Touring Finland by bike
Exploring Finnish nature and culture
“I always knew in my mind that Nordic countries have a good reputation for being at the forefront of Environmental Conservation, so I made the choice to come to Oulu and here I am.”
Rishikesh Raut is a graduate of the master’s programme in Environmental Engineering at the University of Oulu. He moved to Finland in 2020 and graduated in June 2022. He has been enjoying his life in Oulu and it has enabled him to unleash his potential in discovering nature in ways he would not have imagined a few years ago. “It has been such an enriching experience for my life”, Rishikesh says.
Furthermore, he finds people to be the same across the globe; “A surprise for me is that people are all the same everywhere. Some people say that ‘hey, you know, cultures differ, and people are different.’ But what I found in my time over here is that everyone inside is just the same. Everyone laughs and cries about the same things. So that was pretty cool to see.”
But Rishikesh is always amused by how nature works in wondrous ways to make the entire living experience a worthy one here in Finland. For him, the four seasons are “like nature changing a dress every now and then”. This is quite a unique experience for him, coming from a tropical country.
“On the darkest days, some stars are playing music and purple lights are dancing in the sky. We cannot hear the music, but we can see the dance. So, it's a completely amazing place to be.”
Cycling 3600 kilometres
During his free time, Rishikesh engages in many leisure activities but for him, cycling stands out among the rest.
“I have enjoyed everything I do like going on walks by the sea and the frozen sea. Everything is blissful and quiet. But cycling has been a special thing for me because before coming to Finland there was not so much freedom to go anywhere by bicycle. There's chaos on the roads. But here, with the cycling infrastructure, I learned to ride a lot.”
This new habit of Rishikesh led him to do the impossible during the summer. It was Rishikesh’s dream to cycle around Finland and finally, he was able to achieve his dream in the summer of 2022.
“Oulu and Finland have allowed me to do this something so wild and something which would have been crazy. I rode about 3,600 kilometres and it took me about 65 days to do that. I started on the 12th of July and came back home on the 15th of September.”
For this adventure, he collaborated with the University of Oulu. His adventure was financially supported by the Environmental Humanities Department and the Social Biodiverse Anthropocene Research Unit at the University of Oulu.
“I am so very much grateful for this place which has been the right soil for this little seed to germinate,” Rishikesh says.
Finding his happy place
Rishikesh says this adventure of cycling around Finland has given him a new perspective on life and nature. He has met amazing people, heard amazing stories and seen breathtaking views of nature during his road trip. “It was an opportunity to empty myself and be full again with something fresh and memorable experiences”, he explains.
Rishikesh found his inspiration in Oulu, so he decides to stay in Oulu and create a positive impact as an Environmental Engineer.
“I am so positively encouraged and energized to continue along this route in some form or shape. It may look different, but I have some more crazy, seemingly impossible things in mind!”