Life is full of surprises… and this year there has been plenty of them… And I’m not talking about this “pandemic”, even though that brings it’s own difficulties to our community..
I have been battling a tropical disease since end of last year, and wasn’t sure if hosting would be possible this year.. However, I have decided to do it anyway, even though my strenght is nowhere near what it was last year.. So, I am glad to announce, that I’ll be welcoming people also this summer, but want you to know before you make up your mind, that there is a possibility that I would have to be hospitalized for a little while, but even if that happens, you could still stay in my place, there would be other people there too, and you could use my car for some of the time to explore Finland :)
I’m Anna, a truth seeker, that had explored the world intensly all my life. I am trying to settle in Finland right now, after being mostly on the road for two decades.
I went to Drama School both in LA and London in my early twenties, and spent a few good years touring different countries with different theatre companies, whilst having a base in London.
I am also a photographer, having done some travel photography, but what I was really passionate about, was documenting crises regions and social problems around third world countries. So I was sent to Haiti for rebuilding projects, Nepal to document orphanages around the country, India to document abandoned widows and human trafficing, etc. etc. Always wanted to help people in any way I could. As well as animals. I have a 13 year old son, Onni, and together we started dog projects and volunteered in a few animal sancuaries both in Thailand and India. My son speaks 3 languages fluently, and together we have traveled and couchsurfed in 6 different continents and hosted an equal amount at home (wherever that had been at times).
Fifteen years ago I discovered new age spirituality, and very soon my journey to discover and heal myself took a life of its own, and I was taken first to India and Nepal for many years and then all over the world. I was teaching yoga, reiki and meditation in different retreats (and had a school in India for six years). I also organised buddhist pilgrim trips many times, and together we always spent several days with Dalai Lama, when he was teaching the tibetans in different monasteries.. I also did healings and councelings, published guided meditation CD’s and one book. In 2017 I was shown what's behind all the new age spirituality, had an earth shaking super natural experience and two months after having received the title "ambassador of yoga" from the president of Yoga Alliance international, I stopped everything and walked away from it all. Knowing what's behind it, I don't practice it in any form anymore.
So all of a sudden there was no big reason to be on the road anymore, and I told myself we need to finally settle down, and Onni needs to go to School like everyone else, and not be homeschooled on bus stations, trains, beaches, etc… It hasn't really happened yet, although getting there slowly. Since that decision, me and Onni, have still backpacked through South-America for five months, through Turkey all the way to the Mt. Ararat, where we found Noah's Ark, and just adventured though Middle East and island hopped on the Mediterranean Sea..
So… in some kind of weird state of mind, I came across this internet auction for a country property last year, and thought if we lived in the country side, had tons of animals, then we would HAVE to settle. So I started bidding, got a big loan and now own a property in Toijala with 1,8 hectare of forest, an unfinished two storey house, a carage and there is a horse stable on the property as well, although the ownership of that is complicated at the moment…
During our travels, we did have a place in Helsinki, that was almost always rented out, but it was something to call home and come back to for a little while in between adventures. We still have the same flat in central Helsinki, in Kallio (the trendiest neighborhoods in Helsinki), that had a pipe renovation last spring, and to polish it up afterwards, I finally joined workaway last May, and together we made the flat beautiful :)
The experience with workaway was amazing in Helsinki, so we naturally continued that on the country side during June-September 2019. We still have the place in central Helsinki, in Kallio (the trendiest neighborhoods in Helsinki), but during the summer of 2020 it will mostly be rented out to finance the building in Toijala. All workaways during June and July 2019 spent a lot of time in Helsinki, as it could not have been rented out yet then to others (tons of renovation noise all around the building), and pretty much everyone said that they liked being in the country side better. So the project is defienetly continuing with workaway next Summer!!
This place in the country side has so many things to do!! Somehow I always need to do things the hard way (yes, in the end it’s always the most rewarding, and the biggest and deepest learning experience, although during the process never feels like it!!)…. so I bought this property in an internet auction, because the bank had taken legal custody of it due to the previous owners not paying any of their mortgage for eight years (instead they bought boats, jet skiis, new cars, etc…). They started to build the house in 2011, but stopped it when downstares was somehow livable. With amazing and adventurous workaways, during the summer months of 2019, we insulated upstares and the carage, as well as made space around the house by taking trees down and having a never ending bonfire, burning tons and tons of broken furniture, trash, ruined building materials, etc., Then this autumn I renewed the kitchen and worked on the inside space in the house, until I realized it’s not that comphy during the winter yet, and decided to wait until next Spring to continue.
