• BLOG
  • Winter is Coming & I wish I’d Be In Switzerland Now

    Tiina Kivelä

    Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of autumn in Switzerland – that awesome indian summer, which according to the messages is there again. This time though, I’m myself back to Lapland – I clearly didn’t think this through when signing for this work gig last summer. While bathing in Zürich, it was hard to remember that the long and dark winter was waiting. And right now, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to not forget the kaamos, as we call this dark period in Finland.

    In Lapland, my least favorite season is this late autumn, October and November. Up here, it’s the season which develops from 50 shades of autumn to 100 shades of grey, ultimately leading to pitch black polar night. Some years, early snow and crispy clear, sunny late autumn days soothe the pain a bit, not to forget the nordic skiing if and when snow arrives early. And there’s stars and moon and northern lights – signs of sun and light somewhere. Though not this year, because of the never ending overcast. It’s definitely one of the most challenging periods, and this year doesn’t seem to make exception.

    During the years, I have developed quite good survival skills for this season though (might have some resemblance to hygge). I exercise and spent as much time as possible outdoors, preferably during midday, to get as much natural light as possible. And I try to date people as much as possible – this is not a good time to be alone (thought reading, netflix, knitting and ski movies aren’t bad options either). I drink moderately, if any, alcohol, and try to get at least 8h sleep per night, take additional vitamin D and make the dreams come true as far as credit balance permits. It’s time for daydreaming, and while others hunt game, I hunt for last minute flights. Somewhere like Switzerland.

    Nowadays I try to avoid thinking “what if” too much. Rather, I think how to do it. Nevertheless, sometimes I can’t make it, no matter what. And then only option left is daydreaming, the what if. And so, below my tips on what to do in Switzerland this time of the year (fyi that’s what I’ve been dreaming). Maybe you have better options than I have, and can even make it. Maybe my dream could be your reality. So, my pleasure, you’re welcome. Free of charge. But if you want to give something in return and happen to have some kind of magic recipe for getting there conveniently and cheaply, let me know – I would really like to make it there too. As soon as possible.

    Tiina Kivelä

    If I’d be in Switzerland, I’d start from my normal landing city, Zürich. In there, I’d stop for wine on a boat during Expovina, and maybe do some window shopping too. Then, I’d pretend I could effort every day like this, and go to Markthalle, eat simple hangover breakfasts like the one below (I really didn’t have hangover then, but it does look like it, I admit), and eat excellent burritos in the city.

    After Zürich, I’d take the one hour train to Bern. In there, I’d first and foremost visit Berner Weinmesse (Oct. 13th-22nd).  Yes, I know, it’s after the Expovina, in a matter of fact right now, so hurry up – but like said, we are dreaming here so we don’t need to care about the facts too much).  After wine, or well I should really do it before, I’d do some people watching and remote work in Einstein Café and shop a bit mountain gear.

    There’s no Switzerland without bathing, I’ve come to realise, and so I’d consider going to Valais to do a crispy wine hike and combine it with a spa day or two in Leukerbad, or to another region for an excellent bad, like Rigi. Of course I’d also take a dip in the natural waters like Aare river, but this time of the year a heated pool and sauna is more than nice compulsory addition too. Maybe all this would include some yoga too. And moments like this.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finally, after few days of wine and pampering, I’d end up in my Swiss home region, the Jungfrau Region. To say hi to my friends and continue up to the mountains, to get the balance right after all the wine*. Up there, I’d enjoy the hopefully clear technicolor days like last year, run down the hill in the style of sound of music (maybe), hike up and stay a night or two in the winter room of some of the huts. If I’d be lucky, I’d taste the first snow, and if not, there’s always the eternal snow waiting up in the mountains – maybe I should already visit the Jungfraujoch as well. And of course I’d take a concerned look on the melting glaciers, and learn more mountaineering tricks.

    All this, with the sun, would hopefully provide me with enough energy and inspiration to survive rest of the year until another ski season. And if you bring my tips into action, I’m sure they delight you too. If not, there’s something wrong with you then 😉 People, go to Switzerland, especially during the off-season. Or wait. You can also leave it all to me. I’ll go book my tickets now…

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    *I’ll gonna do a poor northern woman weinmesse version in Viini & Ruoka -expo in Helsinki Oct. 26th-29th. So if I manage to find the reasonably priced flights to Switzerland, it’s gonna be lots of wine then. Didn’t I just mention the moderate amount of alcohol?


