Hi there. My name is Chris and welcome to my blog.

In 2014 I quit my job as an architect and moved to Finland to train as a Wilderness Guide for a year. I started the blog to record my training.

I now use it to record my Expeditions & Challenges. I am currently trying to reach fluency in Finnish. Other challenges & expeditions include, Kayaking from Finland to Tallinn, Cycling from England to Finland, Swimming the River Thames, Running from John O’ Groats to Land’s End and making 52 Spoons in a year.

After my Wilderness Guide training I worked as an assistant outdoor instructor in Surrey, UK for a year. Since then I have moved back to Finland and have worked 2 winter seasons as a husky guide and 1 guiding several back country skiing trips (in between studying finnish and working in Helsinki). I’ve worked 2 summer seasons as a kayaking guide in Helsinki.

Current Challenge:

  • Becoming Fluent in Finnish: At the time of rewriting this I have been learning Finnish for almost 3 years – since November 2016. Realistically, I am currently at a high b1/ low-mid b2 level – using the CEFR language chart. (This is a medium to high intermediate level).

Most Recent Expeditions:

  • Kayaking from Finland to Estonia – Trip report in progress
  • Cycling from England to Finland – Trip report in progress

Past Expeditions & Challenges:

  • Thames Swim 2016: I spent 15 days swimming 137 miles down the River Thames from Lechlade to Putney Bridge in August 2016.
  • 52 Spoons: Where I made a spoon for each week of 2015

If you’re interested in training as a Wilderness Guide in Finland yourself take a look here. I hope my stories and photos might inspire others to follow their passions in life and embark on adventures of their own. After all, life is so short, and I personally don’t want to get to the end of it and think “I wish I tried this…”

I have kept in the original ‘about me’ text from when I started the blog below, which briefly explains my decision to quit my job as an architect with the aim of working in the wild.

“After getting a ‘real’ job in the city, I realised I wasn’t cut out for sitting behind a desk, staring at a computer screen for 8+ hours a day.

So I sat down, and had a think… What would be my perfect job? A professional adventurer, a mountain leader, a ski instructor, an athletics coach… the list went on in a similar manner – active, outdoor roles.

Then I thought – why the hell am I not doing one of these jobs right now?

So after a couple of months of searching and applying for courses and training, I was in the same position. I was still sat at a desk all day, dreaming of mountains and forests, but not sure entirely sure how to get there. I hadn’t made it onto the course I had really set my hopes on – A wilderness guide course in Finland – so had to think up another option.

So, with no plan, I quit my job.

The next day at work, I ducked out of the office to answer a call from a foreign number. It was the course leader from Finland, informing me that a position was now available on the course! I did a few silent fist pumps and some air screams.

So, with a bit of luck I made it onto the course. This blog aims to record my adventures in Finland training to be a wilderness guide and future trips..”


18 thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. G’day Chris. Good on you for making the change! Fantastic to find your blog, especially with it being a current one as I’m considering applying for the Tredu course. But at near 40yrs of age and ZERO relevant experience not sure I’d stand a chance. What you think? I’d be very keen to know your opinions, especially on the content and structure of the course if not all there in your blogs (haven’t got through them all yet). Thanks again for the blog and good luck!


  2. Hey Brad,

    Thanks. Awesome, well you should definitely apply, many people here did not have any or much experience when they started the course (me included). The age thing is not an issue either, a third of the group here at the moment are over 40. So yeah go for it! You definitely stand a chance. Just think hard about your application – why you want to do the course, why in Finland and what you plan to do with it after you graduate.

    So far I am pleased with both content and structure of the course. I’m not sure if you have seen it already but an example of the content is on the Tredu website,. Here’s a link to the PDF – http://inter16.tampere.fi/tredu/material/inenglish/6ITB30dQV/IWG_handbook-2013-04.pdf.

    Let me know if you have any questions after looking at the PDF and I’ll happily try and answer them for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with the application.



    • Hey Chris. Many thanks for your reply and advice. Already looked through the PDF but very grateful to you for thinking to include that link! Have read through all your blogs so far and they’ve really whet my interest for this experience. You’re a good writer and the pics are fantastic. Enjoy the rest of your journey as I’ll enjoy following.

      Cheers mate ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Hi Chris, came across your blog through a conversation with my son Dan Dodds. It’s great to see someone following their passion, and creating such beautiful objects along the way. I drop by from time to time to catch up with the spoon creating. They are really gorgeous. I’m going to add a link from my blogroll.
    All the best


  4. Hi!
    I’m really interested in applying for the IWG course and I’ve found your blog really helpful, so thank you! I have couple of questions that I’d like to ask. I was wondering if there are any extra costs related to the course. Also, is it going to be a problem if I do not have a driver’s licence?

