The poet recalls trips to the Arctic, Switzerland and the US via musical memories that add to the intensity of those life-changing trips
I never travel without a necklace that has a tiny bronze figure from the Finnish epic Kalevala. This talisman was given me by Anna-Kaisa, a teenage music prodigy, on a summer exchange when I was 15, which launched my love of all things Nordic. That summer I had my first sip of cloudberry vodka, took my first sauna, and learned to row a boat: all revolutionary for a kid from a family that had never taken holidays abroad. Anna-Kaisa and I became close friends, and I often returned to Helsinki for more saunas and vodka, and to hear her accompany the beguiling soprano Karita Mattila at the opera house.