The girl with the red rucksack

When I started this blog just over a year ago, most of my readers were my old friends. In fact, they were the same friends who encouraged me to start sharing anecdotes, photos, and tips from my travels in the first place; people who already knew plenty about me and my habits. A proper introduction didn’t seem necessary at that point, especially as I was still trying to figure out what my writing style would be and whether the blog would actually go anywhere in the long run! At some point on this (occasionally faltering) creative journey I realised that all my new followers would know about me was what little I had revealed in the blog posts. Maybe I should remain shrouded in a bit mystery and let you all create your own image of the person behind the musings and observations but I’m not a mysterious type by nature. Therefore, at last, here are a few facts about the girl who “basically travels” with a red rucksack.


I grew up in a rural village in Finland and was seriously bitten by the travel bug when I visited a few of the dozens of penfriends I had as a teenager. Writing in a foreign language and getting to know all these different people from around the world was the best language and cultural studies starter programme I could have hoped for. Maybe that was the reason I decided to study those subjects in university and move abroad afterwards. (I wrote a blog post about how I got into travelling back in May.)

Although I love the idea of being a digital nomad and working from wherever I happen to be, I’m currently very much office-based and able to take trips only in my spare time. I’ve never got paid to either travel or write: in fact, moving to England has been the only travel-related part of my working life so far. Trips to new places and a chance to soak up the atmosphere of a vibrant city energise me and help me cope with the necessary mundane daily routines, too. I guess I just have itchy feet and a low boredom threshold!

The places I go

Partly due to budget and time limitations, most of my trips have been short breaks to European cities. It’s incredible how much you can cram into a few days without feeling rushed! I have a soft spot for Italy, especially Rome, but Barcelona, Budapest, and Kraków have been absolute gems too. I don’t tend to faithfully visit the recommended churches, museums, and galleries unless something specific has piqued my interest. Instead, I stroll the side streets, visit markets and cafes, climb hills and towers, go for picnics, and try to get the general feeling of the place. That’s the reason my posts are more musings and observations than “where to go and what to do” guides to a city.

Visiting my friend (originally one of my many penfriends) in Australia nine years ago was a fantastic experience, despite the seemingly never-ending flights, and a year later I had a chance to travel around Thailand as well as to visit Hong Kong and Laos with another friend. The list of places to go grows longer all the time but luckily my main aim is the change of scenery, not discovering the most exotic destinations – not that I’d mind doing that either.

My travel essentials

Besides my mobile phone and pocket camera, I don’t go anywhere without the red rucksack you see in the profile photo. No kidding, it’s my everyday bag for everything! If I’m away for less than a week, it’s also the only luggage I take. Admittedly travelling light isn’t always my first thought when I lift the almost bursting bag on my shoulders but at least it’s very comfortable to carry. It also beats having a suitcase, especially on bus and train journeys or at airports when I’m in a hurry. As I prefer to explore cities on foot, comfortable shoes that won’t hurt my feet even after hours of walking are an absolute must. I also want to have a really captivating book on me as entertainment on long journeys.

Now, I can’t claim to be a zero-waste traveller but I try to reduce the amount of rubbish I create. Since I bought my newest travel essentials – a thermos mug, a stainless steel water bottle, and a tiffin box – I have managed to completely avoid disposable coffee cups and take-away containers as well as plastic water bottles both at home and away. Taking them with me at all times is now as natural as picking up my keys: this is where the large rucksack becomes handy! If you are interested in reading more about the guilty flyer’s attempts at having a more sustainable holiday (yes, that’s me), have a look here.

Why I blog

I had dabbled in blogging once before but that project wasn’t long-lived. After a few posts I simply couldn’t think of anything else to write! No wonder I didn’t feel overly confident when I Basically Travel was born. Although this blog was originally a way for me to share my travel stories with friends and get back into writing, soon it also became a way to connect with other bloggers and interact with people from around the world. Alongside with other forms of social media, this is, in a way, modern-day penpalling. I’ve gone a full circle.

Finally, a few random facts

  • I’m a coffeeholic and can easily drink more than a litre a day. Going for a coffee is my favourite way to catch up with friends, and I prefer to write my blog in a cafe as I can concentrate better there than at home
  • I’m right-handed but do a left-handed clap: I clap my left hand into my right one!
  • I’ve never been to a Formula 1 race but I’ve walked the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco
  • I took guitar lessons at school but can’t play one single chord anymore
  • My favourite cuisine is Italian…or Thai…or Lebanese. It’s a three-way tie.

A huge thank you for following, reading, and interacting – it makes this whole writing process so much more fun!





6 thoughts on “The girl with the red rucksack

  1. That was such a lovely post! Do you know that my love of travelling started with pen friends, too! The agency was based in Turku but the only Finnish pen pal I had stopped writing which was sad. I’ve visited pen pals in Norway and the US and kept in touch with two of them since I was 14 ! As well as enjoying writing posts, I agree that it is the interaction with other bloggers which makes the experience come alive. Happy blogging M.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for always posting such lovely comments! 🙂 I wish I could still easily write proper letters. Email and social media are great but there’s something about receiving a long letter from someone. Maybe one day I get back into that as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was so exciting when those pen pal letters dropped through the letter box, the exotic foreign stamps, the neat handwriting and sometimes stickers, bookmarks and postcards were in the envelope too – snail mail but so much more fun than emails !


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