Satu: Destination Unknown
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Norway, etc.
I’m originally from Finland; hence I haven’t landed that far from my home country! Together with my British/Irish husband we settled in Norway in 2010, but we have both spent extended periods here for the last ten years both working and traveling. It was always a dream for us to relocate somewhere where we could easily combine outdoor lifestyle and career, and Norway has proved to be a great place to do it!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging in Finnish almost five years ago, when I left my job in Finland for outdoor adventures around the world. First the blog was mainly for my friends; except that I was little shy to tell them about it… Now my Finnish blog is one of the most popular travel blogs in Finland, and about year ago I also started an “independent” English version of the blog. I have really enjoyed being able to connect more with the international blogging world and audience, and also with my friends abroad who previously had to rely on Google Translate.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Norway differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
There are many similarities in the Norwegian and Finnish cultures and way of living, especially when it comes to the way the society is built up. However, after living here for a while I could start seeing the small subtleties like differences in the work culture. But as I’ve been in and out of Norway so much in the last 10 years there were no real surprises and it was easy to settle in. It was actually easier to settle in Norway now than it was to Finland when I returned there after spending six years abroad studying and working.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Norway? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
This makes for a boring answer but as I said above, both my husband and me had a very good idea of what awaited us; hence it was easy to settle in. After all we were finally fulfilling our dream!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think my spelling in Norwegian has needed quite a bit of brushing up as in the beginning when I was making appointments via telephone, the appointment book usually only had “the Finnish lady” written in… I hope I’ve gotten bit better!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Norway?
- Learn the language: even though almost everyone speaks good English, you will have much better possibilities to connect with the locals and also find new career paths if needed. I’m still working on this…
- Don’t only hold on to the Expat community here, try to get to meet and know as many locals as you can. This will make your experience in Norway more “authentic” and it will also be easier to settle in.
- Travel around Norway as much as you can! Norway is such a beautiful and varied country and there is so much to see!
How is the expat community in Norway? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
When we moved to Lillehammer we actually already had a group of outdoor minded friends, both Norwegian and expats, waiting for us here. Hence this has been the easiest move to a new location we have had, ever!
How would you summarize your expat life in Norway in a single, catchy sentence?
Expat life without the expat feel, I think we’ve found our home!