    Where: Berner Weinmesse 13.-22.10.2017, Bern

    Expovina 2.-16.11.2017, Zürich

    Huttour, SAC & my tips for a tour, Switzerland

    Inspiration for mountains: Alpinsight

  • BLOG
  • LOVE LETTER FOR SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    Tiina Kivelä

    I miss you, Switzerland. I’ve been in Finland for three weeks now and even though it’s quite nice here too, I can’t help thinking of you every other minute. You had me at hello last year, and I can’t wait to get back to you. You keep me focused, and your quality of life is just awesome. No-one is perfect but for me, you are good enough. You keep me on track, you keep me fit and you make me happy. And you make exploring, a thing which makes me extra happy, so easy. 

    Up here in Lapland, I feel a bit lost without you. In a matter of fact, I’ve been literally lost a few times, missing your trail signalization. Not in a boring way, there’s still the excitement and challenges left. But you have the base set so that I can concentrate on the other things rather than keeping myself on track. You make sure I find my mountains and my way home in the evenings, without needing to think it so much. Up here, too many times it’s all about finding the start, the middle and the way home. Views come second when I need to translate the bizarre logic of Finnish trail signalization.

    In Switzerland, all I have to do it jump off the train or my house and find the first signs of by you at the corner of the station/street/condo. Compared to most of the countries, you understand that the trip starts from one’s mind and you don’t let me in trouble searching for the start point already. No, you put the sign pointing to nearest peak right there in the train station. And off I can go, conveniently and excited.

    Some times I have been a bit confused, even with you. When you haven’t been there in every crossroads and when you haven’t pointed to the destination I’ve been initially looking for. But in most cases, an additional map with all the trails (like this – you may click and view the hiking trails from the menu on the left-hand side) would have helped me to solve that little puzzle. After all, it’s good that you also remind me to trust myself and be comfortable with my insecurities. And many times, getting lost ends up being the best part of the trip. As long as it doesn’t end badly.

    I really hope you don’t forget me while I’m away. I’m more than fine sharing you with others but I can’t wait to meet you again next week and let you guide me higher.

    And I will follow you, always.

    Yours, Tiina.

    Tiina Kivelä

    SHORT GUIDE TO SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    • Hiking trails (Wanderwege) are generally accessible trails and usually determined for foot traffic. They generally lead aside from roads carrying motorized traffic and are usually not surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Steep sections are negotiated with steps and areas with the danger of falling are protected by hand rails. Streams are crossed by catwalks or bridges. Hiking trails make no special demands upon the users. Signalization for hiking trails is yellow.
    • Mountain trails (Bergwanderwege) are hiking trails, which partly access difficult terrain. They are mostly steep, narrow and exposed in places. Particularly difficult sections are secured with ropes or chains. In certain circumstances streams can only be crossed via fords. Users must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically fit and have knowledge of dangers in the mountains (rock falls, danger of slipping/falling, sudden changes in the weather). Solid boots with good sole profiles, equipment appropriate to weather conditions and topographical maps are preconditions. Signalization of mountain trails is a yellow signpost with white-red-white tip. White-red-white painted stripes confirm the route.
    • Alpine routes (Alpinwanderwege) are challenging mountain trails. They sometimes lead across glaciers and scree, through rockfall areas and through rocks with short climbing sections. It can not be assumed that any structural provisions have been undertaken and these would in any case be limited to securing particularly exposed sections with a danger of falling. Users of Alpine routes must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically very fit and know how to use ropes and pick axe as well as being able to negotiate climbing sections with the aid of their hands. They must have knowledge of dangers in the mountains. In addition to the equipment for mountain trails, an altimeter, compass, rope and pick axe for crossing glaciers are essential. Signalization of Alpine routes is a blue signpost with white-blue-white tip, white-blue-white painted stripes confirm the route. The information panels at the beginning of Alpine routes indicate special requirements (more info here).
    • The signalization of SwitzerlandMobility routes (Die Wegweisung der Routen von SchweizMobil – you’re welcomeis standard throughout Switzerland. It is based on Swiss norms for signalization of non-motorized traffic (SN 640 829). It was revised for the realization of SwitzerlandMobility and today is the only international norm for standard signalization of non-motorized traffic. The yellow signs for hiking trails, white signs for the barrier-free routes and red for cycling, mountain biking and skating routes were supplemented for SwitzerlandMobility with the addition of route information panels including route names and numbers. One-digit numbers indicate national routes, two-digit numbers indicate regional routes and three-digit numbers indicate local routes. The route information panels are green for hikers and barrier-free routes, light blue for cyclists, ochre for mountain bikers, violet for skaters and turquoise for canoeists. These colours are also used by SwitzerlandMobility to illustrate the various routes e.g. on maps, information signs and the Internet. 

