Here’s a riddle for you: What do you call a Dutchman living in Sweden who visits an American living in Finland? A new friend! Actually, calling him a “new” friend is a bit of a stretch, as I had known Ron online for several years through our blogs and, before that, by way of bushcraft forums. But virtual friendship is only friendship to a certain degree, as some of the most important aspects of human interaction require, well, actual human interaction! That’s why I was very happy to host Ron of The Trying Woodsman blog in Finland for several days last month.
Since Ron did such a fantastic job at chronicling our visit at his blog, I will link to his blog posts below rather than rewriting the story. However, there are a few small things I’d like to add, as well as giving my impressions of our visit.
Being interested in outdoor pursuits, as well as homesteading, self-sufficiency, nutrition, world events and a wide variety of other topics, Ron and I never ran out of things to talk about. He possesses a wealth of knowledge about a lot of things, a zeal for healthy and thoughtful living and a big heart. Ron is the kind of man who does not accept what is spoon fed to him, but instead finds out the truth of things for himself and lives by it. He was a fantastic help around the cabin, keeping the wood stove humming, cooking delicious food, helping to keep the place tidy and lots more, which was a luxury for me. Our long conversations allowed me to get more of a feel for who Ron is as a “real life person,” as opposed to someone you just know on the Internet. I want him to know that he is welcome to visit me anytime here in Finland and that I will certainly be visiting him in Sweden (and/or Norway) in the future, and that I am proud to call him a new friend. 🙂
Before I provide the links to Ron’s blog posts, I wanted to thank him again for the great gifts he gave me during his stay. One item which will come in very handy starting this winter is a Swedish snow anorak, a large, thin canvas garment with a hood which blocks the wind and keeps the snow out.
Ron also left me a book, One Man’s Wilderness – An Alaskan Odyssey, which is an adaptation of Dick Proenneke’s journal about building and living in a cabin in the rugged Alaskan wilderness in the 1960s (he ended up living there around 30 years). This book is such a joy to read, both when I’m out at the cabin or in the city. My personal story isn’t a tenth of a percent of what Dick Proenneke’s is, yet there are enough similarities that I feel like I can relate to some of his experiences on a certain level.
Finally, the links to Ron’s outstanding account of our visit this fall. I hope you enjoy it!
Part 3: The third and final day…
Part 4: The final stretch of the trip…