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Why did I move back to Finland?


Why did I move back to Finland?

Why did I move back to Finland?

Yes, why!? I guess it’s a fair question and a question I have received a lot. I mean, why would someone trade the tropical breeze, warm weather and an easy lazy lifestyle for slush, darkness and the 9- 5 grind? Why oh why would one leave a life of sipping margaritas on the beach and dem delish tacos for a society where the norm is not to say hi to their neighbors.. And lemme tell ya, dem tacos sooo good. So yes, I get it, it’s a legitimate question to ask and I understand that it might seem odd, and rightly so. But before spearheading into the why’s, I just want to acknowledge that it’s kind of impossible to write this post without spilling the beans on some sensitive and personal stuff. I will do my best to not dive into the details of things, partially to protect the people I have crossed paths with and also to protect myself as I don’t see it necessary to vomit my private life all over the interwebs. That being said, my aim has always been to be honest and to express my truth, so there obviously will be some personal sharing along the way. I also want to emphasize that life isn’t always what it looks like and this needs to be addressed more and more and more. The images we see on social media or in blog posts are merely little, snippets of framed perfect moments, so next time you see a chick posing with a coconut on the beach, don’t be fooled, she might actually be lost.

I mean, look at that beauty.  By Jess Leigh.

I mean, look at that beauty. By Jess Leigh.

Perhaps the first step towards answering this question is revealing why I originally moved to Mexico. Well, I moved there right after having graduated to help run my exe’s (important notice, he obviously was not my ex back then) family businesses in a small little beach town, called Sayulita, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. I had been to Sayulita twice before moving there and I had also spent one semester in Bali, Indonesia, so living in a tropical climate was not new to me. Even so, moving somewhere with the possibility of never returning can be a little intimidating. And that it was indeed. Initially, I felt a little anxious, ungrounded and lonely without my tight group of friends and my only support at that time was my partner. I’m a Capricorn and my people are my everything (you might know this if you’re into astrology, however if you think it’s complete woo-woo, well, let’s just say my friends and fam mean a lot to me), so the start was not just smooth sailing. I was surrounded by a new culture and a language that I did’t speak nor understand. I sometimes felt like a sore thumb as I stood out with my light blonde hair, even though Sayulita has a fair share of blonde expats and even more so nowadays. So, what I’m trying to say is, I was faced with some challenges in the beginning. But slowly, just like with anything else in life, I started settling in and making friends and gradually I learned to understand Spanish and then finally later to speak it. Life became easier, things started flowing and all of a sudden I was living the dream in a beautiful, vibrant, boho beach town of Sayulandia (a nickname for Sayulita). My life felt good and things were looking up.

My days consisted of co-leading my exes family businesses (hotels, surf school and shops), practicing yoga, surfing and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, not too bad, huh? So it’s only fair to say that I had a few truly magical years. I was also running my co-owned yoga & surf company, hosting retreats and working for a handful of interesting businesses in a completely new environment. Boy, did I learn a lot and this time definitely shaped me. But as some of us might already have learned in life, life is not always a walk in the park, nor is it always a bed of roses and sometimes it can throw you curve balls. And as you might have guessed, a curve ball was thrown at me. Hard. Eventually it led to me and my ex parting ways.

Okay dokay, so there I was all alone on the other side of the world in a small Mexican beach town. Life hack: do not live in a small town with your ex. Ha, no, but seriously, you can imagine it might just be a little challenging. Also, rumours travel very quickly in small communities and I with all do respect, there’s definitely some cultural differences in how men view women and wether or not it is appropriate to move on (or even be seen out) after a break up (stay tuned for our next podcast on Machismo!!). In the grand scheme of things, I was was alone in Mexico living on the other side of the world far away from my fam going thru a break up in a place that felt like the Big Brother house and everyone was watching the show. As I had worked with my ex (we had a company together) and also with his family biz, it didn’t feel appropriate to continue working with them, so besides to dealing with a break up, I also had to figure out what to do business-wise. Luckily, I quickly found myself on my feet, working with new projects and clients and running my own mini one person company. I also started working within wedding production and for a big luxury hotel along with my private yoga clients. Life was okay…ish, but in all honesty my heart was broken and I felt lost. Fortunately I had a group of amazing friends to share my days with and the distraction of living in a party town. In lack of better phrasing, I had a semi-good time for a while, but as I didn’t fully have a direction in life and was kind of floating in this in-between state of not knowing what to do, I eventually started drifting just a little too much. Unless you have the discipline of a true christian, Sayulita will suck you into the mañana mañana lifestyle. Even tho the easy tropical party paradise lifestyle can sound like all fun and games, it kinda gets old after a while. Not to mention the non existing dating scene in Sayulita that is, well, extremely limited. Slim pickings y’all. Another coping mechanism I had was traveling, which I did to distract myself from the reality of things, and the truth was that I was completely lost. Being lost and ungrounded led me to a couple of very interesting picks on the dating scene (🙈). But they did serve a purpose as they also pushed me towards the direction I needed to go. Which was, back home.

Easy living in Mex.  By Jess Leigh.

Easy living in Mex. By Jess Leigh.

Slowly but surely I started playing more with the idea of moving back home to the motherland. I even flew to Finland in January just “to see” if I could cope with the darkness and cold weather after having lived in the tropics for so long. My conclusion and field research prove me that it was doable, however not ideal, so I needed to think some more, I reasoned. After my trip to Finland in the winter, I returned back to Mex to now in hindsight, seal the deal and confirm my exit. Another few negative challenges took place of which I can name these few; my house was broken into, my safety emptied (yes they use a lot of cash in Mex and the nearest bank was a 35 min drive away) and I got stung by a venomous scorpion. The latter one was pretty gnarly and almost felt like I was being kicked out of Sayulita. Or as my friends like to put it, I graduated from Sayulita. So being the intuitive spiritual tree hugger that I am, I finally listened to that little whisper inside of me that actually at this point was more like a scream than a whisper, saying “buy a one way ticket to Finland” and so I did. And after that, things just aligned.

Okay, if you spent any time in Finland last summer you probs know that last summer was pretty darn stellar. Some people might call it false marketing, but it surely lured me in. People were happy and smiling, the sun was shining and the weather was almost well, tropical….. but most importantly, it felt right. When you are aligned with your direction, things have a tendency of falling into the right places and sure enough I met an amazing person that summer as well. He might have helped with the whole marketing campaign of Finland being pretty cool 🤩.

So here I am, now 7 months later after having relocated back to Finland (I had to go back to Mex after the summer in Finland), feeling grounded for the first time in a very long time. And, yes, of course the winter sucked, and yes of course I miss Mexico and yes of course I miss my friends and yes Mexico holds a place in my heart forever, but YES, this is where I am supposed to be right now. And it feels freaking fantastic to FINALLY feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be. Because I haven’t felt that in a very long time. And at the end of the day, Finland is such a great place to live in (and we also just won the world championships in ice hockey!!), regardless of the grumpy, non saluting neighbours. And luckily I am privileged enough to be able to travel (yes, I know climate change, but there’s a blog post about this) and visit Mex, which I am planning to do in November (the suckiest month in Finland, come with?).

So if there’s only one thing you take away from reading this whole long story, it’s listen to your gut. Because it knows. Sometimes it’s hard to hear, but the whisper is always there. So pay attention.

Con amor,