I wrote my first newspaper articles at the age of sixteen. My first travel story came out a year later.

My hometown’s newspaper had a weekly youth page called “Haloo!”. Our editor was a full-time worker at the newspaper, but all the articles were written (and illustrated) by young people such as myself.

I mainly focused on writing music reviews, but I occasionally wrote a few longer texts.

Somewhere on the way north. Note the mohawk!

How I Ended Up in Svalbard

When I was seventeen, me and two of my friends did a road trip from Finland to Tromsa, Northern Norway. From Norway, we flew further up north to Svalbard for a night or two. I was underage and too young to get a driver’s license in Finland, so my friends sat behind the wheel.

Svalbard is a remote island group located very far up north. People often visit the island to see polar bears and do some arctic treks during the winter. However, we were there during the summer, when the main town Longyearbyen was practically empty. We had not done any research or plans, so we simply hung out in the empty town.

My memories of Longyearbyen are mostly trivial details.The houses were built on stilts or something similar so they wouldn’t drown in snow during the winter. The local kebab van, The Red Polar Bear, was closed. I enjoyed climbing up and running down the rocky slopes that surrounded the town.

A view from the hills outside Longyearbyen.

The First Travel Story

When I wrote it, I was quite proud of my first travel story. It had funny details, an exotic location, a sense of adventure! It was going to be the main story of the page, which meant to things:

1) I would be 80 euros, which was a lot of money for a teenagers

2) As it was the main story, someone would draw the illustration for the story.

As Friday – the story’s release date approached, I wondered which part of my story the illustrator would pick. Would I be in the picture, or would it simply be about the surroundings.

When the newspaper came out, the illustration was not what I expected. The illustration featured a yellow overweight woman smoking pipe in nature.

It was a well-made drawing, but I still wonder if the illustrator had simply sent one of her old drawings to get a free paycheck.


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