to the bit with all the pretty, glow-y bioluminescent plant nightlife before deciding I’d rather attempt to make up for the pitiful amount of sleep I’d managed to grab earlier.
Anyway, thank you to my sister for all the excellent food she packed to help us survive our flights (the pb + blueberry jam +blueberry sandwich was really, really good, though I will admit I accidentally took a few bites of Cavan’s blueberry-free sandwich…but it was lumpy too, so I thought it had blueberries in it, okay?)
Also, Cavan and I have concluded that all of Iceland’s women are gorgeous and that Swedes are very tall and wear fashionable glasses.
Cities that are mountains that are the scattered bones
Of ice that is cloud.
I’ve never seen a current not puckered
by the sun not injected with a clock
the size of a mite, gnawing, gnawing
at you until you realize you still don’t know
where the hel you’re going to sleep tonight.
See you in Helsinki.