We usually travel together with Satu. We like each other’s company and most times than not, our travels are related and pretty much built around Fangirl Quest. Filming locations, collaborations with tourism authorities and local hotels, roadtrips and the like. But this winter I flew to Fuengirola, Spain all on my lonesome.
This trip is not about filming locations. It’s about my need to escape the horrendous, tedious, cold and dark Finnish winter which, year after year, manages to break my spirits and have me completely zombified.
I’ve always had trouble surviving the winter, but it seems to just get worse the older I get. Like I posted on my personal Instagram:
Words can not describe what sunshine, light and colors mean to me after months of dull gray, cold & darkness, so I won’t even try. I might not come back at all. I feel traumatized by the winter we’ve had. Going back to it feels like willingly walking into a torture chamber. What happened to me in life? What made me hate and fear winter so much? I have no clue.
I arrived in Fuengirola less than 48 hours ago, but I already feel a 1000% better. I’m staying with a friend who’s here for work for a few months, and on both days, I’ve had moments when I just stand at her window looking out, admiring the sea view and feeling so, so relieved that I’m surrounded by light and colors.
I’ve also taken two very long evening walks, just slowly making my way along the beach, taking it all in.
Now, Fuengirola isn’t the most exotic place to visit for a Finn. In fact, you can’t really escape all things Finnish here at all, since so many people from our cold nation have come here for a short break, and some even live here permanently. You can hear Finnish being spoken at every turn; there are Finnish pubs and bars, ads and restaurant menus in Finnish, even the local restaurant and shop workers sometimes greet me in my own language or say “kiitos” when I leave.
But that doesn’t really bother me. I specifically didn’t come here to experience the real Spain. I came here for the weather and the vibrant, beautiful, inspiring colours.
I can, I will, and I have already traveled in Spain to learn about the country and see what it’s really like. This trip is only meant to heal my broken heart and soul.
I’ve thought about it my whole life: what if I spent part of every year somewhere warm? What if I just managed my life so that it would actually be possible?
When I landed here, just an hour after getting off the plane, I felt like I could actually make it happen. If I worked hard and figured some small stuff out (nothing major, even!), I could actually spend my winters in southern Spain.
It’s quite a long flight (a little under 5 hours from Helsinki to Malaga), but it’s still doable. And if something urgent came up in the middle of my winter stay, I could maybe add another roundtrip to the schedule — build a “life managing trip” to Finland around Christmas maybe.
I have jobs that I can do long-distance, or I could pick something up locally. I can do photography anywhere, for sure. I don’t want to lose the lovely job I have with a hotel chain back in Finland right now, but I think even that might be doable. At least most parts of it.
There’s nothing holding me back, really. I don’t have kids or a family (which is sort of sad, but look at all this freedom!), the only thing I’d need to figure out is my precious Einari the dog. But if he managed flights ok, he could escape the winters with me as well, or maybe at least some parts of them.
Friends online have been sharing photos and updates about the weather in Finland right now, and I get seriously anxious when thinking about my flight back next Thursday.
I should’ve booked two or three weeks here, why did I only go for one?
I really don’t know why winter is so appalling to me. Every year I’ve promised myself I’ll stop complaining and just try to have an open mind and a better attitude towards it. But it just doesn’t work. I get miserable in the dark and the chain of monochrome days just get unbearable by the time December or January rolls around.
So why am I fighting? Why am I whining? I just need to change things. I don’t owe a healthy attitude towards my country’s climate to anyone. I can be jealous of people’s excitement over snow and skiing and winter sports but also admit that it’s not for me.
I was not born for that. I was born to live in the light, surrounded by colors, wearing nothing more than a dress and a hoodie on a cool night.
Or if I’d say it in Finnish, it’d sound something like: “Oooo, kesän lapsi mä oon…”