In August 2019, I took three long term workaways to a private island outside of Rauma on the west coast of Finland. My parents own it, and we went there to chill and show them other kind of Finish nature. While we were there, my parents got inspired about workaway, and in Summer 2020, I will go to the island with some workaways for two weeks. So if someone wants to experience the Finnish archipelago, let me know :)
In the Summer of 2020, we would mainly spend in Toijala. The place is near a lake, and only 5,5, km from Toijala train station, from which there are fast trains to Helsinki, Turku and Tampere many times in an hour. Tampere is only 20 minutes by train, and Helsinki and Turku 1,5 hours. You can borrow my car/bicyckle to get to the train station. Or ask me for a lift.
There are some bars and restaurants in the town, but what everyone wanted to do last summer every evening, was to go to Sauna, swimming and bbq’ing by the lake whenever we finished work. There is a lot of nature (1,8 hectars of forest) as well as peace and quitness around the place.
The work there includes finishing the upstares: building dry walls, plastering and sanding them, and then painting. Putting floorboards on, etc. etc. So people with some construction and especially experience in electricity are super welcome!! There is also some landskaping work, and deck building, as well as home deco stuff.. Wide variety of things, which is super exciting to learn, as most people will have their own place at some point, and then have all sorts of skills to make it look their own :)
Depending on the bookings, we can certainly spend some nights in Helsinki, when it’s not booked.
In Helsinki everything is within a walking distance, and I can give you lots of tips about different places to visit!!
The island on the west coast is near Rauma (it’s old town is an UNESCO world heritage). We visited that together with last summer’s workaways, as well as took boat trips to some other islands. The boys also borrowed my car to drive to Turku for some days.
The volunteer work on the island will be quite physical and mainly includes landscaping, but also repairing the boat deck. You can check from my feedback, that everyone has loved spending time and working with my dad, as he is very very kind person, with 83 years of experience behind him.
When I first started workaway, I only had one volunteer at the time, and they had their own private room. Then I started being bombarded with messages and took more and more. with more workways at the same time, people didn’t have private rooms anymore, but actually liked that more, as they became very good friends with each other and loved spending time together. Most likely if you come for the Summer 2020, the accomodation would always be on shared bases.
But you would be taken good care of nevertheless!!!
DIY and building projects
With us you would see many sides of Finland :) And you would most defienetly become part of the family, not just a volunteer!!
Last Summer, while we stayed in Toijala, I took people every single night to the lake for Sauna and very often we stayed for bbq too. Together we also visited Rauma, Turku, Tampere, Hämeenlinna, and a zillion different places in Helsinki.
Since I have travelled so much, I can give all sorts of useful tips for others, and have saved a lot of money from some of the Volunteers by getting them much cheaper tickets for different flights and ferries. Plus you would get to enjoy food from many different cultures!!
Building some dry walls, putting floorboards on, plastering, sanding and painting walls. Building shelves and cabinets, even some home decoration. Myself, I love all sorts of DIY projects, so if there is something you want to make, I would probably run right away to get you all the materials for it :)
Outside some landscaping and building a terrace.
On the private island (if you wish to come there), there is mainly landscaping and making firewood (with a machine).
Reasonably large bedroom shared with other workaways.
From Toijala there is trains all over Finland. You can be in the centre of Tampere in 20 minutes, or in Turku and Helsinki in 1,5 h. There are ferries from Turku and Helsinki to other Baltic countries and Åland islands, that are a bit pricey during Summer high season, but off season you can get tickets for 2-4 euros.
I have a car that is available for workawayers.
Last summer, all volunteers wanted to go to sauna and lake every day, and during their days off visit other cities. There is a lot of nature around, and some people went jogging some for walks. Some just wanted to tune into the nature.. Whatever interests you, if there is a chance, I would love to try to arrange that for you :)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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