• BLOG
  • Going Happy Places – Upgrade My Winter 2017-2018

    Tiina Kivelä

    While daydreaming in the middle of this November darkness, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a bit more about the dreams I’m planning to make reality this winter season. The dreams for which I’ve joined the #skierssquatchallenge (thanks for the inspiration Sandra), and for which I find the motivation to explore running the icy remote small town roads in pouring rain like Rocky.

    For this winter, I’m already past the first first half of the preparation project. Because these dreams really need  preparation and work to turn to reality. I’ve done the squats, gone running and nordic skiing, and lowered the spending and alcohol intake (after the wine fair that is). Unfortunately, I can’t have the long high altitude weekend hikes from last year. Those were the secret for surviving last winter and spring and even the marathon, and they were just so fun. But I do hope the other activities and even a bit more structured plan (I even have kind of a bullet journal now) will do good as well.

    This winter and the year coming, I want to really improve my mountain skills, both when it comes to skiing, running, skitouring and mountaineering. I wanna do some more “things I wanna do before I turn 30” things like the marathon already finished, and concentrate on my wellbeing, for common good (hello future employers and cooperators, I’m thinking of you too in here).

    Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    WINTER SEASON 17-18 PLANS – GOING HAPPY PLACES

    Talking of the dreams I have for this winter, one of the biggest is to spent more time in my happy places. First, in December I’m going to Switzerland to get my stuff, meet lovely people, and hopefully enjoy some December Swiss pow.  Then I’ll continue to Austria to catch up with some awesome mountain babes, and enjoy as much glühwein and raclette as possible, as it’s the Weihnachtsmarkt -season.

    After the reunion with my dear Alps, I’ll hopefully hop on plane back north for Christmas or at least New Years. Hopefully, because no tickets bought yet. As the sad story goes, Germania doesn’t offer the direct flights from Zürich to Rovaniemi this winter. Therefore, I have to consider more carefully when I have time and money to fly, with the expensive Finnair transfer flights. Especially during the extremely busy Christmas season, when charters are filling every airport in Lapland and Christmas tourists the regular flights.

    I haven’t been up here for the holiday season in two years, and I’ll have a brand new apartment then, so I kind of would like to be here for the holidays. But again, it might become too expensive and also, working for Santa for 4 months now I’ve had enough of this Christmas by now. The sun and cheap wine of south wouldn’t be a bad option either…

    After the holidays and turning to 2018, wherever that will be, I’ll get down to the Alps again in January, to go skiing in La Grave. Booked the camp through Boundless Betty again (not paid ad, just a honest recommendation) and I really hope this will improve my skiing and mountain skills a lot. Of course I’m going there also for the raclette, and to hang out with amazing women again, because why not. Alps are always a good idea.

    Then, depending on the work situation, I get back north north or stay south the rest of the winter, doing as many weekend adventures as possible before the spring ski mountaineering season comes into play. This will include a longer hochtour/hauteroute tour, and some cross-country skiing I hope. Plans and funding aren’t clear about these last ones yet, but fingers crossed (and work to do) there’s gonna be good trips like these later in the winter and spring too.

    Finally, and since my birthday is waiting in May, I also hope to squeeze in (and find the money for) a longer trip this winter (fyi: spring in south means winter in Lapland). Number one destination would be Colombia, for catching up with friends there, learning Spanish and experiencing the Colombian multisport scene. And more than anything else, to enjoy the sun, lack of which I’ve suffered hard this autumn. My friend also said, when inviting me there, that I should show with my experience how Colombia is a destination for a adventurous woman solo traveler. Ready for the challenge, but again let’s see if there’s enough funds and holidays for that.

    Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.

     

    2017 Tiina Kivelä

    PREPARATIONS & ADVENTURE LOG 17-18

    This winter my plan is to write more, about my training and plans and projects, in here. I’m not sure how many is interested really, but still. To tell you, whoever is interested, what it takes to get to the final stage, to do those long climbs ahead, and stay alive those great glacier runs.

