Helsinki, Singapore, Angry Birds & Canning Life’s Good Moments

September 30, 2011 Katja Presnal

Last week I traveled to Helsinki, Finland and to Singapore in Asia – and back to my home in New York. That’s total of 40 hours on air, if you wondered.

I participated in a very special flight by Finnish airline Finnair. It was a special Angry Birds flight from Helsinki to Singapore (an 11,5 hour flight!) and an Asian Angry Birds Challenge was played on board (I didn’t win). Yes, Angry Birds as the game! This was the same trip I also visited Angry Birds / Rovio headquarters in Finland.

The trip was amazing, I was able to see my family in Finland, and also see the first day of Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix. If you are not familiar with Formula 1 racing, it’s like champagne to Bud Light compared to Nascar. Overall the trip included some super high highlights and super low bad news I was not prepared to face at all, and combining it all, and the excitement, the jet lag, time difference and sleeping around 3 hours a night I came home entirely beat, but at the same time more excited, more thankful for what I have and more full of energy than I have been for the longest time.

I will share more photos from the trip at Skimbaco Travel, and I have any stories to share from the trip and hopefully I will get the write them all soon, but I wanted to first share what happened on my journey back home and when I got home…

44 Hour Journey from Singapore to New York

It took me 44 hours from leaving my hotel in Singapore to walk through the doors of my home. The 44 hours were nuts, but in a good way. After leaving my hotel, I carried my luggage through the streets of hot Singapore, did last minute sightseeing and eventually left my bag with my friend’s hotel concierge while going to watch Formula 1. Luckily I was able to sneak a shower at hotel’s pool area (my luggage IN the shower with me – I didn’t have anywhere else to put it!) after being outdoors in the 100F+ weather at the race before taking the train to Singapore airport around 10PM local time. After enjoying airport sushi (yum!) I took another 11,5-hour flight back to Helsinki, Finland arriving 8AM local time.

My flight to New York wasn’t outbound until 2 o’clock on the afternoon, and believe me I was temped to take a nap on the comfy couch in the lobby of Hotel GLO at the airport (love the hotel, also the one downtown Helsinki, highly recommend), or pamper myself at the Finnair Lounge Spa & Sauna, which is a must do if you ever fly via Helsinki (5 luxurious saunas and pool area looking into the airport runway & the landing aircrafts).

But instead.. I decided to take a bus to downtown Helsinki and do a two-hour walking tour around the city on my own and take pictures of my old hometown (I lived in Helsinki when I went to college) and have a cinnamon bun and a coffee in my favorite cafe for the old time’s sake. I did a lot of reflecting back in time in this trip, including seeing a friend I hadn’t seen for 14 years and talking with my family how our lives have drifted apart as I have semi-rooted myself in the US. I even walked by one of my old places where I worked while in college… I managed the computerized inventory system for Mulberry Shop, and while it may not sound anything today, but it was a Big New Thing in 1996. And well, Mulberry keeps just getting better and better.

Coming Home & Canning Life’s Good Moments, and Some Apple Jam

They say that world travel changes you, and I couldn’t agree more. Traveling and moving around has been our lifestyle the past 14 years, even though we are not very good at “vacation traveling”. Our three children were born in different countries, and the past 9 years we have lived in the United States we have lived in several different states, and our life has had this state of movement all the time, and living like on a long staycation – this is what Skimbaco lifestyle is to me.

I sure love to travel, and see different places, and open myself to new influences. It certainly is a richness in life I crave for more. And it’s about canning all of these moments and experiences in the cellars of your mind and reaching out to them when you need them the most.

What is important to note though; traveling doesn’t just change you because of the things you see, people you meet. Traveling can be very high stress, you have to be flexible (or if you are not, you can have the worst time of your life) and enjoy whatever comes along and you have to be OK with the fact that the unknown might not be what you expected. Or sometimes the things you experience can absolutely blow your mind away, and coming home to your everyday grind might be some sort of…. a hell.

Traveling changes you – because it also changes how you live your everyday life after you come home, if you let it do so.

If you truly travel, open your mind, see with your heart, and let the experience mold your mind and soul, traveling will have an impact on how you live your everyday life. This may seem too deep, and unfortunately you might not get this feeling after coming back home from a tourist trip, but from a trip where you have tested your own limits.

Needless to say, flying to Europe to Asia to Europe to North-America in less than 7 days was testing my limits just for my capability to sit still! Adding everything else to the equation – I was in sensory overload and sleep deprived to the least. Once I got home I slept 12 hours straight and when I woke up, I was like a whole new person. The trip had truly made me to reflect on my life, and mentally start writing my bucket list (MUST travel MORE), and canning life’s good moments. I felt the deepest of the deep gratitude for my husband, and children, and our family unit.

And on Sunday… I didn’t just can all of the memories from the trip but also canned some apple jam in honor of my aunt and my family in Finland. I grew up next to an apple orchard and my family still has apple trees on their yard, and my aunt had made this amazing apple jam…

Believe it or not, that’s what life is all about, doing small things in your everyday life that make you happy, like making or enjoying homemade apple jam. Sometimes we just need to go to the other side of the world to remember it.

Disclosure: Finnair paid my flights and one night stay in Singapore but I was not asked to write this post. My opinions are my own, as usual.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (3)

  1. Naomi

    I love this post, Katja. It combines whirlwind travel, luxury and the comforts of home- totally you!

  2. Love this, Katja! I agree with you about traveling. It changes you; it opens your mind in a way that nothing else can. I grew up with my Dad working in international business and I got to travel a ton – I had NO IDEA how lucky I was and how much it shaped me until I got older. I have to go somewhere – anywhere – every couple of months, it’s kind of like my thinking gets plugged up if I stay in one spot too long. I totally respect that you made the most of every second and didn’t cave into sleeping when you had a short time in Helsinki – but that’s what you do! It’s interesting to ‘travel’ to a city you used to live in, isn’t it? Like you are kind of a tourist, but not really.

  3. Wow sounds like you had a trip of a lifetime! I’m so glad you had a great time. I cant wait to see and hear more about your trip!

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