I moved to Finland / First Post!

How to move across the world! Step 1 Fall in love :)

March 7, 2019

I've spent the past two year photographing the US and Europe as a nomad while basing my photography business in Cleveland, Ohio. I had the opportunity to travel to Iceland, Scotland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Croatia, Slovenia, but I met my love Daria in Finland. In September of 2018, I decided to move  my with my dog to Finland to be with Daria. This move wasn't the easiest so I thought I'd tell my story of planning and executing my move to help people who may want to move across The Atlantic in the future.</p><p>Assuming that you're not worried about work and visa... let's move on...</p><p>Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics. - Gen. Omar Bradley</p><p>First things first, weight means money. While planning such a move you're balancing the weight of freight shipment vs. the cost of replacement. Some items in this life can’t be replaced and others don’t weigh that much. My priority items during the move were the clothes that had sentimental value, my photography equipment, and my camping equipment. If you're lucky enough to have a spouse, he or she will be waiting on the other side to fill in your life. The freight company I used was sendmybag.com, I found it was the most affordable way to send your body weight in property across the ocean.</p><p>One thing I never read about were the issues with EU Customs. While my bicycle and boxes were on route to my apartment in Finland, they were stopped by customs officials. I declared a value of 1000€ total on all of my parcels in case something went missing the insurance would cover the missing box. The Finnish government thought this was a good way to make an easy 25% on me. I was pretty frustrated at this point! All I wanted was to ride my bicycle from my french adventures (more info coming soon) in Finland. But luckily, my tenacious wife found a way around this unexpected tax. We had to complete and deliver a couple forms to the customs office before the officials would release my boxes.</p><p>If you have any items you'll need the day you arrive, you should check them in your luggage. This customs process can take a few days and the shipping company will also have to deliver your parcels from their port of entry into your new country once cleared.</p><p>The most stressful part was moving my dog Mono.</p><p>Mono came into my life in 2016. I was having a bad year, and getting puppy seemed like a good idea. I bit off more than I could chew a cliche in more than one sense. My parents helped me take care of her during my adventures, but by the end of 2018 I knew it was time I took full responsibility of her care. Daria and I agreed it would be best if we moved her to Finland. If you're in the United States you'll need to contact your closest APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Offices https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/service-centers-endorsement-offices. Through the APHIS website you'll procure the required documents. A vet registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture will need to endorse the forms and the Department of Agriculture will certify the documents before your flight.  Travelers from the EU heading to the United States need a pet passport. Preparing your dog or pet for the flight is the most important piece.</p><p>Some pets are small enough to travel in the cabin of some airlines, but Mono is 36 kg (80 lbs). She had to fly in Cargo. If you're flying with FinnAir the weight limit for the ( <b>dog + crate</b> ) is 50 kg. You need to make sure the dog and crate are under 50 kg as the weight requirement is strongly enforced while the crate size is lightly enforced. The dog simply needs to be able to walk in, turn around and then lay down in the crate. If you're dog + plus crate combination is over 50kg the dog will have to fly on a cargo airplane separately. When you arrive at the airport you simply check in with your luggage at the your airline's desk with your dog + crate. They will send a porter to come assist you move your dog across security. From there you go your separate way from your dog and head to your gate. Some important requirements I had to fulfill was to provide food and water for the dog on the flight. This means I had to attach a food bowl and water bottle to the inside of the crate. I found the airport section much simpler than I anticipated but you definitely need two people. There's just no way you can handle your luggage and dog crate by yourself. It's fairly difficult with two people any ways. At the end of the flight, you'll need to find an airport employee at luggage collection area who will retrieve your dog. Be prepared for epic mess of food and water at the other side plus some other by products of an 8 hour flight. Bring a garbage bag, paper towels and cleaning solution with you in your checked bags.</p><p>That covers the my move to Finland, but there were so many other issues we faced that I'll talk about in future posts. Thanks for reading and supporting my photography! If you want to join the group of awesome people who help me out, you can review my business at Wes Garlock Photography.


return to blog