I've always been seen as a bit on the boring side, or at least that's the impression I have been left with. It doesn't mean necessarily that I agree, it's just that my variegated inner world does not often shine through. Although, I do have a certain version of courage which is more to do with having trust and faith that I am protected.
By no means am I some crazy and wild adventurer. Perhaps even too sensible or careful, to prevent finding myself in neck-breakingly dangerous situations. Nor am I in the habit of starting conversations with strangers merely for the purpose of finding new friends - that is something that needs work for sure :) I'm more the quiet observer and philosopher who notices details, synchronicities, the beauty and peculiarity of nature or manmade, buildings, art, local people in their everyday environment. A proper introvert, right? Most of all, my purpose is to write my experiences down realistically and truthfully, and not "photoshopping" them to fit Instagram travel standards (up to the point where people use mirrors to create false impressions of reflecting water in places where there's no water in sight for miles). In terms of photography as art, the images look fascinating, especially when you add flowing-in-the-wind colourful dresses in the midst of ancient ruins, but for the people who actually want to visit those places in the world based on what they've seen on photos, it may cause unrealistic expectations, and therefore, disappoitment.
The change is faster than the plan - that wisdom I later learned from Buddhists, I had actually followed from the start without knowing. Here, in this blog, I will mainly write about what crossed my path during the 1,3 years away. And I do mean "crossed my path" in the sense that my main idea was to just let my intuition guide me, to not plan big but just follow where my feet (and planes) take me. There weren't so many touristy spots I specifically went to see and prepared for early - very often I just stepped out of my temporary home onto the street and let chance guide me, turning to whichever way I felt I wanted to turn at the time, this street or that road, whatever felt "right". Sometimes I found my way to nowhere, other times I happened to come across wonderful small behind-the-scenes spots that were especially charming in their local ordinariness. I tried to see as much as possible, at the same time leaving room to breathe and taking it all in. I've done the mindless bucket list rush a few times earlier, and what I've found is that often the memory reserve (not just the camera's but the brain's) fills up quicker than your body feeling tired, and everything just becomes a blur. Taking things easy gave me a chance to experience various places and towns more through the eyes of a half-local and not just someone passing through quickly. I walked a lot on foot, unrushed, be it just to visit a cake shop 5 km away for their most famous taro cake. The route there was up to me. I do believe this helped me create a completely different, a more whole picture of certain places because, in addition to the external glory of the tourist locations, I've gotten lost in and peeked into behind-the-corner, more everyday, often insignificant streets and neighbourhoods, where it's usually the local people's feet gracing the stone surface (or sometimes, mud).
Of course, I did have time.
The purpose of this blog is not to create some grandiose travel story compilation but to bring back the events and places that are already starting to fade in my memory, and write them down, even if it's just for myself. For me, this is writing practice. Doing things for yourself is often the best way to create the most natural result, and if there are others who can benefit from it, then why not share? I carried a paperback journal with me on my travels that I wrote in occasionally but there are large gaps in some places, and it requires the help of my photos now (of which there's a LOT) to put the story together. Also, the world has been locked in many ways and nobody really knows what traveling will become like in a few years. So, perhaps this is the best time to remember what it was like to go mask-free, when the only restriction for any well-behaving person, were visas.
In conclusion, I wish to share my experiences with anyone who is interested, even if just in some specific country. Still, I have to mention that I didn't see the day-to-day so much from the perspective of a journalist or an adventurer but more from trying to figure out why am I even here and what can I learn from it?
The first chapters here are not brand new but rather a mixture of some of my previous posts from my old (private) blog, which have been edited for the purpose of updating and personal preference. As the old blog was not chronological, I'll probably weave in some of the old, and more "in the moment" posts here in the future. I decided to call this upcoming creation Treeleaf Diary - because I went where the wind blew.
- Puulehepäeviku sissekanne 3.4: Jaapan, Nozawa. Vihmastest käikudest ja toidust
- Treeleaf Diary entry 3.3: Japan, Nozawa Onsen, Hokuryu lake
- Treeleaf Diary entry 3.2: Japan, Nagano Prefecture, Nozawa Onsen Village
- Treeleaf Diary entry 3.1: Kyoto, Japan
- Treeleaf Diary entry 2: Hong Kong
- Treeleaf Diary entry 1.4: USA – L.A – Hollywood
- Treeleaf Diary entry 1.3: USA - Los Angeles
- Treeleaf Diary entry 1.2: USA - San Francisco
- Treeleaf Diary entry 1.1: USA - Oakland