What’s it like to chase the Northern Lights?
This husband and wife team from Lapland shed light on one of the coolest occupations in travel.
In Finland’s far north lies the resort town of Levi where husband and wife team Paul Swallow from the UK and Agnieszka Olek from Poland run Levi Foxfires, a company that provides private luxury experiences from Aurora hunting to wild food foraging.
What makes you especially happy about living in Lapland?
We love living in a place that really immerses you in nature, in the wild. You really get the feeling here that the human impact is minimal and that we have forged just a tiny path into this beautiful land.
If there is such a thing, what would be a typical day for you?
Every day is different here in Lapland. The weather and nature change the environment all the time. Our typical day usually consists of a porridge breakfast followed by a walk or cross-country skiing in the winter with our dog, Gooseberry. Then we might go foraging or in winter head up the hill for some alpine skiing, followed by dinner, rest, and sauna.
What do you look forward to most in your work?
We enjoy meeting customers but we dread this one sentence above all other things: “It’s our last night and we still haven’t seen the Northern Lights!” It’s always best to book an Aurora hunt at the start of your holiday – that way you can either start your holiday with a bang or you give yourself more time to find them.
What are the ups and downs of life in Lapland?
Everything needs winterising: cars, buildings, clothing… minus 30 Celsius is common so planning ahead is essential. But there is a beauty here. It’s a true wilderness. People always marvel at the space and how it clears the mind. Someone once said it’s like being on the forest moon of Endor in Star Wars – the difference is that we have reindeer, not Ewoks!
What’s your next adventure?
In February 2020 we will open our first accommodation, Foxfires – two bed and breakfast rooms uniquely designed and equipped with luxury service.
Text Tim Bird
Photos Tim Bird and Levi Firefoxes