    First of all, even if you don’t do freeskiing or the other kind of adventures like I do, I think you could get good tips from my basic endurance and strength training, just to make your everyday challenges like work more bearable, and your body to handle all that more conveniently. Second, for the fellow mountain people, I hope the avalanche stuff and insights on how I view and manage all the risks help you to get forward in the mountains as well. Finally, I hope my insights on how I generally balance my life with my full-time job, all this travel, exercise and relationships, could be of help for someone else. Even if just letting you know that you’re not alone.

    Like already said, last winter didn’t go so well in the end, so I hope this time I know how to do this better. This winter I’m really going to upgrade. Be it doing like the Swiss Tourism tells me to do in the video below – to upgrade my winter in the Swiss mountains (check! – booked and the skis are waiting me there already) or just doing everything better this winter, wherever I am.

    Tiina Kivelä

    I do have few extra challenges this winter though, like the non-existent direct flights and still unknown future since my current work project ends soon. But I hope that knowing I need to keep better eye on these things, I manage to beat those challenges and travel to the highest mountains and unknown territories more than once.

    .

    the fun of skiing was to get up into the highest mountain country where there was no one else and where the snow was untracked and then travel from one high Alpine Club hut to another over the top passes and glaciers of the Alps. You must not have a binding that could break your leg if you fell. The ski should come off before it broke your leg. What he really loved was unroped glacier skiing, but for that we had to wait until spring when the crevasses were sufficiently covered.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Let’s hope those springy glacier runs will be good and if interested, follow my journey here, in Instagram or Facebook.

    Let’s do our best to upgrade everything this winter.


    Where: Berner Oberland, Switzerland

    Quotes: Ernest Hemingway

  • LIFE
  • Honestly, I’m A Finn And I Need My Solitude

    Tiina Kivelä

    November is really November these days. Monday too. With rain and around 6h daylight – basically, it’s just a loooong and dark night followed with 50 shades of grey before another looooong and dark night. And over again. Calls for a badass attitude and not just in Helsinki.

    For a while it was nice. There was snow and I could go skiing even, the Nordic style – 1,5 year break made me feel a bit like Bambi on ice though. But I’m getting there – and whatever the style, it’s one of the best and most effective training methods ever, let me tell you. Watch out skimo and skitouring season, this year I’m really training for you…

    And then there were these extremely beautiful and cold days fairytale-like days with frost and all the muted shades of care bears. No wonder Frozen is my favorite Disney film – the one I can really relate to. There was well needed light, sunny (although cold) days and beautiful hikes.

    Tiina Kivelä

    And it’s been so quiet and empty. No wonder solitude has been another thing in my mind and agenda these weeks. It has felt a bit that I’ve been paying the bills from last winter still, the bills from when I for a while forgot what I need to keep it all together. In the end, I survived, and it was the best winter I’ve ever had. But honestly, I was too close to exhaustion with all the work, long mountain days in the weekends, shared flat, etc. There were good things, but there was something important missing. And things didn’t really go as I hoped them to go. Luckily though, life is a journey in which I don’t need to repeat the same mistakes all over again. And when stepping into another ski season, I do make sure I do things better this time and after.

    Last winter, solitude was missing, while some other shitty things were taking it’s place, like the pitfalls of bad management. I still do love most of the firm and it has been the best learning experience I’ve ever had. But it had it’s flaws, like any organization. On my freetime, I did some solo hikes, and took my time alone, but not enough. And now, it’s not just my freetime into which I try to squeeze better practices and the solitude. It’s also the work part of my life for which I try to invent better practices. And in which I hope to be able to focus on the really important things and do them better.

    Now when I read and hear how good solitude does, I’ve understood that it’s clearly one of the secrets for my success too. The thing I can do to ease the pain. In the best case, it also makes me a better team member. At work and at home.

