Heading to the Other Side of the World

The trip of a lifetime is what I’m calling it. In just a couple of days I will be doing something I’ve dreamed of for years, and that is heading to Finland to visit my relatives over there.

Having corresponded with them for many years, I had the opportunity to meet them very briefly (8 hours or so) when I was on Unlock the Past’s Baltic Cruise back in 2015 when our ship stopped at Helsinki for the day (you can read about that here and here). That was super awesome, but nowhere near long enough.

So since then I’ve been saving my dollars and am now actually going … and I’m rather hyper excited about it? Can you tell?

Anyway for those who don’t know, I am 1/8th Finnish, the rest being a mix of English and Irish. Otto Rafael Winter was my Finnish great grandpa who became seaman as a way of getting out of compulsory service to the Russian Army.  And after sailing the world on cargo ships for a number of years, he jumped ship in Australia in 1907, settled in South Australia, got married and had a family … and interestingly enough even signed up to fight in both WW1 and WW2 as an Australian.

Finland map on a world map with flag and map pointer. Vector illustration

Finland is where the little blue pointer is up the top

For a change this is not a work trip for me, but rather an actual holiday, though I am hoping to hit the National Archives of Finland for a little research and suss out the National Library of Finland as is one library which is always on the “libraries you you must see lists” while I’m there. But other than that I’m playing tourist, taking in the sights, scenes, and daily life of Finland, as well as generally just taking a break.

While I’m not exactly looking forward to the LOOOOOONG flights (all 3 of them) to get there, and travelling the 19,000 kilometres (I checked and that’s pretty close to half way around the world), I still have to be thankful that I’m travelling by plane and not boat, as those journey’s were not hours or days … but MONTHS. And yet that’s what our ancestors lived with when they emigrated. How they managed that, I can’t begin to imagine. But then again there was no other alternative in that era.

Comparing Australia and Finland

comparing the size of Finland to Australia (source: Mapfight)

Anyway I’m already learning a little about Finland already:
– to compare the size of Finland to Australia, it’s a little bit bigger than Victoria.
– their Summer temperatures are pretty similar to what we’ve been having in Adelaide recently in our Winter at present, mid-high teens.
– Finnish is the national language (as you would expect), Swedish is their second language, and English their third. Fortunately for me they understand English, as I have no idea on how to pronounce any of their words … but I’m sure my relis will have fun listening to me try.

Anyway, subject to me having time and wifi … my posts over the next couple of weeks are likely to primarily be pics of my trip … so stay tuned.

Where would your trip of a lifetime take you to?

9 Responses to “Heading to the Other Side of the World”

  1. Crissouli says:

    Have a wonderful holiday, Alona..well deserved. I’m looking foward to the photos and the stories..and of course, the library !

  2. Audrey Dillon says:

    With Swedish,Irish, & English Ancestry my Trip of a Lifetime would include all three. As younger family members do travel with excellent cameras, I manage to view the world through their wonderful travel photos via Facebook. I’ll also enjoy seeing your pics, Alona. Enjoy everyday. Audrey

    • Alona says:

      Audrey, it’s so good that you’re getting to experience the travels through other family members. “Enjoy everyday” … I’m sure I’ll have a ball!

  3. Geraldene says:

    Hi Alona, All the best for this trip you have been so looking forward to. It should be amazing. We will be praying for safe and uneventful travel for you, and that you have a wonderful time getting to know another side of your family.
    Love to you,

  4. Pauleen says:

    Have a super time!

  5. GenieJen says:

    Have a fabulous time in Finland. I’ll enjoy your photos as well. Safe travels.

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