Recognise the face above? If you’re a Finn, with a social media account, the answer is probably a resounding yes! Timo Korpi, perhaps better known as Timo Wilderness, is one of Finland’s most popular vloggers. Browse his YouTube channel and you’ll find an eclectic mix of English-language travel diaries from around the globe, fun bits and skits, and his popular series, WTF – Welcome to Finland, which explores various aspects of Finnish life.
This past summer, a couple of Timo’s videos were a huge hit on social media both in Finland and beyond. In the first, Swamp Wrestling! Timo talks about the bogs of Finland and more. This combination of fascinating subject and beautiful cinematography gained him nearly a million views and 10k shares on Facebook alone. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a watch below. The second video dealt with a subject very close to every Finn’s heart, sauna. In The world’s most public sauna, Timo celebrates Sompasauna, a free-of-charge and always open sauna in Helsinki. This film, clearly a labour of love, showcased all that is wonderful about public sauna culture. With two viral hits under his belt, we were keen to hook up with the man himself to discover more about his vlogging, his traveling, and, of course, his love of Finland.
Thanks for joining us, Timo. To give our readers an idea of what you do, how would you describe yourself and your vlog in three sentences or less?
In Finland, we have a saying that goes something like “every fool has his own happiness for cheap, and idiots have it for free.” My vlog is very much about cheap thrills and a minimalistic lifestyle. I enjoy making music-video-like pieces about things that seem worthless to most people.
So, what inspired you to start vlogging?
My initial inspiration was Mitchell Davis and other early American and British YouTubers in 2009. I was hooked by the feeling that someone was telling me stories from the other side of the world. There was no production business, no TV or radio stations in between. It felt beautiful and honest.
And what’s your shooting and editing process like?
Long and lengthy. Well, shooting can be quick and spontaneous — but planning, writing, and editing take a long time. I can easily spend a full work week on one video. Planning can start years earlier.
Throughout all of your travels, what has been the most amazing experience? How about the scariest?
The most amazing must be when we met a guy in a grocery store and were invited to dig up the bones of his grandfather. It was a Balinese funeral ritual called Ngaben. They let me feel the skull.
The scariest might have been in Thailand. I kayaked and camped around a remote island completely alone. Lots of terrors there, like creepers, darkness, big waves, and unfamiliar currents. Nothing really dangerous, though. Just scary.
What gets your vote as the #1 thing to do in Finland, for both tourists and locals?
Sompasauna, no doubt about it. It’s the most public sauna in the world, and always free. I’m just editing a video about it. It’s how Mad Max would bathe while in Helsinki.
Finally, if you could swamp wrestle anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m pretty sure that if I let my bae wrestle with Alexander Skarsgård she would let me have a go with Beyoncé Knowles.
A fascinating insight into the life of one of Finland’s finest filmmakers, we’re sure you’ll agree. If you have any other questions for Timo, be sure to pop them in the comments below and, to ensure you don’t miss his next masterpiece, follow him on YouTube and Facebook.
Joel Willans is the Editor of Ink Tank and Co-Founder of Ink Tank Media. Author of the short story collection SPELLBOUND: Stories of Women’s Magic over Men, his prize-winning fiction has been broadcast on BBC radio and published in dozens of magazines and collections worldwide. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.