Experiencing Life in Rural Estonia - by Anika Mikkelson - Miss Maps - www.MissMaps.com

Experiencing Life in Rural Estonia

Returning to Europe after visiting home I felt the need to connect with surrounding environments. To feel that sense of camaraderie and purpose. With that goal in mind, I sent two emails as my visit to Estonia approached. One email was to a mother and daughter living together in Northeastern Estonia, only thirty minutes by bike from the Baltic Sea. The other message was to a family of five, soon to be six, who’d recently moved to the country’s southeast corner. Southeast Corner meaning 1 kilometer from the border with Russia.

“…I’d love to experience life in Estonia as you know it for just 2-3 days, and share it with the world…”

Click on an image to experience life in Rural Estonia:

I’d found them both through Workaway, the same website which had led me to volunteering in Cyprus, Macedonia, Ukraine and that chart-topping Monastery stay in Romania. Typically, volunteers are wanted for somewhere between a week and a month at a time. This allows time for that “get to know you” stage to pass and for projects to materialize to a point of success. This was time I didn’t have for several reasons. Most vitally, there were only a few weeks left before my 90-day Schengen Visa would expire. Joyfully, I was invited to both homes despite the strange circumstances and was able to visit one right after the other.

“…Thank you for your interest in our project and life in Estonia and in Baltics in general!”

“…Thanks for writing us. You have a very interesting project, we would be happy to have you.”


Click on an image to see some projects worked on in Estonia:


The tasks were simple enough and the work rather typical of those found anywhere in the world. You and I both know this week in Estonia’s villages was not so much about the laborious tasks. Instead, I was looking to find out Estonia’s truths.
What I found was a fun farm life, fatigue-friendly saunas, protein-rich foods and folk festivals abound.
Both families were living in rural areas by choice. They’d experienced city life and decided to move from it to a more quiet location. As the mother of the first family described, “Friends from Tallinn think I must be bored. They think there is nothing to do in the countryside.” We hadn’t sat still for more than five minutes over the course of three days besides to eat and sleep. There was plenty to do, and not a moment to let boredom creep up.

These families are happy in their homes and well connected with each other. There are fewer distractions and rather than running away from one another, they are occupied with maintaining their properties through tasks which involve one another. Rather than run for a television remote, children let loose and run in the rain, ride bikes, climb trees and build their own toys from Dad’s scrap wood. Mother and Daughter share more secrets than best friends. The boy and girls are happy to talk to me, though they know no English and I know no Estonian. They color on walls and sing together before bedtime while Dad strums on the guitar and Mom gazes with soft eyes at the family she’s created. They share bites of watermelon, bits of potato and sips of the traditional Kama yogurt drink. They prepare grilled salmon, juices of just-picked berries, and salads from a neighbor’s field.

Click on an image to experience life in Rural Estonia:


Whenever there’s an extra moment, everyone is outdoors by choice. The air in Estonia is known to be the cleanest in the world. Imagine how fresh it is in an open field surrounded by forests. Inhaling is like filling your lungs with gold, while exhaling is breathing out the big city’s toxins. And the night sky: A hazy, blurry combination of clouds mixing with clashes of sunlight and moon. There are stars beyond stars beyond comprehension.

Life in rural Estonia is much more detailed than first impressions.
It’s more open than bucket-baths, more handsome than dry toilets, cleaner than chicken coops, tastier than blackcurrants.

Click on an image to experience life in Rural Estonia:


There’s a reason these families have chosen to live where they do. Whether on the border of Russia or near the Baltic Sea. Whether Mom and Daughter or five soon-to-be-six.
Simply put, they’re in love with their lives.
And every bit as proud to share those lives with the world.


A foggy twighlight in the field behind the house - South Estonia - by Anika Mikkelson - Miss Maps - www.MissMaps.com
A foggy twighlight in the field behind the house – South Estonia – by Anika Mikkelson – Miss Maps – http://www.MissMaps.com

14 thoughts on “Experiencing Life in Rural Estonia

      1. No! It looks like a place I would enjoy visiting though!! The freshness and purity of the air would be a major attraction. It looks so lush and green.


  1. Thank you for this glimpse of Estonian countryside. It was so interesting to read, because I only visited Tallinn for a few days in the winter. I would love to go back to the Baltic countries and see more. And maybe see them in the warmer months as well.


  2. I really enjoyed this post. Lovely photos and what a real and connected experience you had in Estonia! I love Estonia. I was there a few years ago. This post made me want to pack up my life and go again. Life is more about commuting, routine and monotony. Argh!! Good job!! 🙂 xxx


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