Envy directed at Scandinavia is nothing new. Whether it’s their progressive culture, technologically advanced infrastructure, or consistently high ranking on the world’s “happiest countries” list, this part of the world just seems to have it all figured out. But they’re not hiding the secrets behind their success — at least, not when it comes to their happiness. Finland, the happiest country in the world, is trying to export its happiness around the globe by allowing people to “rent a Finn.” The best way to learn, after all, is through hands-on experience, and this project is giving you the chance to travel to Finland and spend some time with some Finnish “happiness guides” in the hopes that their relaxed, nature-driven way of life might rub off on you.
Eight Finns have signed up to host visitors in their respective towns across Finland. Esko, for example, is the mayor of Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, and he wants to share the joys of Finnish summer with his visitors at his cottage. These include berry-picking, grilling, boating, and playing mölkky, a Finnish game.
For a rather different experience, you can also stay with Linda and Niko, a couple living in Utö, the southernmost island in the Finnish archipelago. According to their bio, guests will be “introduced to the simplicity of Archipelago life, surrounded by friendly, caring people and harsh, beautiful nature.” You can also expect to join them on a sailing trip, and even go camping on a nearby islet.
Applying to “Rent a Finn” is easy. Just film a three-minute video where you describe yourself, your connection to nature, and your goals for visiting Finland, and fill out the application form on the website. Winners will travel to Finland this summer for three days, with dates varying by host. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered, but keep in mind that you will be filmed throughout your visit.
To first determine whether or not you’re in dire need of a relaxing getaway to Finland, be sure to take their balance test.