Risk & Reward in Life

“Hang gliding in Queenstown, 09”

How averse people are to risk is individual. Some are adrenaline junkies jumping off planes or gamble their money in hope for a better future, while others take it easy, chill n considerately float through life, slow and steady. I’m somewhere in the middle, it depends on the day.

I was first introduced to the concept of risk and reward during finance classes, you know the higher the risk the higher the reward etc., but with no money for financial investment I wanted to approach the topic from a wider perspective – how taking risks has pushed me into a life I once only dreamed of. And at 22 that’s quite a statement to make.

“Smiling with Stephanie before the 14 000ft skydive, Australia -14”

I’m guessing living by a quote “you only regret the things you didn’t do” sounds a bit cheesy, but I swear by it. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you might have noticed how passionate I am about travelling – all thanks to my parents and the encouraging home I grew up in. From an ever-so-annoying wild child to quiet and reserved teen to the open-minded young woman I am today, I couldn’t have experienced the things I have without being supported to taking risks one after another and hoping for a positive outcome. I’ve been lucky, it has paid off.

– take a risk, leave

– take a risk, trust

– take a risk, invest

Those are the three most important things that come into my mind when thinking of Risk & Reward in Life.

“Yard Swing @ The Spirit of Adventure -09”

By taking a risk and leaving, jumping into the unknown several times alone, I’ve learned so much about myself. I have opened up, been forced to learn the art of small talk, learned to read the map and the people around me to figure out who to trust – to look after myself. When you are thrown into a new culture, or even find yourself studying in a new city, you have to adapt to the culture & life around you – immerse yourself in it, become an active member for the best reward.

Trust it’s all going to be okay, take calculated risks to start with and then just go with the flow. I love planning, but don’t really think how all my crazy ideas fit together in the long run. If I like something, I change my life accordingly as soon as possible. If I decide something (realistic) I’ll get it done no matter what, work two jobs to get the money for the next adventure etc and then just head off to explore the world, oh mum has probably got a few grey hairs because of me and my crazy ideas! Stubborn, yes; Stupid, sometimes; Smiling, always! A positive attitude will get you far.

“Hitchiking with my friend Micke, NZ -14”

And not saying no unless the situation makes you scared and too uncomfortable has also proven a great guideline – it’s addictive not knowing what’s about to happen, the best stories start with a “yes let’s do it”. Trust people, be careful also but don’t let the risks to stop you from being young and having fun.

“My sailor’s passport after a summer job cooking on a small cruise ship, -14”

And last but not least take a risk, invest in future. Invest in yourself. I have had quite a few jobs and have done my best to leave a positive impact on people around me, and been allright at school to ensure there’s always a plan Z to fall back on if all else fails. I know I am super lucky to have a supportive family and good friends always there to help me out, but first I want to try out my wings and see how close to the sun I can get without falling.

I don’t think you can achieve your dreams without taking a risk every now and then, and am definitely one of those people with that small spark in them just waiting to burst into a huge flame when the right opportunity comes. Do you have the courage to dream big? If so, make small changes, see what comes up, invest in yourself through education AND experiences.

For me, higher risks have yielded the higher return. I can look back with not too many regrets, multiple mistakes were made for sure but regrets, well not so many. And most importantly because of the successful risk-taking of the past I can look into the future with a positive and trusting outlook – the past has been good so the future is simply going to be amazing.

“May Day Celebrations in Finland, the photo is thanks to ViktorVelinov Photography”




The not-so-fun times of travelling alone – Bangkok & Singapore

Travelling alone can be fun and exciting. Or lonely, sad and purely boring – depending on where you are. But that’s exactly why travelling is so cool, memorable and addictive. The good times feel absolutely amazing when you have just had the worst day of your life, anything from freaking out and thinking you lost your passport to turning out looking like a lobster after a day of snorkeling… Damn, the white skin of mine peels quite nicely.

I’m normally a nice, calm and more or less lovely person (I’d like to think so anyway) but at times the travel fatigue turns this little angel into a devil with steam bursting out like of a pressure cooker. Hunger mixed with the drenching humidity and having been awake for a good day or two caused me to regress to a toddler and throw a nice little tantrum in Little India, Singapore. Throwing my 30kg backpack down, kicking it and swearing in Finnish felt somehow deeply satisfying. I must have looked nuts. I cannot emphasis enough on how sad it was to come to the realization that a) i’m alone and no one is gonna help me b) it’s getting late and I have no money to pay for a taxi and most importantly c) why the hell did I ever imagine I’d be able to carry that much?! After a deep breath I lifted my backpack, pretty much crawled to the hostel 3km away and oh, slept like a baby that night.

"One can only smile when you walk in Little India" Singapore, 2014

“One can only smile when you walk in Little India”
Singapore, 2014

The feeling when you first walk out of a plane, smell the air, get through the customs and head off to the new exciting place is exhilarating – it’s time for another adventure! But sometimes travelling alone can be a little scary as well, especially for a tiny blond girl like me.

I don’t usually get lost. But when I do, I lose the track of time exploring and rather worry about finding a nice meal than think on how to get to the hostel eventually. Got my priorities right huh? Well Bangkok was a bit of an adventure for me.

Second night in Bangkok, woops, I’ve missed the last train and surprise surprise, don’t have enough money for taxi. I couldn’t catch the bus either because the hostel was situated in the middle of the protest areas and thus filled with roadblocks (this was back in Feb 2014). I figured a 1,5km walk to the hostel wasn’t too bad. I was wrong.

After the first 300m I started getting a bit nervous, there were small groups of men hanging nearby and I could’ve sworn some people had walked right behind me the whole way. I was probably worrying over nothing but by this stage I had sussed out if I remembered any karate moves, how fast I could potentially run, and if jumping onto the road and yelling would make some nice motorist to give me a ride. No cars around.

I was freaking out and then an angel in the shape of a 60-year-old local man pulled up in his scooter and asked if I needed a ride. Oh yes please! I jumped behind him onto the scooter and off we went.

I have never felt that free in my life than in that evening, sitting behind the small old man, driving 60 something kmh with my hair flying in the wind. The cool evening air was caressing me, the first stars looking down, I smiled. I was happy, right there in that moment, I felt fully alive.

We did a bit of a detour and managed to squeeze through the roadblock. He took me straight in front of the hostel and I couldn’t thank him enough. I gave him all the money I had on me, maybe three times the normal fare (still not enough for a taxi), said goodbye and watched him drive off.

From then on, I caught the tuk tuk. And made sure I’d had enough money to pay for it, though as it turned out the next day, cash wasn’t what the driver wanted… Will tell you more about it later.

"Silom MRT Roadblock" Bangkok, 2014

“Silom MRT Roadblock”
Bangkok, 2014