    Source & more information: Wanderland.ch / Difficulty scales by Sac.ch


    Tiina Kivelä


    FI: Puhutaanpa hetki ulkoilureittimerkinnöistä / LinkedIn Pulse

     

     

  • BLOG
  • REALITY CHECK ON DIGITAL NOMADISM

    Tiina Kivelä

    As already mentioned, my life is experiencing some major changes these months. And there’s some amount lots of reflecting happening on the side. In-between the planning and booking and packing. And crying. It’s not easy but to keep this as honest as I want, I have to say that this girl is catching feelings. Which I think is quite a natural side-effect of a major life change and digital nomadism. Or I’m just getting old.

    I’ve now realised that I got carried away with my life and struggles for few years, cutting off many of my old hobbies and habits and disconnecting from many of the familiar things. Things just didn’t feel right and so I readjusted my settings, to move more successfully (and happily) towards my dreams. And in Switzerland (one big dream came true this way, btw) it all culminated, like in a great movie-like final. Boom! I know I’m repeating myself, but mountains really help to put things and thoughts in their real place.

    JUST F*CKING DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

    In Switzerland, I cut off the rest and readjusted almost everything. After coming to the conclusion that when the comforts of conventional “normal” life (let’s have a quiet moment for our generation) weren’t available, I better concentrate on making the best out of the things I could control. And so I set on creating the best possible lifestyle, while doing my best to stay sane and focused in the madness of startup world (that required some struggle too, but I survived and learned so much).

    All this helped me to look at things from a new perspective, and after identifying the essential and eliminating the rest I’m now in the middle of reconnecting with the parts which make me happy. Things and activities like travelling, running, skiing, training (for something, setting goals etc.), wandering in woods, writing, reading, drawing, knitting etc. Even work. I also do my best to take the life at it comes to me now. Not taking it too seriously, but caring enough still. I’m also rooting for something, for the lifestyle, people and places; though I still haven’t found the place, maybe I don’t even need to – maybe that’s not really for me.

    And in the mountains, even in Zürich, the life, the dream, proved the be better than I ever imagined it would come to me.  Now it finally feels right again, most of the time.

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    LIVING THE LIFE IN BETWEEN

    Finally, when the sh*t is back together (pardon my french, mom), it’s good to go back to Lapland for a while. Though the heart is and stays in the mountains, waiting for me to come back with the return ticket for another offseason (off for tourists, on for us). And yes, sometimes it feels quite absurd, this lifestyle of mine. Kind of a version of digital nomadism.

    A friend even said I sound like an emo kid with my complaints notions of being always in between, having too much stuff for which I have no place etc. (yes, just champagne problems). Deep down I know I’m crazy with the complaints though; I have so little to complain really. Nevertheless, I don’t wanna pretend and say I wouldn’t be scared and stressed and bit out of place most of the time. This really isn’t lightweight.

    So sometimes it’s important to get a little out of place. And not do what is expected of us. To surprise people, disappoint them, break things off, make mistakes, and live your life

    © Garance Doré

    When in doubt and stress (and when not in the mountains) I try to listen and read as much I can, especially comforting and motivating words. Like this: Alex Honnold by Jimmy Kimmel Live. It looks easy and crazy when he does what he does, but for him, it’s all about practice, preparation and hard work. And fun; something which makes him genuinely happy. We all don’t need to free solo El Capitan but we may and can define our own epic adventure levels and goals. And then go for them.

