• BLOG
  • Sauna

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finnish sauna. Almost everyone in this country has one and even though the nuances are varied, the basic concept could almost be found in our constitution.  Tiina Kivelä

    It’s a funny concept — you warm it hot (80°C is about right), get naked, go in, sit (or lay) and sweat there for some time (15mins is about right), silent. And throw some water to the stones constantly. Then you scrub your skin with something, or beat yourself with a birch whisk (don’t ask), and sit silent for some more minutes. Further on, you go out, jump into an ice cold water or if the season is right, snow, and curl there for some seconds, get back in, sweat some more, and shower.

    Then you take your bathrobe and an ice cold beer, go out to cool down for few minutes and take another set of silent moments. Finally, you come to the conclusion that life isn’t so bad after all. With perfect skin.

    That’s Finnish sauna, my favorite, almost daily, wellness ritual. And a very good excuse to close off rest of the world for a moment.

    Tiina Kivelä

    For Finnish sauna, you don’t have to stay in or come to Finland though. When traveling, it’s always interesting, and rewarding, to find sauna, especially if it’s labeled “Finnish”, and test enjoy it. To see what the prefix Finnish means with each case; if it’s hot, humid and minimalistic as the best ones, or if it’s just good enough. And then I just sit there quiet for a while, letting the body and mind relax.

    I’ll add few good sauna finds below, around Europe. And if you know a nice one, which you think I should definitely try, please tell me or invite me over. If it’s close snowy mountains, or in the middle of busy city, the better.

    Recently, I’ve even started to browse and dream of spa holidays or at least travels including as much spa’s and sauna’s as possible.  Steam sauna’s and hammams, Korean saunas and so on. Traveling with a tight budget, as I normally do, creates stress for which spas and saunas offer nice remedy. Almost as good as a long sleep in comfy king size hotel bed.

    In Finland, finding sauna for the everyday stress relief is pretty easy, and one of the best perks of Finland is definitely the saunas even in the smallest urban flats. In few weeks, when finally moving to a new flat after months of homelessness, I’ll even get a tiny home sauna myself. And for that personal “spa”, and since my skin is screaming “woman why did you bring me back to this hell called dry Finnish winter air!”, and hair is screaming “come on woman, you can’t run with me from the -20°C directly to the +80°C sauna without consequences“, I’m also updating my wellness self-help kit, starting with Aésop in pictures (they came wrapped in that cute paper, ordered from their own webshop). It’s high-end, a bit expensive, and not as eco as I’d really like, but oh boy it will look nice in my shelves, next to sauna.

    And hopefully they make my skin scream less.


    Where

    Spa’s with sauna(s):

    Bödelibad, Interlaken, Switzerland

    Seebad Enge, Zürich, Switzerland

    Finnish Rooftop Sauna, London, Great Britain

    Hotel saunas:

    Züri by Fassbind, Zürich, Switzerland

    Arctic Light Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finland

     

     

     

     

  • 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,

     

  • BLOG
  • Good Place To Sleep in Rovaniemi – Arctic Light Hotel

    Tiina Kivelä

    The title of one of my favorite songs, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, could describe this hotel quite well. However, Arctic Light hotel is not my style. I’m not luxury like it. Almost the opposite. Normally, my go-to option is everything nordic cool, or hipster, as my friends would say. But the older I get the more I like posh, or rather I would say I like taking care of me. In other words, I’ve now found myself liking the 5* hotels, expensive smelly candles and even spa’s. More adventure but even more comfort.  Or, as this sentence from here sums it: play hard, rest hard.

    In places like Arctic Light hotel I like especially the 5* service and design with an Arctic twist. Oh boy it’s nice and I love it. Why wouldn’t I? As the title suggest, the beds are especially good for sleep. Breakfast is famous and delicious (worth waking up early) and the most important thing in Finland, sauna, both the in-room and the separate hotel sauna (which you can reserve for yourself only from the reception) is excellent as well. The sauna works extra well when paired with the hotel toiletries by Rituals (with whom I have a long complicated history by now) and if you are lucky, you may also share your bath with a polar bear (but please note that polar bear isn’t native in Lapland really). And for the interested (and enough earning ones), hotel is one of the few in Finland offering Concierge service.

    I wish I’d have more money to stay here more often. It’s not my style but I love it enough still. And if you can, check it out. Go have a good sleep or stop by for a breakfast, after work drinks, or dinner.

     


    Where: Arctic Light Hotel, Valtakatu 18, 96200 Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

    ~

    Ps. An insider tip: I just looked flights for December (I just can’t keep myself away from the best Christmas markets) and noticed it’s time to hurry up, if you plan to visit Lapland in December, especially during the holiday season. The flights are pretty expensive already, and some days fully booked even.

    I’ve been myself quite devastated that Germania didn’t continue their direct seasoned flights between Lapland and Switzerland after last winter. Those flights were kind of a selling point for me when I was thinking is it worth to move back north this winter and now I do feel a bit trapped in here (or should earn a bit more to afford the Finnair flights). However that’s just my personal catastrophe, and there are other flights still for you and me even – fewer and more expensive, but still. Just make sure you are on time when booking your trips to and from Lapland – it’s busy up here around Christmas.


    FI: Sarjassamme hyvä paikka nukkua Rovaniemellä: Arctic Light Hotel