What hits you the most when you are travelling by reindeer sled is the stillness that surrounds you – you really have time to be with yourself. It is now two weeks since I returned to the office after spending 6 days travelling on a reindeer sled over the mountain tundra in Sweden, over a mountain pass at 1000m and into Norway, staying in reindeer herders’ cabins and lavvu on the way.
When I came back, I got comments that I looked like I’d been to the North Pole, because I was sunburned, weather-beaten and had blisters on my lips, but none of these could wipe the smile off my face or the sense of freedom in my heart.
There were 10 of us – 5 persons (two guides, the two other participants and me) and 5 reindeer:
Na’sti (my reindeer) – meaning “Star” in Sami language (as he had a white star between his antlers).
Skoalbme Njunne – “Hump Nose”
C’iuavvat – “The Grey One”
Jaffouagaibi – “Flour Chin”
Gaire -“Long Dark Legs”
One thing I didn’t expect was the connection you got with your reindeer and how different they were as individuals. My reindeer Na’sti was the smallest and youngest of the five and this was his first really long trip. After spending the days with him travelling through the beautiful winter landscape, I really felt that he and I had a connection – we were friends.
With no electricity and no mobile phone cover for the duration of tour, it was a really get-away-from-it-all experience. If you add to this the stillness and calmness of travelling by reindeer sled, it was a real stress-releasing experience. When travelling by reindeer, you have to accept the pace – sure you can encourage them to move on, speed up, but if a reindeer wants to walk at a certain pace, that’s the pace you are going to travel at. You have to let go of wanting to control them too much and just go with the flow.
Now, when I’m back in the office and the stress of normal life, I just need to look out through the window and let my mind drift back there and I am again with my friend Na’sti travelling through the snow surrounded by snowclad peaks and the calmness comes back to me inside.
Sofia from The Nature Travels Team
See here for details of Nature Travels reindeer sledding tours in Lapland. For a shorter taster experience, our Experience Lapland multi-activity tour includes one-day reindeer and Sami culture activity.