“I realised that no matter how hard things get, there is always a way to accomplish your goals. The importance of the right people by your side and your belief in positive outcomes is the no.1 thing in achieving your goals and dreams. Never give up, and enjoy the ups and downs life throws at you.”
In her most recent blog, MSc Management student Aleksandra Lazarevic tells us about a recent trip to Lapland. It was a dream of hers to visit, but it very nearly didn’t happen, but Aleksandra didn’t give up and kept a positive outlook to eventually make her dream a reality. She also shares some top tips for anyone looking to visit this unique destination.
Positive thinking, positive outcome
“To see is to believe,” said Saint Augustine, and I genuinely agree with this statement. In order to see the beautiful destinations of this world, sometimes you might need a bit of luck? Faith? Courage? Curiosity? Adventurous spirit? All that being said, I think you ‘just’ need - yourself.
This quote rung true to me when I finally secured a spot on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Lapland. It is a long way from where I am from in Kosovo and I’d never imagined that I would have a chance to visit it. However, sometimes things happen in your life. I don’t know if it’s destiny or pure luck, but I know that dreams will come true when you work hard and believe in positive outcomes.
In December 2018, I was in Odense, Denmark, on an Erasmus+ exchange program studying at University College Lillebaelt for a winter semester. The Erasmus Student Network organised a trip to Lapland, but the tickets sold out extremely fast. I was disappointed however I didn’t give up hope, I told myself “There is still a month left until December, and things can change.”.
I spoke to my peers about how I missed the opportunity to buy the ticket on time. However, they encouraged me to be patient and wait because someone might pull out and a spot will come available. And that’s exactly what happened and I bought the ticket a week before departure.
My top tips
Finally! I was on the bus with friends going to Swedish Lapland. On the first day, we went dogsledding and it was amazing. The dogs were adorable, and I was on a complete high afterwards. It was my first “real winter” experience where I saw unique places, and met new friends.
It was an icy -25 degrees – I felt like a princess Elsa from Frozen.
On the second day, it was freezing cold at night, but worth bearing as you could see the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. I took a dip into the cold lake after a wooden-heated sauna on the third day. It was freezing but so adventuristic! Tip: put the socks on before going out as the snow will stick to your feet, or you will fall before you even get close to the lake (don’t ask how I know about this).
The Ice Hotel was stunning and it had a library, a church and an ice bar where drinks are served in cups of ice. Every room was handmade and artists came from around the world to make it just for one season, as The Ice Hotel melts in April. A one-night stay price starts from around €1,000. And even at an at Ice Hotel, the guide said that some visitors complained that it was “too hot in the sleeping bags.”
Kiruna is a beautiful city, the sky and its shades of purple and blue were just astonishing!
We visited the city of Narvik and the Norwegian fjords. It was clean and beautiful, but quite expensive. The further north you go, the colder your wallet becomes.
The next day a senior Sami community member hosted us, and we listened to the old stories about reindeer and their importance to the Sami community. The reindeer are part of the family fortune. We tried the reindeer meat and soup, and I have to admit it was very tasty.
On the last day, we had a barbeque outside around the fire and ate marshmallows. We looked at the sky and the stars, many stars. I have never seen that many shooting stars before. It was an incredible vibe around us, it felt like I was in a fairytale.
My advice and recommendations to anyone visiting Lapland are:
- Book a trip in advance, try to find something reasonably priced but always look at what is covered and what is optional
- I highly recommend the travel agency - Scanbaltexperience
- Get Insurance!
- Bring the warmest clothes you have and layer up
- Rent or buy a snowsuit
- Try dogsledding, it’s fantastic
- Bring some food; Kiruna is the most expensive place I have ever visited (more expensive than Copenhagen and London!)
- Enjoy the winter and go out, no matter how cold it is
I realised that no matter how hard things get, there is always a way to accomplish your goals. The importance of the right people by your side and your belief in positive outcomes is the no.1 thing in achieving your goals and dreams. Never give up, and enjoy the ups and downs life throws at you. Travel as much as possible; that is your life’s real investment; everything else is temporary.