Life in the big smoke

Dreaming of northern places

Last night I googled the largest islands in the world. It turns out the fifth largest island is called Baffin. It’s a place I’ve never heard of before, but when I found it on a map I realised it’s that large island north of Canada which sort of looks like an upside down unicorn. Apparently it’s a popular destination for base jumpers because there are many amazing cliffs. It’s also home to around eleven thousand people. The capital is called Iqaluit.

Iqaluit. Image by Leslie Coates via

I sometimes read a blog called Where is Acacia, by photographer Acacia Johnson who travels to many amazing northern places, trekking over snow and ice. She is pretty inspiring. This morning I checked my bloglovin feed (because I didn’t want to start writing just yet) and Acacia is currently in Iqaluit. I find these coincidences interesting. When you hear about something new it starts popping up in random places.

I would like to go to Iqaluit. I’d like to go to Greenland, Svalbard, to the North Sea coast in Norway and to remote Scottish islands.

A while ago I read an article on Aeon magazine by a British writer who left her life in London behind and moved up to Orkney to work with Cornrakes. It’s an interesting and peaceful read.

Perhaps it’s because it’s early in the morning, perhaps it’s because I’m a bit stressed and it’s grey outside and the nights are creeping ever closer to the mornings, but this sort of life holds a lot of appeal to me at the moment – the sea wind blowing outside, a fire keeping away the worst of the winter cold, air that’s not been polluted by hundreds of thousands of cars and buses.

When I first moved to the UK I liked the softness of the colours here, all that pollution in the air, the greens and blues muted and warm, there’s a hint of yellow in the leaves and the grass. Now I miss the clear, harsh blue of home. I miss the white of winter, the dialed up colours of clear summer days. The bright reds and yellows in the autumn.

I grew up in a small town in rural Finland. I didn’t see the trees and sea shores and the open skies. I didn’t listen to the rain beating against the roof at night or the wind howling during autumn storms. I hated chopping wood for winter fires and raking leaves in September. I wanted to escape, I wanted to go away, learn, grow, run around big cities with a take away coffee in one hand, hailing taxis and reading books in cafés like cool people do in movies. And here I am in London. The pendulum swings past where it all started, to another extreme.

Top image by Blake Richard Verdoorn.


tors says:

The grass is always greener? Here in Wales, around the village I live in, the tinge of yellow in the grass and leaves is strong, a leftover of the coal mining that took place above the village no doubt. Very different to the deep greens of my childhood home in Hertfordshire. I think the urge to nest is stronger at this time of year, for me that’s warm fires and weather hitting stone walls whilst I’m cwtched up inside, so I totally get where you’re coming from! Recently, I’ve been day dreaming of moving to Iceland, it’s been so long since I last travelled, all those places you mentioned are on my list now too! Here’s hoping our feet takes us to the places of our dreams!

Lotta says:

Hi Tors! Omg, wanderlust. I think you’re right, the urge to nest is definitely stronger at this time of the year. I start daydreaming about fires as well, somehow they’re such a perfect symbol for cozy evenings indoors. Iceland would be an amazing place to visit. But there must be plenty of beautiful places to explore in Wales as well. It’s a part of the country I’d love to see more of. My husband’s parents have recently moved to Worcestershire and we’ve made plans to go hillwalking around those parts whenever there isn’t too much work to do, which is a bit of a lame excuse because there always seems to be too much work to do. Good luck with your travel plans!

Leave a Reply