The Things I Tell My Mom About Afterwards

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by EräPiira

My Mom and I…we have a deal.

I check-in at least every couple of days via email, and if I know I won’t be able to do that, I make sure she knows why and predict when she can finally expect to hear from me. I also check-in on all travel days, so that she knows when we’ve arrived to our new location safely.

In return, she doesn’t harass Canada’s foreign embassies to stalk the whereabouts of her daughter (although, she was *this* close once when we were out of internet-land a little longer than intended in Bolivia). And I really don’t mind the constant contact, knowing that she can sleep much better at night because of it.

There are some things, however, that she doesn’t know about (or at least, not until afterwards). My Mom is deathly afraid of water, and well, I’m a water baby. Put me on a kayak in frozen Patagonia or send me on a raft down Class V rapids and I’m all over it.

So when we knew we were going rapids floating – in Finland, in February – that definitely was on the no-tell list. Forget being in a raft or kayak, we were set to float down a river on our own – we were to be our own boats.

Forget being in a raft or kayak, we were set to float down a river on our own – we were to be our own boats.


Now that it’s passed, I can safely tell her how harrowing yet exhilarating it was to fall through the thin edges of snow-covered ice. How relaxing it was to float in the sub-zero temperatures with four layers of clothes on. How I mildly panicked when I took a face-full of water, yet recovered and made it to the side with a giant smile on my face. How we joked with Urpo, our guide, when he stated that he “hadn’t lost anyone on this tour…yet.

We survived!
We survived!

And now, we can also torture her a little bit with a show-all video. (Sorry Mom!)

Our trip to Finland was courtesy of Visit Finland and Wild Taiga. As always, all opinions are our own.

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  1. That looks SO cool!
    What kind of suits were those?
    And I must say four layers of clothes… that’s what I’m wearing now!
    But I’m guessing you guys we wearing ‘special’ stuff?

    1. The big orange suits were “survival suits” to prevent water and cold from getting in! Underneath we had a very thick layer of fleece, and I had long johns and leggings on, with two more layers also on top. We were stuffed! And it worked. 🙂

  2. That looks so fun! It sounds like my Mom and me too. She hates water, I could live in it and be perfectly happy. I think this would completely freak her out 🙂

    1. The first time (after crashing through the ice) and when we were just floating…we were probably in there for about 10 minutes. Then, each time we floated down the rapids (we did it three times), it was probably over in a minute or so. Quite quick!

  3. HOW.FUN. Oh my gosh, that looks amazing. how did you get out??

    I have a feeling I’ll have to handle my mom the same way when I’m traveling.

    1. The first parts, when we were just floating after we had broken through the ice, we would lay on the ice with our stomachs and then kick hard with our legs to shimmy out! The second part when we were done going down the rapids, we would make our way over to the edge where it was quite shallow and then we could just step out.

  4. Thanks to those out there who are understanding to their Mom’s worries too. See Dalene & Pete…I’m not the only one.

    I gasped when you broke thru the ice but after that point it looked rather relaxing & exhilarating. xo

  5. This looks like a lot of fun! Unless you had to wear dry suits – then I’ll pass. I don’t know I can ever put on a dry suit again after my experience in Iceland. Talk about feeling claustrophobic!

    1. No dry suits, those big orange things are loose-ish survival suits and we each have 3-4 layers on underneath! So much fun, and not cold at all (except for the odd splash in the face)!

  6. Oh my god, we were separated at birth because I think we share the same mother 😉
    Actually I think mine is even more concerned. She was traumatized when she found out that I would sometimes go for walks…after dark…in NYC…alone.

    1. Ah – how dare you! Haha, my Mom would be the same. In fact, there are definitely a few other things I don’t tell her about as well. 🙂

  7. I definitely share the same philosophy… after the fact, when I’m alive and well, the stories come out. “Guess what I just did!?”

    1. We could almost have a separate page on our website for: Guess what I just did? Haha, that would probably be the only one my Mom would check then. 🙂

  8. My mother uses embassy harassment as a threat to keep me in contact! That would be pretty humiliating if the entire consulate came after you only to find you couldn’t be bothered to find wifi for a few days 🙂

    1. Ha! The worse part about that story was when we got into internet-area and it was so sketchy that I sent her a whole email but it came across to her blank. So then she REALLY freaked out, thinking it was a code for me being kidnapped! Haha

    1. Not even so cold, really. We were dressed very warmly and only were chilled when a bit of water splashed in our faces! Oh, and our hands got a little cold at first too. But that’s it!

    1. Not at all! The only place we could feel the cold water was in our hands (although we dipped them in a bucket of warm water to combat that), and I did take a face-full of water during one of my three times down the rapids. That was startling!

  9. I’m not a strong swimmer so this scares the bejeebeez out of me. I can definitely understand why you didn’t tell your mom – when I decided to bungee jump I didn’t tell my mom OR my grandmother until I got home. I just played the video and watched their reaction. Priceless!!

  10. This looks like a total blast! I’ve never heard of this before. I really would like to try it, in Finland or anywhere else in the world you can be your own boat 🙂

  11. This. Looks. Awesome. Also completely terrifying, and I can’t quite believe that you weren’t freezing the whole time. But I love rafting, so I could probably be talked into this!

  12. Ha ha! There are things I tell Mom about afterwards, and then there are the things I will never tell my Mom about. I’ll save them for my memoirs, which I won’t write until long after my folks have departed this mortal coil 😉

    Looks like there are all kinds of fun adventures to be had in Finland!

    1. There were SO MANY fun adventures. It really is a great ‘playground’ for winter!

      Yup, some stories my Mom will never EVER know about as well… 🙂

  13. Oh, my gosh, that looks like amazing fun and the video is awesome. What a wonderful adventure and I’m so glad you waited till afterwards to tell your mom. What a thoughtful daughter you are!

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