New Beginnings

On January 1st 2018, I landed in Helsinki, Finland, after two years of life in South America. I left my bicycle in Cali, Colombia, and took up a 100-day job in an NGO for people living with hiv in this winter wonderland I occasionally have the privilege of calling home. On the 30th of April I will fly to Panama and continue my cultural exploration of Latin America, by cycling through Central America. In the meanwhile, my blog will occasionally hibernate.

In November 2015 me and Antti Aittola reached the Argentinian town of Rio Grande, where we were invited to give a radio interview on our upcoming trip. We had by then cycled no more than a week, and everything in South America was still ahead of us. Yesterday, when going through the vast amount of audiovisual material from the road, I accidentally bumped into this interview. What a crazy feeling it was to see a person full of excitement and enthusiasm, knowing now everything that person has since then experienced. Reality is definitely crazier than imagination. See for yourself.

Interview in Tierra del Fuego

Those of you who have accompanied me on the road virtually, know a fair share about my past years. Of course, 70% of my life never ends up on the internet, yet many of the amazing, intriguing people I have met, are depicted in one way or another on this blog. Also, so are some of the toughest days. Funnily enough, the most beautiful moments are not — not only because I have wanted to enjoy them to the fullest offline, but also because I still want the focus more on strangers than on me.

Some of you may actually have noticed the shift in articles from strangers to myself. This was not planned and is not what I wish for. It is merely due to the fact that in Cali I was going through a whirlpool of emotions, falling in love with Cali style salsa and the city, training for the Salsódromo (biggest salsa parade in the world) and trying to figure out whether I should even continue to move on or not. In addition to this, I didn’t feel the usual urge to continuously meet new people, except through dance.

For a couple of months, I have not written a single word here. That’s something a blogger should never do. “Don’t neglect your readers”, “don’t take breaks”, are rules every blogger knows. However, that’s exactly what I’ve needed to do. When in Cali, I wanted to concentrate on salsa. Now in Finland, I’ve wanted to concentrate on my family and friends, and on new projects for the future. I’ve been planning a book, a documentary and an article series on a topic which grows stronger in my head each day — women who fight for women. And this brainstorm sees no end.

Present is the place to be

I have decided not to start blogging about the past trip, at least not for now. There’s a lot of material and loads of stories to tell, but the present is too fascinating for me to go back into the past right now. Since my time in Finland is limited, I wish to spend it doing the things I love. I know the day will come when I will put all the cultural knowledge and memories of South America out there in one way or another, but for now, this is what I can offer you:

If you want to see some of the people I have met, please see strangerlessfriends and the stories on this blog. For videos from the road, please see Strangerless on Facebook. Articles and interviews about my life on the road can be found here. And to contact me personally for any possible info, don’t hesitate to click here!

Picture: ©Madalina Ciocanu

I will continue this blog once I have cleared up a few things on my mind — perhaps publishing once every two weeks, perhaps once a month, who knows. Yet for now, forgive my temporary absence. Now is the time to be dwell in creativity and let the world of new beginnings take over. Who knows in two years I’ll look back at this post remembering the person I was right now, with only strong intuition of the direction I was going…

Sending you love,



Featured picture: ©Madalina Ciocanu







Written by Sissi Korhonen
Exploring, interpreting and understanding cultures through local languages and people. An advocate for intercultural communication as a basis for diversity acceptance and human equality.