Walking and Wellbeing in Kalajoki
I spend a lot of time outdoors in my normal daily life and take several long walks every week all through the year. On my visit to Kalajoki again, I was keen to explore what the Kalajoki hiking routes are like.
But first I wanted to visit the seaside again, and we drove to the shore over-looking the Rahja ( ラフヤ) archipelago. The sky was clear that day and the sea water was of the bluest of blue. We found a quiet cliff by the water and decided to stay there for a while. I sat on the stony cliff and enjoyed looking at the sea, and Amaya practised her stone skipping skills. The sea was just stunning with many small islands in front of us, the sun sparkles danced on the surface of the water. I could have stayed there for hours. For a short while, I also meditated sitting on the cliff, just enjoying the closeness of the water and the sunshine on this early summer’s day.
After spending time by the water, I wanted to go and explore the forest routes and do some walking. We drove down to walking routes near Siiponjoki, I had heard would be pretty. We walked along foresty naturel trails, which varied from quite sandy and hard to walk on to more like small forest roads.
The forest near Siiponjoki was dry pine wood forest with lots of grey reindeer moss in some place and lingonberry plants.
Closer to the river the forest was more varied and we noticed that lots of unripe blueberries. These blueberries won’t ready for another month or so. But we were glad to notice that it is going to be a good blueberry year this year. Amaya and I always pick lots of wild blueberries in the summer and home-freeze them for winter-use. (Blueberry season is around mid-July till mid-August.)
I had been listening to an audiobook on the Japanese forest therapy, shinrin-yoku before our visit to Kalajoki, and listening to it gave me a new perspective and interest to try something new (to me) during our walk. I have never tried it before but now I wanted to try lying flat quietly in the forest. So that is what we did and just lay there, looking at the tree tops. I could feel the ground, the whole globe holding my weight as I lay there. I felt so sleepy and relaxed when we finally got up, after resting our bodies and souls on the foresty Kalajoki ground.
After listening about shinrin-yoku, I also wanted to touch tree trunks, feel if they were warm after soaking in the afternoon sun. I do spend a lot of time outdoors but I just often just see trees nearby, maybe even watch them but often still walk past them. That day in Kalajoki I wanted to try what a closer connection to the forest and trees felt like – and I loved it.
Another way to walk and enjoy forests in Finland is to walk on exercise tracks that are covered often with sawdust or something similarly soft and have lights for darker periods of the year. You can find these exercise tracks (pururata, プルラタ) in or nearby most towns and cities (even smaller villages can have them). These tracks are easier to walk on during the summer and autumn as they have flat, even surface. During the winter these tracks are maintained for cross-country skiing and they have skiing tracks on them. For these exercise tracks, you can often find maps online. These photos are from an exercise track near the Santa’s Resort & Spa Hotel Sani in Kalajoki. I could imagine them in the winter time when people do cross-country skiing before relaxing in the spa and hot sauna afterward.
Kalajoki has some lovely spaces from quiet seaside spots, to nature trails and exercise tracks for walking, meditation, relaxation and for enjoying the beautiful, calming Finnish nature around us.
Monika is a Finnish lifestyle expert and published non-fiction author.
Monika’s new book マイタイム 自分もまわりも幸せになる「自分のための時間」のつくり方 by Discover 21 has come out in Japan in April 2018! With this book, she wants to tell you how Finnish working parents can handle both family life and career at the same time. With adding the concept of ”my time” to your days, you can find balance in your busy work-family life situation and learn to nurture yourself. This new book is Monika’s third book published in Japan and it continues her series of books about Finland, its people and the Finnish lifestyle. Read more about this book at www.d21.co.jp/shop/isbn9784799322543
Monika has a nearly 20 years of experience dealing with the Japanese market. She also has a background in international marketing and sales (e.g. in telecoms, medical technology, and business consultancy).
Monika has lived both in Japan and the UK twice and is currently living in her home town of Oulu, in the Northern Finland, with her daughter. Monika enjoys reading, walking, meditation and spending time in the nature.