Right away from the start I stayed true to my principle of allowing last minute route changes, as only a few kilometers into my trip I already decided to make the first adjustment.

I had decided to cycle through Karigasniemi, but there are two ways to get there from Inari. One is an easy paved road that had been my main choice, while the other was a quieter gravel option. Just when I was about to pass the junction with the latter, I remembered that’s the one that passes through a portion of Lemmenjoki - Finland’s largest national park!

For the first few legs of my journey, these guys will be a common sight.

You see, somewhere in all the fuss and kebabble of finishing my studies, starting a business, hanging out with friends, packing and moving out, and all the other preparations, I’d forgotten what the trip was actually about: Nature - especially national parks and other nature destinations and reserves. How could I not visit the nearest one?

So I took an early exit off the main road.

From past experience I know it will take a few days to get mentally adjusted to a life outdoors. At home I honestly spend too much time online or at the computer, and it becomes a powerful habit to break. Therefore in the beginning of a tour the mind still wants to check email and Facebook messages and other such nonsense. I don’t actively miss those things, it’s just a habit.

So to steer my mind I found it helpful to focus on my surroundings instead, I tuned in to the sound of birds, tried to spot reindeer in the forests, looked for the occasional cloud on an otherwise clear sky, or the way sunlight fell between the trees.

Staying a little more present will become easier quickly, but for now it requires some work as I get fully comfortable with my new life.

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