    Tiina Kivelä

    NOMAD IN TRANSIT – REALITY CHECK

    These weeks, in between exploring liveable Zürich (it’s been great, btw) I’ve been booking tickets, finishing previous projects and making the first plans and preparations for new ones. And had few meltdowns, trained, jumped head first into the river few times, eaten, slept and spent time with friends. Most of the days I wake up almost in a panic, heart beating and mind running over all the things I need to do and decide and take responsibility of. But then I try to (sometimes it works right away, sometimes it takes few more minutes hours) remember to take a deep breath, calm down and focus. Really, it’s not so much really to be responsible for oneself only. Oh dear, I can’t really wait the day I’ll have children…

    For the “move” (not really sure if I can call it a move while I use my parents address as my official address, and have my stuff in storages in Switzerland and in Lapland, and sleep regularly on friend’s couches) I’ve learned some new tricks though. And I really consider that things are going a little bit smoother now than during the previous ten or so moves I’ve done. Although it still requires a cry or two to get all the sh*t together.

    TRANSIT PROCESS DESCRIPTION

    Right now, it’s all about the right bag or box for every type of gear. Then maybe someday it all will develop even further and eventually I’ll be packing up the yurt and riding away with horses (Mongolia would be an awesome place to visit btw). And if I may write down a brief and honest process description of my current reality, it would be like this:

    • pack your ski gear in your ski bags
    • pack your climbing gear in your climbing backpack
    • pack your MTB gear in your MTB backpack
    • pack your trekking and camping gear in your trekking backpack
    • pack your running gear in your smaller duffel bag
    • pack your everyday gear in your bigger duffel bag
    • pack your work gear and gadgets in your fjällraven kånken
    • pack your Morocco surf trip gear, (which you suddenly learned you’ll need in a month) in your another duffel bag – then notice you have no extra pack and share the running gear between all the other packs and pack the Morocco stuff in the small duffel
    • pack your city stuff, camera, notebooks, pens etc. in your city handbag
    • pack your random stuff in Ikea boxes
    • pack your essential home stuff in cardboard boxes

    -> give the “not essential for you but still helpful for someone else” stuff to your friends

    -> move some of the stuff into your friend’s storage and offer them burritos and beers and tremendous amounts of thank you‘s for that

    -> sit on your temporary home’s floor in the middle of all the leftover stuff which didn’t fit anywhere, cry, listen to Bob, consider burning everything, sell some, complain to closest friends in Whatsapp, and all the random people in your Instagram stories,  how hard everything really is

    -> stop crying, put on a nice dress, have a beer/wine and trust that it will alright, you’ll find a way, and go dancing.

    After all, the world is spinning and we can’t just stand on it.

     

    Tiina Kivelä


    FI: SANANEN DIGINOMADISMIN TODELLISUUDESTA

    Täällä ollaan isojen elämänmuutosten keskellä. Kuten olen jo kertonutkin, osa elämästäni palaa hetkeksi Lappiin ja eräänlainen muuttoprosessi on käynnissä. En toisaalta oikein tiedä miten tätä voi kutsua oikeaksi muutoksi, kun jatkossakaan minulla ei ole pysyvää osoitetta. Ja kun tavarani ja enemmän tai vähemmän satunnaiset vierailuni on jaettu Sveitsin ja Lapin välille, ystävien varastoihin ja vierashuoneisiin. Diginomadismi saattaa näyttää ja kuulostaa hienolta, mutta useimmiten se on vain yksi suuri sotku, jota yrittää manageroida parhaansa mukaan. Vain huomatakseen, että vaikka kuinka tekisi parhaansa, aina joku asia on väärässä maassa. Ja se tietokoneen laturin johto taas katkeamassa.

    Olen elänyt säästöilläni ja satunnaisilla töillä kesän (Sveitsi ei oikeasti ole niin kallis kuin aina kauhistellaan). Lisäksi olen ollut niin ystävällinen ihmisille, että saan pidettyä tavarani Sveitsissä odottamassa offseasonin viikonoppuseikkailuja ja kenties taas joskus pysyvämpää asumusta ja työtä vuorten juurelta.

