In Finland you can get more time for camper van life by enjoying the paternity leaves on the road. We have possibility for 9 week-paternity leave in Finland. Usually the first 3 weeks go when taking care of the newborn and enjoying of that time at home as a whole family. ? But the rest of 6 weeks you can use before your child will be 2 years old.
So by utilizing the paternity leave system, you can get more time for van life and so amazing time with your family. ??? I am still at home with our son and Pasi had totally that 9-week paternity leave in addition to the normal holidays from work (usually in Finland 5 weeks per year). So once in a lifetime we had more time to be on holiday!!! ? Pasi took 3 weeks paternity leave in October-November 2020. And at first we thought if it would have been too depressingly gray season to go on a road trip. But what else: the trip was totally amazing experience and it was not depressing at all!!! ????
Last winter of 2020, we still thought before Corona virus situation that during a paternity leave period we would go adventuring with a camper van around Europe. ?? We thought that we could go to see some Formula One races, because Pasi has always wanted to go. And on the same trip, we could check out the kite surfing beaches around the Europe. And also go to snowkite somewhere. Again, we noticed that it is not worth planning so much to the future, even though we were just thinking the options then. Luckily, we have still all the lifetime here, so it is still possible make trips to Europe!! ?????
Departure day of the trip
The departure of the trip was postponed to Thursday 29.10.2020, because we noticed on Wednesday 28.10.2020 that we had got a package from Kiteschool Lappis to Matkahuolto. And it was already closed from that day. Its storage time was only a week and we did not want to make such a short trip. ??
The delay was finally a good thing. We got on the road on Thursday morning, and just in time I got a message to the phone that the snowboard ordered to our son, can be picked up now. Can you believe we were almost at the yard of this post office when the message arrived. And then we got our son’s snowboard with us on the trip. ???
As a first step, Ylivieska
A couple of days before the trip, we were still thinking about where we would go on the road trip: whether we would go further south in the direction of Hanko or north. We ended up in the north because Pasi booked to ProCaravan Ylivieska for maintenance time to install additional lights on the camper van. ? And afterwards we thought: it was so good direction, because at the same time we got the first experiences of winter use of the camper van!! ?
Installation day of additional lights
The maintenance time was booked for Friday morning at 9am and none of our family is very early riser. ??? The only option was to put “ProCaravan Ylivieska” in the car navigator on the previous day and stay the night there in their yard. So it would even somehow be possible to be there so early and breakfasts already in the tummies and all three of us outside from the camper van. ??
We put an alarm clock for the next morning and our son didn’t wake up to it. So we made breakfast and quickly ate with Pasi. Well after breakfast the clock was already so much that it didn’t help but wake up our little one and quickly change the diaper and outerwear in the camper van. Morning porridge and yogurt we took with us and went out of the camper to take the keys for service. ?
Too bad that we did not have any photos from this morning, so I couldn’t put them here. ???
Camper van for installing additional lights
When we went inside the ProCaravan’s building, it became clear that the service was in a slightly different place. And we had spent the night in front of their sale’s point. We then looked at each other with Pasi by thinking what we should have done now when our son’s breakfast was still going and it was already a little over nine a.m. ?
Well, one other of their employees also arrived, who offered to throw our camper van to the service place. ? We just gave the keys to him and in the meantime this other offered us morning coffee. And we chatted with him for a while. ?☕️ We got a really positive picture of ProCaravan’s Ylivieska office, even though we were there for the first time. ?
After the morning coffees, we went to see what is nearby. Our son had time to take the little nap in the stroller while the camper van was in service. I didn’t look at the clock, but it took maybe a couple of hours since we got the camper van back. And after this 9 night trip we can say that we have been very happy to have the extra high beams. In the dark time of the year they bring more safety to driving. ?
Don’t we need to empty the fresh water and grey water tanks in Oulu?
