ZAP WANDERLUST: Finland
Finland’s happy and we know it! Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, Finland was ranked number one in the World Happiness Report that was released by the United Nations in March 2018. Despite its cold, dark winters, the country is a unique destination offering travelers the opportunity to see the northern lights, Santa Claus (yes, he’s real) and experience a traditional sauna (3 million saunas for 5.4 million citizens) among other things. Beating out 156 countries based on factors that include freedom, honesty, welfare, good health and generosity, Visit Finland shares some tips on how to be happy like a Finn.
- There is nothing more Finnish than sauna, it is such a big part of Finnish culture that it can’t be compared to anything else. For Finns, it is a must at regular intervals, and if they go too long without a sauna, they’ll start feeling incomplete. Needless to say, sauna makes them happy.
- There is something magical about the forest and the Finnish soul has always been linked to it. The green color is calming; the gentle rustling of the leaves and pine needles is like music. Finns feel good in the forest. Not alone, not lost – the forest provides protection and peace.
- Believe it or not, swimming in icy water really does you the world of good. Quite simply, the secret of plunging into icy water lies in the feeling that surges through your body once you get out of the water – as soon as you’re back on dry land your circulation kicks in and your body starts to warm up and makes you feel, well, happy.
- Berry-picking is something nearly all Finns do, regardless of age. Wandering in the woods, deep in thoughts, filling your basket with blueberries…it is a Finnish kind of therapy for the soul. Once home, you bake a delicious blueberry pie and eat it with milk. Simple things are what make them happy.
- In the rush and crush of modern life, the rarities are what makes them happy, such as space, quiet and time. The space to breathe, a time to dream – you can find these treasures in Finland, where the lakes are many and the people are few.
Images via Timo Oksanen and Simo Tolvanen.