    Nykyinen työni myös mahdollistaa matkat Lappiin ja työskentelyn oikeastaan mistä vain loppuvuoden. Paljon töitä tämän eteen on kyllä tehty, ja jos jotakin kiinnostaa miten tällainen hienon näköinen ja kuuloinen (digi)nomadismi on mahdollista, niin sanoisin että kovalla työllä ja hieman tuurillakin ehkä. Työmielessä kulunut vuoteni Sveitsissä ei ollut kevyt, startup maailma on aikalailla huhujen kaltainen, mutta en silti vaihtaisi päivääkään. Tai ehkä muutaman, vaikkakin kaikki se kokemus ja opit mitä tästä sai paikkaavat kyllä ne harvat haavat.

    HYVÄ ELÄMÄ MINULLE

    Tavaroiden pakkailun ja lajittelun ohessa tulee, kai ihan luontaisestikin, mietittyä enemmänkin syvällisempiä. Olen mm. tajunnut, että tämä suuri elämän myllerrys on kestänyt jo vuosia. Olen vähitellen luopunut oikeastaan kaikista vanhoista tavoista, tottumuksista, harrastuksista ja asioista joita olisi pitänyt tehdä, mutta jotka eivät kuitenkaan tehneet minua onnelliseksi. Lisäksi tajusin että kun moni ns. normaali asia ei ole edes useimmiten mahdollista meidän sukupolvellemme, kuten toistaiseksi voimassa olevat työsuhteet, omistusasunnot ja vuosilomat, on vain parasta keskittyä tekemään elämästään se paras mahdollinen, niiltä osin mihin voi vaikuttaa. Terve itsekkyys ei todellakaan ole aina pahitteeksi.

    Ja niin reboottasin asetukseni, vähitellen vuosien kuluessa, ja sprintaten lopussa Sveitsin ja erityisesti vuorten avustuksella. Yritän nyt parhaani mukaan keskittyä tekemään sitä mikä oikeasti tekee onnelliseksi ja millä on väliä. Juoksen ja liikun taas enemmän kuin vuosiin; treenaan jopa oikeita tavoitteita kohti. Enkä malta odottaa että pääsen taas lappiin sukkapuikkojen ja islantilaislankojeni, kirjojeni ja kahvikuppieni kimppuun. Lisäksi kiinnostaa syöminen, nukkuminen ja matkustelu. Sekä tietysti työ ja ystävät.

    MELKEIN ELÄMÄN TARKOITUKSEN ÄÄRELLÄ

    Suurin oivallus tässä kaikessa on ollut etten enää ota elämää niin vakavasti, silloin kun sitä ei oikeasti tarvitse. Pyrin ottamaan elämän vastaan sellaisena kuin se minulle tulee. Ja pyrin myös juurtumaan niihin todella hyviin asioihin; elämäntapaan, ihmisiin ja paikkoihin. Vaikka en kyllä uskokaan että voin juurtua vain yhteen paikkaan – se ei ole minua varten, eikä tarvitsekaan. Eikä Sveitsissä tästä elämästä ole nyt kyllä tarvinnut paljon valittaa – elämänlaatu on huikea ja elämäntyyli erityisesti minulle sopiva. Vielä kun sen paikallisen kielenkin oppisi…

    Elämäni tuntuu vihdoin oikealta, oikealta minulle. Ainakin suurimman osan aikaa.  En silti väitä ettenkö satunnaisesti “romahtaisi” ja kiroilisi ääneen (Instagram stories, olet ehkä nähnytkin) kaiken raskautta ja vaikeutta. Herään useimpina aamuina melkein paniikissa sydän tykyttäen, miettien mitä kaikkea pitääkään taas päivän aikana suunnitella, tehdä ja mistä kaikesta ottaa vastuu. Mutta sitten yritän muistaa hengittää syvään ja tunnistaa ne oikeasti tärkeät ja tarpeelliset toimet ja asiat. Ja unohtaa muun. Useimmiten onnistun hetkessä, joskus se vaatii hieman enemmän, juoksulenkin tai viinilasillisen tai pulahduksen jokeen.

    Eikä oikeasti pitäisi olla niin vaikeaa ottaa vastuu vain itsestään ja tekemisistään. Voi pojat, millaistahan tämä on sitten mahdollisesti jos joskus saan lapsia… Ja kun pitää pakata myös muiden reput.