Happy Finn – A story behind our name
There are Finnish sayings that whenever you are happy you should hide it and happiness is like a shadow, whenever you chase it, it runs away from you. We think that happiness shouldn’t be a goal in life, it should be a journey. Happiness, is it just a word or is there more than that?
It was November and silent Naantali centrum filled with sprinkle. Naantali – like almost every city in Finland – is full of life during summer, but in winter… Well, there are few or none walking in the streets. Bunch of foreign tourists was admiring pure, fresh air in the dark evening on the road between centrum and Naantali Spa. Kirsi was walking with her dog and wondered that why an earth nobody is showing them something beautiful instead of asphalt road – like take them for a walk in the forest.
From that moment we started to put up the idea of how to show domestic and foreign travelers possibility to experience pure and simple Finnish elements of happiness: walk in the forest, experience of silece and comforting darkness, shelter of Finnish home and calmness of mind given by Finnish design. And we did not stop our ideas to this. Naantali has many excellent service providers who have unique experiences to offer to travelers. But common denominator was missing. We understood that we want to be that force, who makes it easy and safe for travelers to book a trip or buy the service trusting that service is provided thinking of customer and with Finnish twist.
At the same time international report was published saying that Finnish people are the happiest citizens in the world. And we wondered that why is that? It is wet and very dark most of the year in Finland.
But thinking of it while sitting round the table the idea was loud and clear: we want to offer Finnish elements of happiness available to everyone by means of travelling. No idealized pictures or saying all is good if it is not. Basic things that you carry deep in your heart even though it drizzles all day and you have not seen sun for days. Enjoying nature, being able to stop and recover. Not perfection but being in the moment (which itself makes it perfect). You can say ’perkele’ if hurts (Finnish swear word which said in right places can be purifying and takes pain away). Respect nature, breathe fresh air. And there is always time to have a cup of coffee prepared in campfire by the sea.
And Happy Finn was born. Although first suggestion was Happy Valley*, but if there are three female entrepreneurs, we just had quite a laugh. Happy Finn hit us immediately. It is not fake happiness but real feeling that includes all shades of life. It is a concept. It is your guarantee of quality, even though playful. Finnish people are modest and that is why popular saying says that the one who is happy should hide it. But we want to give travelers possibility to enjoy Finnish elements of happiness. Happy Finn may be the concept of entire Finland’s tourism – concept which stops traveler to think after returning to homeland what are his or hers elements of happiness. That is a thought worth of stopping. And that is happiness already itself.
*Naantali’s coat of arms includes letters ’VG’ which comes from the name of old abbey located in the area, Vallis Gratiae, that is, valley of grace, in Swedish ‘nådens dal’ and that is why the city’s name in Swedish is Nådendahl and translated to Finnish as Naantali.