The Things I Tell My Mom About Afterwards

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.

50 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • March 22 2013

    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?

    • March 23 2013

      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. 🙂

  • March 22 2013

    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 🙂
    Alison recently posted..Baby’s First Hospital Visit in Brussels, Belgium

    • March 23 2013

      I think my Mom is getting better with this stuff, but that crashing through the ice part…yeah… 🙂

  • March 22 2013

    Looks like great fun! How long were you in the water for?

    • March 23 2013

      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!

  • March 22 2013

    That looks like SOOOOO much fun!
    Nicole recently posted..Photos from our travels to Luxor, Egypt

    • March 23 2013

      It was a LOT of fun! I was asking about Class III rapids by the end of it… 🙂

  • Steph
    March 22 2013

    You are a better daughter than me. I would probably tell my mom and then laugh at her for worrying.

  • Carmel
    March 22 2013

    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.

    • March 23 2013

      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.

  • March 22 2013

    haha “don’t tell mom” .. I know what that’s like 🙂

  • Mom
    March 22 2013

    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

    • March 23 2013

      I think you are getting less fearful for us Mom! I was sure you would be panicking throughout that whole video! xo

  • March 23 2013

    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!
    Jennifer recently posted..A Dog Sledding Adventure in Svalbard

    • March 25 2013

      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)!

  • March 23 2013

    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.
    A Cook Not Mad (Nat) recently posted..Meatball: Where Did You Come From?

    • March 25 2013

      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. 🙂

  • Sam
    March 23 2013

    Sounds like a good deal to have with one’s mother!

  • Kate - CanuckiwiKate
    March 24 2013

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

    • March 25 2013

      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. 🙂

  • March 24 2013

    I have to admit, I’m not an adventure traveler but I am so jealous of this, it looks awesome.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Food Friday: Where the hipsters drink on the cheap in Helsinki

    • March 25 2013

      You are more adventurous than you think, I am sure. This was really awesome.

  • March 25 2013

    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 🙂
    Alex recently posted..Two Days in The Thai Jungle: Rafting from Pai to Mae Hong Son

    • March 25 2013

      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

  • Laura @Travelocafe
    March 25 2013

    Now, you really own the title of an adventure traveler. Congrats.

    • March 25 2013

      Thanks Laura! We are accumulating quite a list of conquered adventurous tasks. This one was very unique though! 🙂

  • March 25 2013

    Kudos to you! Had no idea this kind of thing even existed! Only in Finland…
    Gerard ~ GQ trippin recently posted..My Career Break Ends Today

    • March 25 2013

      I really think it IS only in Finland. We did a lot of research and couldn’t find any other place where they do this in winter.

  • Abby
    March 25 2013

    You two are officially insane lol. Great title — I’ll be posting a few of those in the coming weeks!

    • March 25 2013

      Yay! It’s official! We’ve been wearing the unofficial title for a few years now. 🙂

  • March 25 2013

    Well it looks like a lot of fun, but cold!

    • March 25 2013

      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!

  • March 25 2013

    That looks like so much fun! When we went scuba diving in Iceland I realized the power of a dry suit. They are AWESOME!

    • March 26 2013

      I’d love to wander all over Finland in such suit, splashing along as I please! 🙂

  • That is sooo cool!

    I really want to do this!

  • March 26 2013

    Holy crap, you guys! That’s intense! Could you still feel the cold of the water through your four layers??

    • March 26 2013

      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!

  • March 26 2013

    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!!
    Cristina recently posted..Cerveceria Barnabier

  • Loved this post both for the exciting adventure and the respect you and your mother have for each other! Although I’m not really “that” adventurous, I think this would be great fun and would love to do it.

  • March 27 2013

    This looks like so much fun! Didn’t they ask you if you wanted to do it again?? Haha….cool stuff.
    Red Hunt recently posted..Hey ‘Professional’ Travel Bloggers – Have you Apologized to Delta yet?

  • Sabina
    March 27 2013

    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 🙂

  • March 28 2013

    Holy crap that looks cold.

  • Emily in Chile
    March 28 2013

    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!

  • March 31 2013

    That’s awesome! Jealous of your adventure.
    Lance recently posted..Tylan Concert at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia

  • 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!
    Steph | A Nerd At Large recently posted..Foto Friday: The Ridiculous Easter Island Bunny

    • April 2 2013

      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… 🙂

  • April 15 2013

    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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