Tour Three. Global Connection.

Why Travel Matters

Ever wonder why people spend so much time planning and going on trips to faraway places?

People travel for pleasure, school or business. For some people, distant lands are only places to vacation or places to learn about in
the classroom. But countries outside our own affect us more than you might think. Travel affects how we live, what we know and believe, and what we eat and drink.
Where do we get food that does not grow in our country? Food and other products often travel by boat. Trade is the purchase, sale or exchange of goods between people and places.

More than 80 percent of Finland’s foreign trade involves sea transport. In winter, cargo vessels rely heavily on the assistance of icebreakers — boats that break the ice that forms in oceans and lakes — to lead them safely to port.
Finland has 1,100 kilometers of coastline on the Baltic Sea, nearly 200,000 lakes, and numerous small ponds, streams and rivers. As a result, Finns are very used to travelling by water. Finns use the water to get around as well
as to ship goods.
One hundred years ago, boats were the most important means of transportation for people and goods in Finland.
Today, although boating remains an important leisure activity, Finns largely travel by rail and road.

Nevertheless, Finland remains one of the most important ship builders in the world. The finest and most technologically advanced “love boats” cruising the Caribbean are made in Finland.
Walking is also an important Finnish tradition. The most famous Finnish walker was a man named Elias Lönnrot, who lived from 1802 to 1884. He walked barefoot across Finland for 15 years collecting traditional poetry. Are you thinking what I’m thinking — how did he do it? Well, he spread tar on the soles of his feet to protect them from wear and tear. He rowed across lakes and rivers. And in winter, he skied – with his shoes on, of course.
Other very old methods of travel are also popular in Finland.

The Sami people in northern Finland, for example, still ride reindeer-drawn sleighs. There are 250,000 reindeer in Finland and reindeer owners often compete in sleigh races. The reindeer sleigh is also the principal and most important means of transportation for Santa Claus, who travels
from his home in Korvatunturi, in Finnish Lapland, to Christian households around the world in 48 hours.
You can travel along Santa Claus’s route from Finland to the United States, but we recommend you do so by airplane. There are direct flights between the two countries every day on FinnAir, Finland’s national carrier.
When in Finland, you can choose to spend time in the city or in the countryside; at lakes or in forests; skiing or skating; or just hanging out at amusement parks.
The average Finn travels to a foreign country at least once a year. Americans, whose own country is vast and extends from one sea to another, don’t leave their own country as often. Instead, they travel within the United States.

Today, even people who don’t have an opportunity to visit other countries can travel virtually over the Web.
Visiting Project Finland is the second best thing to actually going to Finland!


  1. Boating in Finland
  • is more common than ever
  • is the only way to get around
  • is crucial in the winter
  • is a popular hobby

2. Elias Lönnrot was

  • an Olympic athlete
  • a collector of folklore
  • a health nut
  • a marathon runner

3. Santa Claus

  • Competes in sleigh speeding
  • travels far and fast
  • has abandoned his reindeer
  • never travels abroad

4. Why is understanding travel important?

  • It affects our lives tremendously
  • Finns travel a lot
  • You can surf the Net
  • In the old days, no one traveled