Erika Kantonen is our newest writer. She used to live in Stockholm, Sweden. In her first text here on the page she writes about how she felt alone pretty much everyday for about three years even though she was surrounded by heaps of people all the time. She felt depressed all the time. But she put a smile on her face everyday even with all this anxiety inside. She just kept on going. Till one day, when she had enough. Now she’s traveling the world without any plans for the future. On this page she will share her traveling life with you. Stay tuned. The show is yours, Erika:
Hello guys! Or Kia Ora! That’s how we would say it here in Aotearoa ”The land of the long white cloud” aka. New Zealand.
I thought my first post would be a little bit more of an introduction of me and tell you about my life at the moment. I will of course focus on specific, cool and totally awesome spots and adventures along my travels around the world here further on.
I was born in Sweden as a blonde, pretty fat, but still kind of cute, little shit and got named Erika Kantonen. Sitting here today I’m 27 at the moment and enjoying life to it’s fullest.
I would definitely describe myself as treasure hunter. With that said, for me treasures are not material things in life. For me treasures are new experiences and moments. Sometimes I love to have a full agenda with a big variety of stuff to do that brings results, adrenaline and new interactions to the table.
It could be anything from challenging myself to try out surfing in uncomfortably big waves, dive for mussels along the coast, cook lunch infront of a 160 meter high waterfall, share life stories with girls who are victims for trafficking and forced into prostitution in India, discuss politic with interesting people, climb a mountain, swim with turtles in Sri Lanka, or have a super delicious meal at a really cool restaurant in France.
Other days I enjoy the peace in reading a book or watching a documentary; why not spending time with people I adore and appreciate, Sleep in the back of the car and wake up with the ocean by your feet or have a cosy bonfire with people you care about while watching the stars above your head.
My favorite animal in the whole wild world is Orcas aka. killer whales. And that’s also on the top of my bucket list to see one in the wild.
At the moment I’m living in New Zealand I arrived here in the end of December after spending almost a month in Kolkata, India; Former Calcutta. I must admit that I loved this
country from the first second I arrived. People are super friendly and the landscapes are just out of this world.
I live in a town called New Plymouth on the west coast of the north island with a population approximately around 50 000 residents. I’ve been here for about a month and a half now and have already seen heaps of cool stuff and places.
In India I did some work with a friend and some volunteering. Main focus there was getting a better understanding and try to work on finding good solutions to how we can help and save more girls and women from being trafficked and forced into prostitution. I think women rights are at the wall for discussion all over the world at the moment and that’s something I am very passionate about. Equal rights between gender in many countries should be way a head of where they actually are today.
I really grew from that trip. It maid me realize how blessed I am and always have been in this world. I think everybody at least once in their life should do some sort of volunteer work because you’re not only doing a good thing for others, but you as a person evolves from it.
A part from all my talking here, I also love to write about many different things. I don’t have any education to back me up at this point, but it’s a passion and I always find it very peaceful for the mind and soul to let go of stuff through my writing. It’s also a very good and funny way of being creative and play with your thoughts.
If someone would ask me why I started to travel at this point of my life, I would be brutally honest. To start with, I think it’s a very basic reason. I also think most of us who travel the world will understand what I’m talking about. After working as a bartender for almost 6 years in Stockholm, Sweden at the most trendy places and see all the superficial stuff going on around me almost 24/7 (of course part of me included at the time cause you get swept away with it.)
One day I just had enough. I felt alone pretty much everyday for about 3 years even though I was surrounded by heaps of people all the time. My mind was just paralyzed and my life was not satisfying at all. I felt depressed pretty much all the time even if I never really showed it to anyone. I put a smile on my face everyday even with all this anxiety inside. I just kept on going.
After a new years resolution, 2014 turning into 2015, I decided that this year I was going to start traveling more. And the first thing I did was to book a ticket to Sri Lanka with a very good friend of mine. We spent about 3 weeks over there and I loved it.
After approximately 15 years of civil war and being very badly affected by the tsunami in 2004, this was still a place with pretty much no tourism at the moment. I meet awesome people and the locals were just amazing and very generous with sharing their knowledge. The nature was so alive and this was just a really good start for me and my expectations of starting a ”new” life.
When I came home I just knew that I had to get out of Sweden. Like Sanne said in her interview (read here) at ”Ett annat liv” I think it’s a great country to grow up in and we have a very affective and good system for our society from birth till we get old. But I just don’t feel at home in Sweden at the moment. I’m curious to see what’s out there for me in this world.
Also I see traveling as a really good education. I always felt the pressure that I have to study to become someone or to have a decent job and all of that. At the moment I see it from another perspective and I learn new stuff on the road here everyday; I meet new teachers as in new people; I see different cultures and environments which would be new classrooms. Not to forget we live in a modern world (or at least most part of it.) So we pretty much always have access to internet where we can find out pretty much anything we need to.
So far starting this journey have been the best choice in my entire life and I’ve never been so ready to see where this will lead me.
I’m a person who loves big contrasts. So if I could make someone laugh, feel inspired or even make them shed a tear, it would be a great deal to me. I’d like to write about things that are important to me and play with the imagination to make people feel something in general. I also love taking photos even though I’m rockin’ my iphone 6 camera at the moment.
I think this little self portrait story is starting to come to an end for this time, but another thing for you guys to think about along the way and a recommendation for those of you who want to do a big change in your life, always remember:
”All the best things in life are free”
I think that sentence says it all. At least for me. To actually decide to break free and start to travel was free, to choose happiness is free, to come to that point where I feel satisfied with my priorities is free.
Even bloody good sunsets are for free.
Of course all the stuff in between cost money like tickets, rent, food and basic stuff. The things you feel in your heart and things you choose to put your mind into are free. I think that’s where you need to start. Let go of your material world and start breathing everything that was given to us for free. Oceans, forests, mountains, wildlife, nature, your loved ones.
Once you let go of the thought that you can buy yourself happiness and I mean let go of it for real. Not in a cliche way. Let go FOR REAL. Then you will wake up and be able start writing a new chapter in your new book.
And thank you guys for the word. If you wanna join me on my travels around the world you can also follow me on Instagram.
My account: @mybucketlistchallenge