    So, to not repeat the same mistakes again, it’s been sauna almost every day now. The real Finnish one – alone, quiet, naked, veeery hot one. I guess it works like bath for Emma Watson. And then there’s these moments in the nature, almost like Thoreau. And all this skiing and running and reading, and knitting, etc. Yeah I know, I sound like a grandma. But please, just let me take my time and see you in (Verbier) afterski with all the energy gained these months. Darling, it will be wild, I promise.

    And for the work I have new calendar and scheduling practices, as well as new confidence to do things my way, the way I know works best for me and for the goals of whatever project I’m on.

    If you want to read more about why solitude is good, you may start from this. Or this. Or maybe this. One of them tells you that solitude is even a competitive advantage! Who knew – it’s not just for us introverts to curl up in our comfort zone.

    Oh and if you want to come up here too, I may tell that my Lapland guide is almost finished (working on this site and menus this month). And to give a tip from here already, I may recommend the place offering that risotto (Restaurant Roka, Rovaniemi, Lapland Finland) which I enjoyed in solitude – comfort food, alone or made with love and enjoyed in good company, it’s an excellent self care ritual too. Especially after exercising out in the cold, which makes a girl hungry. Veeery hungy.

    With these words and pics, let’s survive now (and hopefully enjoy too) November.  See you later!

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

  • BLOG
  • From Ocean Swells To Real Wilderness

    Tiina Kivelä

    I’ve been back to Lapland for about a month now and damn it’s been a grey month. This month, there’s been one sunny day. One! Polar night is not even here yet, but already the darkness is wearing me out. I miss Morocco. I miss Switzerland. Anywhere with sun. It wasn’t this bad back in the days when I didn’t know of any better – but now when I know that there’s more options… Oh it’s hard.

    With this honest introduction, greetings from the Northern blues. With the weather and half-functioning foot, when I mostly stay in and read and work and browse things social media… It’s hard to stay smiling and positive these days. But it’s easy to keep on thinking. The first avalanche news of the season (I can’t really believe we talk about this the way we do – the first of the season) made me again think what the hell are we am I doing? Did I just book a winter camp in the Alps, for steep skiing and real mountaineering (and the sun)? Do I really, voluntarily, take the risk? Yes, I think I do. Though it’s difficult to describe clearly why so (except the sun part) – for me it just is the only way to go. The thing which motivates me and which keeps the (head)doctor away.

    And things have many sides. Before the news of the avalanche, I hadn’t heard of Hayden. But now I know, about him and his thoughts and writings too, which are interesting and very though provoking. Of course I would have liked to get to know him and his writings some other way. Nevertheless, this week I read this by the late Hayden and it made me thinking even more.

     

    I’ve also experienced how mountains strip us down to our true selves. We see who we are, and we see who are partners really are, and they see us back

     

    I’ve been also sorting photos of the past year. Checked the pics from Switzerland and thought how grateful I am for every single moment I’ve experienced there. I’ve thought about the mountains and people I’ve met there, and after little reflecting I have to say I like the effect these things have had on me. Then Morocco and the warm sunny days

    And today I stumbled on the video below. When compared with the articles I’ve recently read in Finnish newspapers about Morocco, a country full of young people without job, money or hope, potential terrorists, the video paints a rather different picture of the country. The articles are good and telling the truth too, but I’m that kind of person who likes to know the whole picture – see videos like this and remember my own trip to Morocco. World and these issues are complex and almost always there is some kind of hope – a different side to the story. How about we gave more people surfboards? How about we’d give them an example that there are other possibilities too?  And what if we talked more about this side of the story too – about the potential and different way of living – would it help? I don’t know – but in one way, I see again new purpose for my own writing and adventures. Pictures and stories I want to live, take and tell.

    In Morocco, I was living in a kind of a bubble I admit. But still, I was living the reality of that bubble, which was Moroccan in its own way. While there, driving back to the Agadir airport, my driver played both Justin Bieber and local radio station. In the ocean, I swam with other tourists and locals with or without burkinis. There were big new resort and apartment complexes being built by the coast too I saw (let’s not og into detail what this mean really and how positive the foresight really is for them). I was really experiencing the Moroccan life, real life (first I was going to write here I was living the Moroccan life, but then I read this and came to think again that I really didn’t live like a local there, I rarely do – I was a experiencing it as an outsider, visitor). I am kind of a nomad now, local away, and luckily now I’m finally ok with that. As long as I can share the experience with someone – the locals, other visitors and with you when writing this.