The car was returned to us by a maintenance worker. So at the same time we got to talk to him and ask about the winter use of the camper van, etc. Before, we had thought that the gray water and fresh water tanks should always to be emptied before going to are where it is minus degrees. So in our case at the latest in Oulu, because the forecast showed about -10 degrees below zero for the next night (Fri-Sat), depending on where we looked at the forecast.
As a surprise, the maintenance type said that do not empty the tanks of the van. That’s enough as long as you keep the interior warm and the water tank heating on. We were just that oh really because we had thought that it is not a problem to us to keep the tanks empty for a few winter months of the year. Here you can read more experiences about the winter use of the camper van and e.g. our recommendations and thoughts how to figure out the limit for maximum minus degrees when you can still use the water system of your van also in winter time. ?❄️?
If you can use the water system of your van also at least with small minus degrees, you can make a little bit different trips even in winter weather, if you can use your own shower. We noticed also that it is not necessary to go to the campsite for recharging the batteries for the night in our travel style. We got more winter experience in January and February of 2021 and here you can read more.
From Ylivieska to Oulu
In Ylivieska, the sun was shining wonderfully and we dried the awning before leaving from Ylivieska, because the sun was shining so warmly. It had been wet from the previous trip and the next night the weather forecast said minus degrees and we were a little worried about freezing of the awning.
From Ylivieska we drove to Oulu, because we had ordered new harnesses for kite boarding from Kite School Lappis, which are better suited for riding with a surfboard than a standard harness with a hook. If kite boarding or these harnesses say nothing to you, then you can read our blog post related to kite surfing. ?
We took 3 different sizes of those harnesses for wave riding for the test, after we heard that they are great also in winter time when snowkiting on the fells. ?? We had planned to drop one harness to Kite School Lappis in Oulu. However, this did not go as planned, as at some point during the trip we noticed that we still have 3 harnesses in the camper van. ??? Somehow that extra harness ended up back in our camper van during small talk. ??
In Ruka 30.10-2.11.2020 (Fri-Mon)
The only plan for this trip was to find snow and we wondered how north we have to go in order to find it. ❄️? In Oulu, we still guessed which direction we were going to drive. The weather forecast promised Ruka a very nice-looking frost for the weekend. It was also a reasonable short drive there. We thought we could get to the slope there the next day. We also found information that, there were also a few slopes already open in Ruka. ?❄️?
The next day’s dream meant that we should be ready by the ski lifts in the morning. So we drove for the night in the free parking lot near the ski lifts. It was low season so there was a lot of free space. ?
During our son’s nap, we got snowboarding for a really long time
I have to say (again??) that the camper van is the best!!! ??? We got to snowboarding by turns with Pasi for a very long time while our son took a nap in the stroller. ??❄️ The camper van was parked near the ski lift and then we had a warm break space and a diaper changing place right next door!!
It had been a while since we were last time snowboarding in Levi in April 2018. ??? I was so excited and scared at the same time, how I survive from the top back down because the slopes were a little icy. I have had that big tummy between the last and this time so I am not sure if it took a little time that I learned again make the turns with the board. I still haven’t gotten as much certainty about snowboarding as what I have in kite boarding.
Kite boarding was also exciting at the beginning, if you could get too rarely to kite board. Surely I have also become a little more careful after becoming a mom, when I have to take care of our son also in addition to myself. ???
It was such a great feeling when our littlest family member slept and we had a nice snowboarding time with Pasi in the meantime. It was possible to snowboard by turns so that the other was always close to the stroller. It worked really well and our son slept long in the stroller. I took the picture carefully so that not to accidentally wake him up. There he slept with his sleeping friends. ??
After snowboarding, we ate after our son woke up. On the day of the hobby, we often just warm some food in order to get the food fast. Then everyone is in good mood and we can avoid unnecessary anger caused by hunger. ?
The day was crowned by getting even a warm shower at the end of the outdoor day. It is almost impossible to describe that feeling in words when you take a shower in a camper van and the shower water is warm and there is something like -7 degrees below zero on the other side of the wall!!! ? ????
