I’ve been putting off writing this blog for a few weeks now, not because I don’t want to talk about our amazing adventure but because I simply do not know how to put into words just how unbelievable it was.
At face value, this trip was all about raising as much money as possible for charity, which we did thanks to all your support. However, in reality the experience we had there was so much more than that (what happens in Finland stays in Finland)
I recently read a post saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if adults still have sleepovers with their mates where they all crashed over at someone’s house, stayed up all night laughing, talking, no phones, no tv…. just pure and simple fun? Well that is exactly what this trip was all about!
Yes we had the three physical challenges to complete, which believe me were harder and colder than we expected. However, the trip was so much bigger than that.
To think 12 women rocked up to Manchester airport on that Sunday morning, knowing only one or two other people there but prepared to put aside any shyness to spend a week with strangers to take on this challenge – that is something in itself.
As i expected by the end of that evening any nerves or apprehension had been set aside and for the next 5 days we would all bond as a team and share in a once in a lifetime experience.
It was THIS that made the trip for me.
Don’t get me wrong the setting was out of this world, literally like walking through Narnia. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life – it was breathtaking and no photographs could ever do it justice.
The three challenges were tough and we had a few technical problems (aka runaway husky’s) but oh my god how much we laughed while doing them. It made me think that I had not laughed like this for a long time, too long in fact. Maybe sleepovers are the way forward?
It was this time spent with the team that made the trip for me. In the real world, we all live busy chaotic lives constantly attached to mobile devices and living at such a fast pace that life passes before us without even realising! We all promise to see each other more and ask when each other is free but how often do we follow through on it? If I’m honest, not enough!
It was different here in this little wooden cabin in the snow covered forest. We had basic amenities, limited (if any) WiFi signal and not a luxury item in sight. Yet we had the best time.
At night we took sledges outside and pulled each other up and down hills like children belly laughing as we crashed into snow piles at the bottom. We lit fires and sat around chatting and learning all about the new people and their lives outside of Finland.
The real world felt so far away and it was a real eye opening experience to actually slow down, switch off and just enjoy living in that moment. It was like being back at school on a camping trip with your best friends. We built an igloo, we threw snowballs, we acted out scenes from Dirty Dancing in the snow (and failed miserably), we Ice dipped in the frozen lake, we sat up till the early hours talking rubbish and throughout it all we laughed non stop. It was the best sleepover I’ve ever been to!
During the challenge days, the temperatures dropped so cold that our mobile phones would not work. Disaster! Actually, it wasn’t because that meant rather than looking at this amazing life through the camera lens and deciding which filter would look best we were actually taking in the amazing scenery and appreciating just how beautiful it all was through our own eyes. I remember skiing across the frozen lake and being able to see for miles and it started snowing. As the snowflakes landed on me I realised for the first time in my 37 years on earth that they actually fall in the shape of a snowflake! Who knew? Or maybe everyone did know and I’ve just been too busy to notice.
It really made me think that this trip wasn’t just about charity nor about completing a fitness challenge. We gained just as much in the time we spent in our cabin late into the evenings as we did on the challenge and that is what I’ll remember our trip for.
It reminded me that I need to slow down and appreciate the people and opportunities around me before they pass me by. I need to make time for my friends and family but more importantly I need to make time for me.
I asked the women to sum up their experience in one word and couldn’t have put it better myself…….