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  1. (Not written by me) Finland is offering free trips to people in need of happiness lessons By Katherine Martinko For three days this summer, a local host could show you why their country consistently ranks among the happiest in the world. For the past two years, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. Its citizens are relaxed and cheerful, enjoying life in a progressive, technologically advanced society, without becoming overly stressed. The Finns themselves attribute this to their connection with nature and their instinct to go outside whenever anxiety rears its ugly head: "When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods." Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Well, I have some exciting news. You, too, could learn how to live like this, taught firsthand by Finnish 'happiness guides'. A curious project called Rent a Finn, organized by Visit Finland, will send a select number of guests to live in Finnish households for three days this summer, during which they will experience life as the Finns do – and hopefully find their inner calm. All travel and accommodation costs are covered, but you must be willing to be filmed throughout the experience. As a guest, you will experience "anything from visiting a national park to spending a weekend fishing at a real summer cottage, berry picking in the wilderness, enjoying a proper Finnish sauna – basically all the things that we Finns love to do in nature and what makes Finland the happiest country in the world." Hosts include Esko, mayor of a small town near the Arctic Circle in Lapland, who will take you boating and teach you to play mölkky, a Finnish throwing game. If you stay with Hanna, an IT professional, you'll travel to her grandmother's lakeside home outside Helsinki, where you'll pick blueberries, eat traditional pastries, and hang out in the sauna. Linda and Niko live on Utö, Finland's southernmost island in the Baltic Sea with a population around 40. They'll take you sailing through the archipelago, show you the lighthouse, and camp out on an islet. How do you become one of the lucky few? Now is the time to apply by filling out an online application form and filming a 3-minute video describing yourself, your connection to nature, and why you want to visit Finland. Submit, breathe deeply, and wait with your fingers crossed. I know what I'll be doing this weekend... Source: Treehugger Closing date: 14 April
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