Wow, it has actually been over a year since I’ve last updated this poor forgotten blog. The simple explanation why is just that I’ve been way too busy to give myself time for writing. But you know what, I really like to express my creativity in words, and I actually have so many thoughts and experiences that I would like to share, to inspire people to travel the world and more, and not the least to share my work more regularly, so I have decided that I will give this blog a last chance. And I will start by doing a little monthly summary of the life changing year that has passed, just because it was such an epic one, especially for my business!
So, April was our last month here in paradise south coast of Sri Lanka and we enjoyed it to the fullest, celebrating the Sinhalese New Years with our friends for weeks, and surfing every day. And an old friend of mine from home, Viktor, came to Sri Lanka with his girlfriend, Sandra. Her and I, we have grown up with just a small little mountain in between our homes, but we actually got to know each other in Sri Lanka, and today we’re like soul sisters. She also started teaching me yoga, which was beautiful, as I had been wanting to get into yoga for a long time, and I could not imagine a better place to do it than in “our” little paradise in Kumbalgama. Our paradise that was so hard to leave.. but at the same time we were also very happy to return home to our families in Europe after 5 months in Asia, when our visas expired by the end of April.
(Click on the images for bigger size)
We spent two weeks in Bryans home in Italy in May, before I flew home to Överkalix, with a one way ticket for the very first time since I started travelling in 2010. And it was a wonderful feeling. I fell in love with my home, and my hometown, for the first time ever. When I grew up I just wanted to travel the world, and I couldn’t see what a beautiful place I was living in. But now I returned with new eyes. And I got welcomed back with the best jobs I could have ever imagined: a full time position as photographer for Heart of Lapland for the summer, and several different assignments for Besökslandet Överkalix, as well as my first complete wedding shoot! Who would have thought, that my dream jobs were waiting for me at home, all this time I’ve been roaming around the world looking for them?? And who would have thought that my Italian love would want to move to the Arctic Circle with me, and that he too would fall in love with this peaceful place on earth?? Life is so full of surprises, and I am so grateful for that.
On the 1st of June I signed the contract with Heart of Lapland with a big smile on my face and butterflies of happiness in my stomach. It is by far the greatest job opportunity I’ve ever been given (and I magically got the offer on email just as the last full moon of our time in Sri Lanka rose in April). Heart of Lapland is a destination company, with a very talented team behind it, who is working hard to inspire people to visit my hometown Överkalix and the surrounding towns of Kalix, Övertorneå, Haparanda and Pajala. And they wanted little me to work for them! They needed images from several different companies who work within tourism, as well as images from different events and locations around the region. So I got a job that basically consisted of roaming around this beautiful region and capture the beauty of it with my camera, meeting new people and discovering new places. Oh, what a blessing, I’ll be grateful for life for this unique opportunity.
We got a lot of rain in Heart of Lapland in July, and most of my shoots got postponed time after time. So I was quite busy driving up and down the region when the weather was good enough for photo shoots. I found myself with my camera at all kind of places and events – from shooting food at restaurants to photographing backstage at a festival to spending a night on an island in the archipelago of Haparanda, to capture the sunrise from a beach, with the love of my life by my side. No day was like the other one, working for Heart of Lapland. Once again, what a blessing of a job!
By the middle of August my employment for Heart of Lapland ended, just two days before I had to fly down to the south of Sweden for a 5 days course and introduction to my employment as school photographer for Viron Media. When I returned to the north a very busy period started. I worked as school photographer from Monday to Friday, at different locations in the exact same towns I worked in for Heart of Lapland actually. I also started getting several bookings per week of portrait shoots, and I got more assignments for Heart of Lapland as well. I barely had time for anything else than work, but you know I love what I do for work, so I could actually do it 24/7 (but I promised myself to work less this year by planning better.. learning by doing you know).
September was even more busy, I drove up and down the region, sometimes 250 km a day 5 days a week, and photographed thousands of portraits, combined with shoots at hotels and other assignments for Heart of Lapland. I also got a very interesting request from the local printer, who wanted me to shoot a special calendar for 2019. Of course I wanted to, and so I started to work on this project too in the beautiful autumn leaves.
October came, with some sunshine at last (we didn’t get many sunny days in September), at least the first half of the month. I got several portrait shoots in the last autumn leaves, I continued working on the calendar and a few assignments for Heart of Lapland. And then came the snow and darkness.. the sun set a little earlier each day, and I had to hurry home from my shoots to have time for a ride in the woods before it was pitch black. By the end of the month we thought it was perfect time to see some light in the end of the dark tunnel, so we booked ourselves one way tickets to Sri Lanka for the end of December!
On the 1st of November I was no longer employed by anyone, the season as school photographer was officially over, and I started working on a new, very exciting project with creative Louise from Besökslandet. As a part of her work of marketing the destination Överkalix, she got the idea of creating articles about a selection of inspiring people from our town (cause there’s actually a lot of them!) and make them ambassadors of Överkalix. So we basically went around, meeting and photographing some very interesting persons, and had great conversations/interviews about our beautiful place on this earth, and created articles about it. You can check out the published ones here. And to my happiness, I kept getting bookings of portraits as well, even if the ground was covered in snow, and I kept getting loads of extra shoots for Viron Media all around the region until mid December. And I thought I’d be less busy in November, haha.. I also had several different dentists appointments in Luleå, 100km south, during this time, so one can really say I was all around all the time of November!
And the first three weeks of December kept going in the same pace of November. I photographed and interviewed more ambassadors, portraits on a few schools around, and I shot the calendar photos for December, January and February and tried to build a webshop for selling my prints. A dream I had for years, but I’ve just never had time to build a webshop. So I hired a freelancer to create the shop for me in WordPress, and he ended up restoring my whole site, so I spent some days working on getting it back to normal, and then I actually dropped the webshop again and just tried to sell some prints on Facebook instead! Which actually worked. So I really wanna get that webshop up and going this year, now that I’ve seen that people are actually interested in buying my photos as prints! This time I also drove the 200 km back and forth to the dentist several times, so I didn’t have much time free to spend with my animals, family and friends, as you can imagine. So it was kind of hard to leave home when the time had come, to fly to Italy for Christmas. But we got to celebrate “Christmas” with my family and our friends before we left, and it was really nice to get to celebrate with Bryan’s family as well. And when the second last day of the year arrived, we got on board that flight back to our paradise Sri Lanka, with the biggest smiles on our faces.
The feeling of returning to paradise was indescribable, we got so heartly welcomed back by our Sinhalese family and friends, and all the dogs around who remembered us so very well. January and February was just like a dream.. I finally became a morning person for real, practised yoga at sunrise every morning, surfed for hours every morning and night, ate fruits and curry all days, spent quality time with our dear friends here, met new people from all over the world, had bonfires and barbecues on the beach and just loved life so much! My sister Kerstin and her fiancé Jyri came over, as well as many other new and old good friends from home. Such a special and magical time, which continued all the way until March, which I had to spend mostly in bed, recovering from 5(!!) minor surgeries in my little body. But even if I was very drained of energy from all medicines, and disabled from doing a lot of things, I’ve still had a great time. People and places there just makes me so happy. I’ll share photos and stories from this journey soon!
So that was a ‘little’ about the past year, I hope someone made it till the end, even if this post became long like a novel, haha. I promise I will create shorter and more interesting posts in the nearest future!
I wish you all the best until then! Love and light