LA Moves to Helsinki

by Audrey
Audrey at rooftop

Okay maybe not all of Los Angeles is moving to Helsinki, but at least this girl who was born in LA and lived there her entire life is, along with her pup, Rambo. My name is Audrey by the way. To my Americans reading this, without looking at a map, do you know where Finland is? Did you know that Finland is part of Europe? No? Well neither did I!

The land of Helsinki, Finland

Let me start by giving you some context into the size of Finland. Land wise, the country of Finland is 338,145 sq km which is about the size of California (403,882 sq km). California though, has a massive population of 39.5 million within that land. Finland’s entire population is 5.5 million, not much bigger than Los Angeles, which has about 4 million people. Helsinki, which is the capital and where I’m moving to, has about 600,000. Last year there were 250,000 people just at Coachella. So what I’m saying is, there’s tons of available land in Finland, come on over!

I’ve always dreamed of living in Europe, but this wasn’t exactly what I imagined. So, why would I move to a country I’ve barely heard of?

The story begins at Burning Man

Well back in 2016, I met a Finn at Burning Man. At first it started off as rendezvous in different countries. One great thing about cross-continental long distance relationships is that you get to have dates all around the world. Somewhere along the way though it became serious, so we both started looking for jobs in each other’s countries. During one of Kimmo’s visits to LA back in February 2019, I got a job offer from a tech company in Helsinki. The stars aligned for us that week and that’s why I’m packing up and heading to the North Pole… I mean Finland.

Introducing LAxHEL

This blog is going to be about my journey moving to Finland and the fascinating differences between living in LA and Helsinki. You’ll probably also occasionally hear from Kimmo, and my French Bulldog, Rambo, who is making the move with me. We hear a lot about what it’s like living in major cities like London, Paris, and Rome, but you rarely hear much about Helsinki… maybe except for the occasional article that Finland is the happiest country in the world and Trump saying they don’t have forest fires like California because they rake their leaves. Yup that’s our President, which also makes it a good time to leave the U.S.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to record my experiences and give the world a glimpse into Helsinki from an outsider perspective, as well as give Finns an insider look into LA. I’d also love for this blog to be interactive and collaborative. That means I’ll welcome any tips from Finns and for my LA people to keep me updated on all things Los Angeles. So let’s find out if Finland really is the happiest country in the world. I sure hope it is!

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Dave March 20, 2019 - 3:58 am

Exciting stuff! The blog looks great, looking forward to all the updates. Have fun raking all those leaves!

Audrey March 21, 2019 - 1:04 am

Haha! I don’t think I’ve ever even owned a rake. Thanks for taking the time to read my first post. I’ve been following all your rad videos too =) I love your VO on them and getting all that extra insight.

Ann March 24, 2019 - 12:57 pm

Definitely following your blog! Super interested to hear your thoughts after living there for a while!

Helsinki is interesting city.. In Finland summers are mostly tolerable (cold and windy) but winter – just horrible. Won’t even start about that. It is nice at the first sight meaning the snow, white christmas and winter wonderland stuff BUT then comes the endless darkness. Was definitely the hardest thing to me to deal with..

Finnish educational system is like top of the world and I consider Finland as a real welfare state in every meaning. But on the other hand taxes are high, life quality is low if you appreciate going out, long dinners, great food, wines, good weather, sun, meeting new people.. Finland isn’t neither dog friendly if comparing to most european countries like Germany or France etc. Finnish are hard to make friends with but in the end they are the most loyal and the most reliable people. And honest too. Kind of missing Finland after writing this 🙂


Audrey March 25, 2019 - 12:17 am

Hi Ann! Thank you so much for following! Your description is spot on with what my fiancé has been telling me. He has been trying to mentally prepare me for the move. Were you an expat living in Finland too? If you have any advice, would love to hear 🙂


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