I had intended to wrap up my Finland posts earlier this month, but I keep finding new things about it to discuss. Today's entry was inspired by a post from Go Explore Nature.
In its post, Go Explore Nature talks about the idea of collecting moments, not things. As I thought about it, I realized that the idea almost perfectly expressed my experience of Finland.
The only "thing" I bought on the entire trip was an electrical adapter. However, I brought back so much more. I took more than 1,500 photos (I've included two more from Repovesi National Park in this post); I kept a journal with detailed descriptions of each day; I added about 90 names to my family tree; I soaked up Helsinki, my favorite city in the world; I made nature a central focus of the trip; and I got to spend a third of the time with my wonderful Finnish relatives, who epitomized hospitality and introduced me to new things like snorkeling and orienteering. In addition, I shared the whole thing with my mom.
While I was experiencing the trip and then when I was looking back on it, the word full kept coming to mind. I know I got about as much out of the trip as I possibly could. It was completely satisfying, and I didn't need to buy one thing there to have that feeling. Instead, I took in as much as I could at a comfortable pace and enjoyed the connections to nature and family. It was a complete experience, and it even surpassed the fun of my earlier trip to Finland, during which I actually did buy souvenirs.
The Finland trip of 2012 was my life's greatest experience to this point, and by making it about moments, not things, I captured that feeling to hold through the life chapters yet to come.
Finally, I would just like to say that I cannot thank my mom and my Finnish family enough. Without them, this amazing experience would not have happened. I love them; I love Finland; I love nature; and in the end, I think my experience of this trip was really about all that love coming together.