From The North, With Love...

A brief overview of life at the International Wilderness Guide School Of Tampere

There is somewhere in the North a school. An extraordinary class, probably the only one in Europe and maybe in the world… For 22 years the International Wilderness Guide School Of Tampere has trained and taught women and men from all around the world to become a guide. All this for the dreams jobs: mushers, expedition leader or winter guide.

This adult school teaches all the useful skills to survive into the wild. The main line would be: know yourself to not care about you anymore; then you can start to care for the people you guide.

Why? Just to enjoy the raw Beauty of the wild and the Peace of Forest. Do you even imagine what is the feeling to fall asleep by minus 30°C, on the Frost and snow under the Northernlight?

At the International Wilderness Guide School of Tampere

We are 15 students from different nationalities: from Finland, from Belgium, from Scotland, from Wales, from Nederland, from France… Between 20 and 40 years old with various backgrounds: archeology, linguist, kindergarten teacher, psychology, young student. We spend one year together in the middle of nowhere.

All of us travelers, hikers or adventure lovers we learn to lead expeditions. If you feel like going for a trek in Lapland or Altaï how you would plan those journeys of many days, many weeks into the bush?

To get this knowledge, we have to plan educational trips. The first one was a ten days expeditions somewhere in Russian Karelia 60 kilometer from the nearest city.

How to build a camp? How to sleep in the best condition whatever the weather? How to guarantee the security, even with the psychology aspect linked with the tiredness and the ordinary life?These are some of the questions that we must always be sure to have an answer…

Of course, we dream a lot about all the cliché dangers of the wilderness: bears, wolves, mosquitos or food poisonous from horrible berries… The main threat is hypothermia. If the human body falls under 25°C, there is a good chance of never waking up. Remember to not drop into cold water. Getting lost is also something significant. That’s why we learn to use maps and compasses during the days. And the nights.

We are learning to backpack, to sleep and to fish. We’re learning to cook on the open fire, to walk, to orientate in thick forest, to walk on the snow and to live with the cold. We are learning to start a fire whatever the weather, learning to give a name to plants, to birds, and to mushrooms. We’re learning to know your weakness and your strengths. That is a part of what they teach at the International Wilderness Guide School of Tampere.

One of the last tests of this school is nine days solo ski trip somewhere above the polar circle. Don’t worry, we going to tell you our adventures before to reach Lapland in winter.

“Nous aimons vivre au fond des bois,
Aller coucher sur la dure.
La forêt nous dit de ses mille voix :
Lance-toi dans la grande aventure.​

Nous aimons vivre auprès du feu
Et danser sous les étoiles.
La nuit claire nous dit de ses mille voix :
Sois gai lorsque le ciel est sans voile.​

Nous aimons vivre sur nos chevaux
Dans les plaines du Caucase.
Emportés par de rapides galops
Nous allons plus vite que Pégase.”

We love to live in the woods,
Go to sleep on the hard ground.
The forest tells us of its thousand voices:
Be ready for the great adventure.

We like to live near the fire
And dance under the stars.
The clear night tells us of its thousand voices:
Be cheerful when the sky is without a sail.

We love to live on our horses
In the Caucasus plains.
Swept away by fast gallops
We are faster than Pegasus.”

Russian Cossack Song