I started writing for the Helsinki cityblog Spotted by Locals about 2,5 years ago, where a bunch of great fellow Helsinkians and I share our favourite places to go and our love for the city.
I had the great pleasure to take part in their writers meet-up weekend in 2012 already, which was certainly one of the most memorable weekends for me ever. This November we all gathered in Amsterdam again for an equally amazing weekend with new and old friends.
I already spent a lot of time reflecting on all these encounters, many of which were brief, I can only come up with only summary that someone already came up with two years ago: these are all just genuinely good people. Of course you can’t get along with everyone like you have been best friends forever, or have deep conversations with 96 strangers within a day and a half. But there is this one common thing that unites us all, which is passion to share the love for our homecity. And that makes it all just so true, relaxing and…amazing.
After the welcome party with lots of liquid nonsense, we spent the day strolling through Amsterdam, which was a model hostess this weekend, with summery temperatures, glowing in autumn colours. We continued afternoon in the Compagnietheater, and I’m happy to have had more time to properly socialise with people outside of day-activities and the downstairs partycave of our hostelboats, in this bright and lofty place. I feel like I need to mention the delicious Belgian fries and sauce Andalouse that we found on the search for food (But that makes me day wherever I am), before heading to play (in my case, watch) ping pong in a squatted house.
For several reasons I wasn’t sure if I would/could make it to Amsterdam, but in the end I am so glad that I did. After the truly magical experience two years ago, I was relieved to see that the vibe and the enthusiasm felt exactly the same as back then. It was merely a continuation of what we had in 2012. Conversations continued where they were left off, hugs were plentiful and smiles were warm.
This extraordinary group of people is what makes Spotted by Locals so special and successful. Personally, I can say that writing and working with founders Bart and Sanne has helped me a lot in finding a path for my own future, starting with the people I met at the Spotters’ Weekend 2012 leading to my thesis project which inspired me to eventually starting Luminoucity, an amazing opportunity to speak at a conference in Belfast this year, and now the great weekend that I just returned from – and I’m very grateful for that.
It will take me a couple of more days to work through all the thoughts and stories that were shared. My edible souvenirs and photos that will pop up will certainly help with that.
Thank you, everyone. See you tigers soon.