Helsinki Card
Helsinki Card

Professional explorer Patrick ”Pata” Degerman

3.6.2019 Text: Helsinki This Week
My Helsinki: Patrick Degerman

WHO? 
Patrick “Pata” Degerman is a professional explorer who has climbed around 200 mountains and reached circumpolar areas, desert islands and the deepest jungles of the world. He also holds lectures to companies, schools and societies. As a hard working man, he’s currently working with e.g. three expeditions to Greenland, a fairytale book on polar bears and penguins, an online course, a desert adventure, a TV show and a 360° VR project.

How did you end up being an explorer?

The original plan was to graduate as an industrial designer, and I did study at the University of Arts and Design for several years. However, my curiosity about the circumpolar areas and jungles won the day. The more I travelled, the more I wanted to see. However, over time, the expeditions became so complicated and time-consuming that 20 years ago I ended up doing them full-time. Nowadays, I undertake a few larger expeditions a year. I have six on-going partnerships and I give more than 100 lectures a year at different events and companies.

What characteristics are required of an explorer?

PATA’S MOTTOS IN LIFE

1. If you never ask anyone for anything, you never get anything
2. If you never tell anyone anything, no one knows anything
3. If you never do anything, nothing happens, there is a great difference between talking about something and doing it. At some point, you have to get your behind off the sofa and go make your thought and ideas a reality.

Diplomacy, perseverance and innovativeness. It’s all about co-operation. You can’t do everything yourself and you have to co-operate with different people from very different cultures. No one wants to work with you if you’re difficult, so it pays to be approachable and nice.

Have you seen the effects of climate change on your travels?

I have, and a lot. For instance, according to scientists, the ice sheet at Svalbard shrinks by 3 metres a day. And a decade ago, the corals in the Maldives were colourful, but now they are grey patches at the bottom of the sea. It’s sad where things are going, but not all is lost. For example, the Baltic Sea isn’t dead yet. It’s more like a sick patient that can still be cured

Finnish nature is clean and pure in comparison to many other places. Let’s take Svalbard as an example. We went there last year to take photos of polar bears. Even though there aren’t a lot of people there who could litter, the shores were covered in trash. Plastic nets, ropes, bottles, bags, cans that the ocean currents had brought there from all over the world. The same applies to many desert islands.

What tips could you give to tourists visiting Helsinki, how could they experience Finnish nature even during a short trip?

You definitely have to see Nuuksio National Park. Air is clean, you can drink water directly from the lake, there are no crowds. And hey, the leaves don’t fall from the trees in the autumn because the air is polluted. It means winter is coming. There are four seasons in Finland.

Let’s say we decide to go hiking in Nuuksio for the day. What should we have with us?

You definitely have to see Nuuksio National Park. Air is clean, you can drink water directly from the lake, there are no crowds. And hey, the leaves don’t fall from the trees in the autumn because the air is polluted. It means winter is coming. There are four seasons in Finland.

  • Water- and windproof clothing. You can rent them quite affordably from The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia.
  • Map, compass and/or a GPS tracker. Even if Nuuksio isn’t as large as the Amazon rainforest, it’s still easy to get lost. This equipment will help you find your way back to your car or the bus stop.
  • Equipment for making a fire. There are several designated places in Nuuksio where you can build a fire. If you want to grill by an open fire, you should bring a lighter or matches. Remember to keep them in a water-tight bag.
  • Telephone. In case you get lost or hurt yourself, you can call the emergency number.
  • Good walking shoes or hiking shoes are a must! There are plenty of paths in Nuuksio you can walk along, but there are also lots of holes and roots and you could twist your ankle.

Read more about Pata at www.pata.fi

Helsinki stories

Helsinki Excursions
Helsinki Excursions