juha eternal traveler and adventurer

(Travel Interview) Juha, a long term traveler

I travel to capture the beauty of this world and try to keep it with me, all the time. But sometimes people’s stories can be so inspiring as well.

I met Juha in New Zealand and It’s been 10 years that this tall Finnish Viking is wandering.

An eternal traveler must have some great stories to tell, and I’m always a great listener, so here’s some questions!

Let’s start with the beginning:

When and why did you leave Finland?

– I left Finland on summer 2008. I think I realized that there was so much to explore, see and experience out there so it was time to pack up and go.

Juha travel backpacker asia - long term traveler

To follow his work :
I also realized that I wanted to learn how to contribute to this world. And in which way.
I have spent a long time abroad and can’t really tell what’s traveling and what’s temporary residency anymore though.
 – First destination?
– Moved to Paris, France.
(very good choice 🙂)
Why not coming back?
 So much left to do and see. I love visiting Finland and seeing friends and family but I think I’m too restless to go back and to be honest whenever I settle down it might not be in Finland.
Why not?
Somehow Finland feels quite conservative. And that is one of the side missions to find a place to settle down a bit longer period of time for.
Also I am on a bit of a finding myself/spiritual journey at the moment. Needed a break from consuming and still looking for new ways to contribute to the greater good.
beautiful Mongolia Juha travel - long term traveler
Wandering in Mongolia – Long term travel
Are you close from « finding answers »? Do you feel happier or is there an other motivation? 
I think I am on my way to finding the path I wanna take and just to know that I am heading the right direction is making me happy, The fact that I know what will make me happy and just to work towards that goal makes me happy.
It is a never ending journey though 🙂
What part did you prefer during this trip?
– Ok, wow. hahah. Brilliant question with no one right answer.
I love meeting people and hearing stories. Cultures & religions always fascinated me so I started to learn more.
Just to learn how they have shaped the way of thinking and how different countries have been built around them is quite interesting.
Then there is the magnificent nature and culture that change from country to country.
Juha in beautiful Vietnam - long term traveler
Mekong Delta-Vietnam – long term travel
From rough terrain of Iceland and sand filled Gobi desert, cold glaciers of Greenland to rain forests all over Asia and and and 🙂
Traveling, moving and learning.
The freedom I have is something I value over everything, not all have that.
Did you do a lot of woofing? Why?
I did a lot of volunteering through Workaway. For a few reasons. It is a great way to see what living and (kind of) working in different countries is. It gives you a good getaway from the backpacker bars, hostels and sightseeing, haha. And of course it is a very social experience which is awesome.
And good for your budget, obviously as accommodation and food is usually provided by the host.
Tell me about this association you work for in Cambodia
– Absolute amazing organisation!
Rural Teaching Organisation Cambodia (RTOC) is a grassroot level NGO that is trying to encourage youth to learn English and to provide a true chance to better their lives. RTOC operates in a very poor area and in my eyes offers so much more than just education to the kids.
The area has gone through different kind of struggles including famine and all kinds of diseases and still, people there, always welcome you with a huge smile on their face.
Kids from the ages between 4-20 are studying at the school and the NGO also provides classes at the government school close by.
School director, Poeuy, has personal ties to the area and is really putting a good effort to help the local community.
school cambodia ong poeuy- long term traveler
 Personally I loved teaching, socialising with the locals and living the living the lovely life in the small village of Tnol Trong.
Don’t forget to follow this great project on facebook:
What would you answer to people who says that Asians always try to ‘get the more money they can out of tourists’?
 First of all the people selling you services and stuffs are doing their job.
Of course, touristic areas have made them a bit greedy but still they are trying to make their living. It takes a tourist or traveler about 5 minutes to figure out a reasonable price for stuff. Don’t t blame the people trying to earn their living. I know it can be frustrating but haggling is a great way to interact with locals and if you want, it can be good fun!
And just to mention in my opinion it is my responsibility to haggle. This way we help the next budget backpacker to get a good price for whatever they are buying.
Always paying the first fee asked will take the prices higher. Take care of the backpacker community and remember to haggle
What is your best memory during your trips? The worst?
– Best memories are usually the ones I won’t tell…same for the bad ones.
 I think the people are usually the ones creating the best memories. Nothing better than having a good laugh with a local or a fellow backpacker.
I dont think there are bad memories. They are just less comfortable experiences, like waking up with a massive hangover in the heat of Saigon covered in bed bugs. Or chasing cockroaches from under the bed 3am at a cheap hour hotel/brothel.
Good ones, wow. So many. Staring at morning rush in La Gi, Vietnam. Sun is rising and Fishermen are rushing out to the sea to get their daily catch. Or Hearing the thunderous sounds of Glacier moving in Greenland.
I’ll leave it to those ones 🙂
What advice can you give to beginners in adventure?
Don’t make travel too complicated. It is cheaper and easier than people think. With today’s technology and transportation you can do it !
What great person or icon did inspired you for doing great things like you did?
My siblings. Seeing how casually they come and go from and to their travels was something that amazed me.
And especially my sister, Jenni, who traveled a lot when I was at the age that I started understanding what it means to travel.
She also gave the last push by buying me as interrail ticket.
My siblings values of life are also something absolutely amazing and have definitely given me a good foundation to start from.
Your favorite quote?
After climbing great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb – Nelson Mandela
(awesome one mate) 
What is your next goal?
Travel, learn and be even happier then I am at the moment. Really interested in Humanitarian work so might make my travel plans according to that.
Love life!
You can find all his Asian’s adventures on his blog :
Interview of Juha-Matti Laakspohja by Walking Brice

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