Then it was our son’s turn to try snowboarding
On Sunday our little one got to test his new Burton After School snowboard for the first time. He was immediately so excited!! ???❄️ After breakfast, he was able to touch the board in the van after we took it off from the delivery package. ??
We could easily put the board on his feet. And he stayed upright right away, which surprised even us. ? Or we hadn’t even thought in advance how things would go, so the experience was really positive for everyone.
Burton riglet board reel was really working with the board. We pulled our son up and down he came with the support of his father. He liked especially when he did spins and jumps with support so that Pasi lifted him into the air??
Finally, he wanted to carry the board all the way back to the car by himself. ?
On Monday via Salla towards Pyhä
On Monday, November 2, 2020, after breakfast, we left Ruka to drive towards Salla fell, because we had not been there before. The forecast showed rainy day to all over the north, so we thought that it would be a good day for driving.
For driving days we have tried to figure out some things for our son what we could do during driving. At this time Our son tested mom’s tiger slippers. And the motorhome toy has also been one of the favorites for some strange reason. Thanks again to ProCaravan’s Topi for that one! ??
There was only a little snow in Salla and it was really quiet there. We got there just in time and we put our son sleep in his stroller. The weather forecast showed rain and storm and that’s why we thought that we put our little one sleeping inside the van at that time. However, he didn’t fall asleep there, so we moved him into the stroller and went for a walk.
After the walking, our son slept next to the van in the stroller and soon it started to rain and the wind was quite hard. We started to thinking what other people would have thought when we sat inside a warm van with Pasi and we had put our child to sleep outside in the stroller. ? But he just sleeps outside so well and his legs, arms and body have felt warm when we have taken his outdoor clothes off after sleeping. In addition, he has been in a very good mood after sleeping, so why to force him sleeping inside. ??? However, during nights he sleeps with us inside the van very well.
After our son’s day nap the journey continued towards Pyhä
After a day sleep, we started to drive towards Pyhä and ended up in the middle of nowhere for a night at a free parking spot. It rained and it was already dark. ?☔️In fact, I didn’t even get out of the warm van during the evening and night. ?? Pasi and our little one had a moment of dinner together, and after that our son went to sleep. And we started to watch Netflix from the phone for a while before going to sleep. ?
When we woke up in the morning we had to go see what kind of place were have stayed the night. The view was absolutely stunning and incredible as it is shown below. ? We had ended up in a dream parking lot in the dark?? Surprises like this on road trips are the best ones!!! ???
For breakfast we usually ate curd, porridge and fruits. The fruits often get us a lovely morning coffee moment for Pasi and me, when our son likes to eat those fruits in his high chair. ?☕️?
Slow mornings on the trip are the best ones? We could have coffee with the view like shown in below photo and listen to the radio while our son was enjoying apples. ☕️??
From the dream night spot via Pyhä and Luosto to Levi
The next day nap time went in Luosto at a resting place like this. ??
Before our son’s nap, we went to explore the nearby terrain, because our son likes to go just walking in the woods and this time he also wanted to go there. There are not many outdoor toys needed on trips, because we have almost always a new place to explore. ?
When a little one was sleeping in his stroller, Pasi flew a drone in order to see what the place looked like from above. And the scenery was really spectacular as you can see from below photo.?
Before the next night, it was necessary to find a place where empty the toilet
A small challenge came on the way related to finding a place where it was possible to empty the toilet. A couple of gas stations we went to check on the way and asked if we could empty a toilet there. They told in one service station that there would be no toilet emptying point in the entire Levi area. Luckily, however, we did not give up, but continued google and one of them: Park4night-phone app or Puskaparkit -googlemaps we found Levilehto Apartments.
