You're Never Alone05.07.2014  Ville Pohjola
Finnish newspapers wrote last week about a man who was registered as a missing person but was not actually missing. This loner from North-East Finland spent over a month at the wilderness without telling to his relatives. They decided to call the police. The interesting part of the story is that the man just walked back to the civilization, without any drama. The fact behind this story was that the guy decided to leave his home village as many times earlier and spend some weeks at the wilderness, fishing. He just decided to enjoy the nature alone by himself.
There are many similar examples around the world. Many movies have been made about this kind solitary men who want to leave the civilization behind and live alone in the wilderness. Some of these people have been escapists, some of the just nature lovers. In Finland most of these ramblers are more active hunters and fishermen than romantisicts. They just want to enjoy what they like to do. The common factor is that these persons want to be alone in their own private temple, the wilderness.
Finland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. The 338 424 square kilometers of lakes, swamps, forests, fields and fjells are populated by only 5,4 million people. That gives an average of 17 people per one square kilometer. Actually that sounds quite much but if you take into account that the southern part of our country has an average of 170,4 people per square kilometer, the rest of the country is as good as empty. Most people live under the line between the cities Tampere and Jyväskylä. For example in the town of Nurmes there are only 5,14 people per square kilometer. Only Lapland has a lower density than Nurmes, 2 people per square kilometer.
So, in Nurmes there is plenty of space for a man who wants to be alone. Belonging to the region of Northern Karelia, the town Nurmes is a place where man has wandered for over 4000 years. The surrounding wilderness and the mighty lake Pielinen have been important sources of food for thousands of years. Even the Sami people from Lapland came to lake Pielinen to fish. During the summer there were many fireplaces near the lake and in the forests around it. During the winter a man wandered days without seeing anybody. Still the hunters in search for moose and bear followed the rivers flowing from the north to Pielinen. These brave men needed to trust themselves and their equipment.
The nature in Norther Karelia is the reason why hunting and fishing are part of the DNA of the people living in Nurmes. Hunting and fishing have been a necessity, but it has became also a passion. People living in the region want to keep their roots in the soil of a true nature. Therefore they stay, although living there sometimes means also seclusion.
For a modern manufacturer of outdoor gear, this same wilderness is still a tough laboratory for R&D. Equipment has to be robust enough. While spending days somewhere out there, the equipment is the only trusted friend. Thousands of years ago that equipment was a fur jacket and an axe. Nowadays it is something different, but the importance of having quality gear has not changed.
You might think that these hunting and fishing men in the history suffered from loneliness. Well, maybe sometimes, but only for a short moment. What took them back to the wilderness was naturally hunger, but also an inner call. They wanted to be part of nature, they needed the forest for inner peace. The same still applies for many. The forest offers both food and relaxation at the same time. When you go to the forest you are never alone.
You have your trusted gear, you have the nature. And millions of mosquitos.