My books so far. More information on them (in Finnish, though).
My name is Jouni Laaksonen and I am full-time freelance journalist and author of over a dozen guidebooks, all this in Finnish language. All my writings and photos are about hiking, and mostly hiking in Finland.
I was born and raised in Helsinki area, in the crowded Southern Finland. However, I do not feel at home in cities, and in 2001 we moved to Kainuu county, to the borderland between Northern and Eastern Finland. I, and my family, we enjoy living in countryside, where the forest starts right from my own yard.
When my book Vaeltajan opas (guidebook on the hiking skills you need in Finland, in summer and winter) was published in 2008, one reviewer said, very freely translated: ”The information in this book is part of Finnish national heritage. The book summarises the survival skills of our northern people in every kind of wilderness situations. The book will find also international interest, when it, as I hope, is translated to some more widespread language.”
Hikers in Urho Kekkonen National Park.
This ignited the idea in my mind. Not to translate just that book, but to write a book from the point of view of a non-Finnish traveller and hiker, and to cover both the skills and also the best destinations in Finland. In fact, as I look to the idea now, in 2017, what I’m going to do is to squeeze three Finnish books into one English one:
1) the above mentioned guidebook on skills, seasons, terrain, gear needed in these conditions, Finnish map and coordinate systems etc; in short, the Finnish hiking culture
2) my guidebook to Finland’s National Parks
3) my guidebook to the largest wilderness areas of Finland
(If you are interested in these books, you can see their covers and some example pages in www.iki.fi/jel. There’s lots of information on each book, too, but only in Finnish.)
During this decade I have tried from time to time to promote this idea to my Finnish publishers, but they are not keen to publish books in other languages than Finnish. I have had to set this project aside many times, as I’ve written new Finnish guidebooks on some new aspects of hiking. I also tried to contact Lonely Planet, but never got any answer.
In 2016, I got a grant for writing The Hiker’s Guide to Finland, or something alike. Hey, please, tell me what the book title should be? Hiking in Finland is out of question, as there has been Hendrik Morkel’s blog with that name for many years.
There are 188 000 lakes in Finland. One paradise for paddlers is Hossa National Park.
I wrote this book for several months by that grant, but again in 2017 I had to postpone this project, as a book in Finnish had to be completed. Now in winter 2017–2018 I’m writing Hiker’s Guide again earnestly, for I got another grant for the job.
This page was written in December 2017. Now, a new addition in March 2018: I have finally made a publishing contract with a Finnish publisher. The book will be published in spring 2019.
Finland is a marvellous hiking destination, as is your country, too, I’m sure. Every country I have visited has had it’s own great advantages for a hiker and nature enthusiast. But in this blog, and the book, I concentrate in Finland and I hope my writings give our country more visibility internationally. I hope I can give insight to Finland’s hiking destinations and seasons that differ a lot from each other. And I hope to get new friends, hikers throughout the world: hopefully we create interesting discussion about different ways of hiking in various parts of the world.
One of thousands of campfire sites in Finland. Seitseminen National Park.
If you were interested enough to read until here, you might want to read my very first blog post. That first post explains further my thoughts for starting this blog.
My intention is to write a new post here at least once a week. I will ponder different hiking cultures, and these I will categorize under “Finnish way of hiking”. I will also often tell about memorable treks I have made by myself, with my friends, or with my family of wife and two daughters. These hikes will show different parts of Finland, and all the seasons. These trip reports will be categorized under “Opposites = trip reports”.