We called their duty phone and they remotely instructed on how to get the toilet empty. And the next day we went to pay it because we have not yet got the bill in the email. So as a tip for you too, if you have to get the motorhome’s or camper van’s toilet empty in Levi area then go to @levilehtoapartments! The service there is perfect!!! ???? And they have also shower and sauna there if you need.
In Levi we stayed the night in the parking lot located under the main slopes. Also a couple of other cars stayed there the night. It may not work in high season, but it was so luxury during this low season time. ?
In Levi 3.-5.11.2020 (Tue-Thu)
For the first day in Levi our son was a little bit angry and this time the chair lift was more interesting than the board. We asked him if we would put the board on his feet, and then he said strictly “No no no”.??
So, instead of snowboarding, we ended up for a coffee in the café below the main slopes. ☕️ I’m in love the coloring of the board and it seems that other people liked it as well. One woman asked near the chair lift in English from where we have bought it and I told her that we ordered it from the Stadium. Finally, he just said, “It’s so cute” ? and began to chat something about it to her friend.
After the coffee time, our son went to sleep in a stroller. And we went for walking with Pasi and enjoyed a salad in peace.??
Instead of snowboarding, we went again for coffee with Pasi and it was not a bad option either. There was already a little Christmas feel in Levi because they had put already some Christmas decorations and there was also a little snow already in some places. ?❄️?
The “city” was pretty quiet, but it didn’t bother us either. ?
The second day in Levi
Unlike the day before, after breakfast I tried to introduce our son to the board and show how it comes to the feet. ? (I was hoping that today we could do a little training again. ?)
And so he was snowboarding a little in Levi also, even though his gloves didn’t manage to hold in his hands at all.???❄️?
After the snowboarding, we started to drive towards home and saw a few reindeer.
For Thursday evening we drove to Oulu for the night. It was a great sunrise in the next morning there. We couldn’t complaint the view in the morning!??☕️
The journey continued to south from Oulu
The last night of the trip we stayed a little to south from Joutsa by the lake. And it was a slow morning again. ? Our son, as usual, kicked in his tent after waking up and we just enjoyed the moment for a while before we got up for making breakfast ☕️??
I have to say that this sleeping solution is great because we can get with Pasi our feet under our son’s bed. And that’s how we have more space to sleep. Previously, his sleeping tent was directly on the bed of the camper van and it took up more than half the width of the bed. ? Here you can check out more photos from our current sleeping solution. Unfortunately the text is found only in Finnish. I will update the link when the translation will be ready. ?
Home arrival date
We arrived home after a 9-night trip. ? It was nice to be on the road again and we also surprised ourselves by staying all 9 nights in the free parking lots with a toddler and it even was partly in winter weather!!! ???? Before the trip, we thought that we did not dare to keep water in the tanks of the camper van, but luckily we were encouraged to try. And we didn’t empty the water tanks in Oulu. ?? The maximum minus degrees on the trip were about -10 degrees below zero.❄️?
PS. You should check if you could also have water in the water system of the camper van at least with low minus degrees. It’s easier, when you can use your own shower, and you can wash the dishes easily. ? And you can save money e.g. during the time when one of the family takes care of the child at home and you don’t have so much money in use. Then you can save money and you can travel more often. ?
It came a pretty long text again, but we took so many photos and it was difficult to choose them. It is pretty awesome if you read this far. ? Now we can say based on our own experience that on paternity leave it is amazing to be on the road!! ? ?? And this trip made in October-November 2020 was not depressing time at all although the season is a little bit gray and dark usually!! ?
We are pretty exciting how well you can travel and take care of even a small child in the free parking lots without any campsite services. ??? And best of all, you don’t have to plan anything in advance and you can travel completely according to your mood, but of course taking into account the needs of your child. ??
Here you can read from other road trips
Here you can read camper van related blog posts
Here you can find the blog posts related to travelling with a little child
Here you can read kite surfing related blog posts
And please put a feedback to us if you liked the blog post and if you have some idea to the subject of the next blog post. Thanks already in advance! ?