     

    our belief in inextricable human connection is one of our most renewable sources of courage in the wilderness – we want to believe that despite our differences and despite the need to brave the wilderness, we don’t always have to walk alone

     

    Now when I think back my travels, I really realize how and why I love travel so much. For me it’s the best way to see more, experience more and connect with other people, all kind of people. Feel the connection and prove that it really exists, out there on the road even. You may not identify it right when it happens, but it’s there, especially if and when you stop, pause, breathe and reflect. It’s ok to be local and outsider too, and hopefully also remember responsibility and respect.

    Recently, I’ve also heard from many people that they thought I travel and live the way I do with someone else’s money. And that I don’t choose something just because I don’t want it – not because I can’t afford it (which is the reality, btw). Many seem to think that I have some kind of magical fund (or parents or a man) supporting me financially. Unfortunately, I have not. I have an education though, the free Finnish one, but I work hard for my money and lifestyle now. I am privileged of course, white girl from western country, but things you see here and in my Instagram feed are funded by hard work by me, myself and I – they are a result of hard choices and many times sacrifices too. I don’t own an apartment. Right now I don’t even rent one. I can’t afford a car (which would btw make life up here so much easier) and I fly with the unreasonably scheduled flights because they are the only ones I can afford. For another example, I lived in Zürich with my savings from the previous winter and I do use my credit card a bit too much to my liking.

     

    Trade-offs are not something to be ignored or decried. They are something to be embraced and made deliberately, strategically, and thoughtfully.

     

    I need to choose and compromise a lot to be able to live like this. We all have, except for the very few who can have everything. Maybe. I’m kind of sure no-one can have it all really. With my lifestyle, I also hear a lot people saying that maybe just haven’t found my place yet. Like I should really and which has caused me some stress earlier. Or what it’s even more worrying, they propose I’m running away from something, more than else from myself. Ok, that might have been the case years ago and in some situations right – sometimes I just need some time in a beautiful place to clear my head – but now it’s almost the opposite. On the road, especially when traveling solo and moving from country to country alone, you are extremely open to yourself and your feelings and your own problems. And if and when you are going to survive it all well, you have to be extremely open and nice to other people. Wherever you go or wherever you stay.

     

    it can actually limit the opportunity for growth and reflection if you don’t stop, pause, breathe, and reflect

     

    I do know some people simply can’t choose. They have to stick to what they are given and for what they are born to. And I don’t know if it’s because of the travels or what, but the older I get the more I feel like I need to make my choices as wisely as possible and understand to be grateful for being able to choose. And more than else I wanna share the experience, tell my part of the story.

    Right now, if I could, I’d choose coffee by the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently it’s the season of good swells. But for now, I have to be happy with just the cup of coffee and watching the gray northern landscape. Hoping it will turn white soon so I can make snowballs and roll down the hills like a panda in snow. Yes, I do like these kind of light funny flicks too. I do have a humor, which you might not easily guess of my serious talk (joking is btw one of the hardest things to master in foreign language).

    I’m also preparing well for the coming winter season. Book trips, buy some essential stuff for mountains and my coming apartment (at some point I’ll have it again, maybe) and do some squats for the skiing and push-ups for the rope sections. And yes, I do some reflecting too. Now when I have the time to stop, pause, breathe and reflect. Thought I can’t wait to get back on the adventures – taller than ever. Because if this reflecting and the books on personal growth I’ve been reading don’t help me grow, a lot, then I don’t know what.

    If you managed to read this far, well done. I get back to growing now. See you later!


    Where: World


    Quotes: 1 & 4) Hayden Kennedy, 2) Greg McKeown, 3) Brené Brown,