It was in March, Dominika was sitting on some boring lecture and found an interesting video of a weird competition. Men were running on a racetrack with obstacles and – what’s most important – each one of them was carrying a woman on his back. Although that race was in US, we quickly found out, that competition is also held at the beginning of July in Finland. Moreover, it turned out that the race in Finland is the original one and it’s called World Wife Carrying Championship. We made our decision on the same day – we’re going to take part in it! Although we were planning to go to the Aland Islands that summer, we just couldn’t let go of an opportunity to take part in such an event! So we changed our plans.
Week after hearing for the first time about World Wife Carrying Championship, we were already signed up and had our plane tickets bought. Our trip was going to last 13 days (we just bought the cheapest tickets), so we had to figure out what else can we do in Finland – apart from taking part in a race!
On the internet we found Oulanka National Park, which is located in North Finland.What caught our attention was a trail called Karhunkierros. 82 km of wilderness in Lapland amongst beautiful lakes and reindeers. Can you imagine something more beautiful? Just us and nature. We were fascinated!
Slowly our plan was formed:
On the first day we were going by plane from Poland to Turku, then the next 600 km North to Iisalmi we covered by bus, where we started our adventure with hitchhiking. Our destination was Sonkajarvi – the place were the World Wife Carrying Championship was supposed to took place. Next we were planning to reach (by hitchhiking again) the Karhunkierros trail, which was 350 km North from Sonkajarvi. After 4 to 5 days on the trail we had to reach somehow Oulu. From there we had bought bus tickets to Turku, where was the airport.
Our student budget didn’t allow us to travel in luxury, so we decided to cut the costs as much as possible. Luckily in Finland (same as in Norway and Sweden) it is completely legal to put up a tent anywhere you want – as long as you don’t bother anyone. We decided to make use of that and spent each night in our 30$ tent. We chose two ways to locomote in Finland – hitchhiking and OnniBus (cheap buses in Finland). We managed to buy extremely cheap tickets – half dollar per person for 100 km.
Another method of saving money was buying small portable stove fueled by solid fuel tablets. We also packed some food: oatmeal, cranberries, pasta, candy bars, couple of cans with fish and even peanut butter!
Training was also a part of our preparations. There are few techniques of wifecarrying running and we chose the most efficient one (Estonian technique). We were waiting for this adventure with great impatience and finally the day has come. On the 28th of June 2017 we set off on our journey, which – as it turned out later – has changed our lives.