Justin Francis of Responsible Travel speaking at the Adventure Travel Show on the advantages of engaging local guides in Finland and traveling like a local on your Sabbatical.
Here’s some more great videos you’ll love:
Duncan Milligan on the importance of choosing local guies: Click Here
Duncan’s Top Travel Tips: Click Here
How the ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Body Shop’ shaped Responsible travel: Click Here
This is a fantastic place, Finland. Finland is great place to visit on your Sabbatical. It’s nature personified. Lakes. Pine trees. Total quiet and total silence. It’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been. We stayed in this little hut back here. And this is their sauna, and they’re obsessed with their sauna. And the idea is that you get really hot in the Sauna and then you jump in the lake. It sounds horrendous but actually its fantastic.
And I met this guy who looks like a Fin, he looks like you might imagine a Fin, and you can tell by his light meters and his cameras he’s a wildlife fanatic, a wildlife photographer. And he took us to this little hide here. Now Hides and grand term, its actually just a garden shed. Tiny little bits of wood slotted together and a bit of camouflage slung over it. And I went in with my wife and he said that you will stay here all night and you will be completely and utterly quiet. Get everything organised before I leave so you dont have to move or make any noise and I’ll come back and pick you up in the morning. And the reason for that, which is by the way on the Russian Finland border, its no-mans land. Theres 5 kilometres between Russia and Finland which people are rarely allowed in and the reason is this [cut to picture of a bear] the brown bear, and I had no idea that you could see huge bears like this in Europe. Some of the bears that came down were as much as 80 stone, which is a massive massive bear. They also have wolves there, so we are sat there at night watching the ears and the wolves coming down which was incredible.
About 2 o’clock in the morning I thought the final bear had left, I went to sleep and was woken up by the worst heavy breathing and just right outside of our shed was the most enormous bear. When I looked through a hole in the wall which had been made to put the camera through, all I could see was its fur. Quiet a terrifying moment but an extraordinary experience.
this guy is another local guide. You can see a bit of a theme from my presentation. Its often about finding out and searching these extraordinary people who can show you their home in a way which is different from passing through like a tourist, travelling like a local. And this guy is a farmer, but he cant afford to farm full time so he takes people out canoeing, looking for beaver on part of his farm which we did. He’s also a moose hunter, which you may or may not approve of, but its fascinating to learn the Fins cultural association and heritage with moose. And we came out from this area where the beavers had been making their dam, which is very dense and wooded into this huge open expanse. Here there is no noise at all. I could here the most minuet sound, even just a leaf falling from a tree I could here 20-30 meters away. there was no planes overhead. Totally silent and we canoed across this lake in complete wilderness on these rocks we set up and made a fire and told us stories about moose hunting. It was a really great day. Strong in my memory even now.
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