    Thank you already in advance and all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Katariina,

      There will be a few extra costs for buying equipment and such, but the college does provide you will many of these items – like the loue tent, cooking stoves etc. (You’ll need to buy a few things, but probably best idea is to wait till your there as you can pick up some good stuff from second hand stores). Transport and fuel for trips is also provided.

      So, the only extra costs would be rent of the yellow house (which was 90 euros a month when I was there), and food. Not sure if you saw the post I wrote about costs, think it may have got buried between the others: https://chrismountadventures.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/how-i-funded-my-studies-as-a-wilderness-guide-in-finland/ Actually just re-read it and it should answer your question hopefully ๐Ÿ™‚

      Nah, the driving license thing shouldn’t be an issue. 2 people didn’t have a license when I was studying…


  5. Hey Chris,

    I’m glad I stumbled upon your neat looking blog on the world wide web! I actually applied for the course at Tredu in 2015 and got put on the reserve list because I didn’t have much of a business plan for when the course would be over. I’ve been pondering about this for a long time since.
    Skipping applying again in 2016 because I became a father, I’m eager to give it a go again. This time I want to do it right! Have you any tips you could spare me? What about your fellow classmates, where there any young fathers with a family between them, and what about their wives and children: did they tag along to Finland or stay at home?

    Kind regards,
    Fred from Belgium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Frederik,

      Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah I can send you a few pointers… But I was also on the reserve list and got in as someone else dropped out, so not sure how good my advice will be ๐Ÿ˜‰ But yeah, I can send some ideas over. What’s your email address?

      Yeah, there was one guy with a young boy. But he was Finnish and lived in Tampere, so would go home each evening. One of the French guys had a family back home, but his children were older, maybe 15 and 17 I think. But, I think it would be possible to come to Finland, maybe live in Tampere? Who knows.

      Sorry for the long reply!



      • Hey Chris,

        Thanks for you reply! In the meantime I enterred again and gathering arguments to be prepared for the skype intake in a week’s time. How exciting! I feel hesitant about making my email adress public. I have to enter it in the box below wich will keep it private apparently, but can’t you see it?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Chris,

    First of all I’d like to say thank you for this blog. I have been looking for one like you for a while (about the IWG degree) but unsuccessfully, so I randomly fell on yours and I’ve been reading it for the past two days. It is very well written and illustrated. I could feel that some parts were filled with emotions and even about to break a tear at some point ! (ok am I being too dramatic whilst listening to sad music and reading your blog ?)
    Anyways, I am actually living in Finland as an exchange student and I have already applied for this course since last December already. Even though I’ve already sent the application, what advice could you give me to increase my chances to get in ? I was hoping to get in that degree, but since I read your blog, it became something pretty clear in my head, and I don’t see myself doing something else.
    Also, on the explanation form of the degree, it says that you could work (no more than 80h/month), but after reading your blog, I can only think that it’s pretty much not possible because you’re very busy..
    Also, was the winter a hard time by the tiredness ? Or you keep so busy that you can’t really feel it during the day ? The winter was quite an experience here for me, but it’s a different concept.

    Have fun learning Finnish, I’m working on it as well!

    Warm regards, Davi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Davi,

      Thanks, haha, a tear, I am honoured, I think.. Maybe not so much sad music next time?

      Sounds great, yeah it is a fantastic course and you should go for it. Send me your email address and I’ll send over some pointers. Hmm, there’s a lot of school work, but I think you could have a job as well, if you’re good with your time. I spent quite a lot of time writing this blog and going through photos, which took way longer than expected, almost 1 full day a week.

      The winter months were not so bad, I mean you are more tired than usual due to lack of sun, but it was fine. At the start of winter it was quite grey and overcast, which was harder, but after the first snowfall this made the place a lot lighter and more enjoyable. I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

      Kiitos plajon, olen sitรค mieltรค ettรค Suomi on vaikea kieli! kuinka kauan olet opiskellut suomea?

      All the best,



  7. Hi Chris, how are you? Do you remember us? We viewed together the northern lights at the 23rd of February, where you made a photo with both of us. We wonder if you had time to send it to us, because so far we didnโ€™t receive anything. Perhaps you remember we gave you our card the next morning at Saija. We would be pleased to hear from you. Kind regards, Silvia & Kai


  8. Hi Chris,

    I was recently recommended to this course by the Employment office in Turku. I am an American, I moved to Finland for my missus and I am trying to sort myself out and this course sort of jumped out to me given my background.

    So I applied the other day and stumbled onto your blog, I was hoping you could tell me how your interview process went and how long it was until you heard that you had been accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

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