• 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.


    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


    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


    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.


    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



  • BLOG
  • North Country Lapland, Your Girl Is Coming Home

    Tiina KIvelä

    The flights are booked and working holiday in Lapland is waiting. Funny to go home from home; Switzerland really feels home by now, but so does Lapland, naturally. I’ve acquired myself an interesting work project to work with, and this will bring me back to the north country, for work and for a family. Even for some running and orienteering competitions, just like in the good old days.

    Up north, the plan is to work as much as possible in Rovaniemi the weeks, though there will be some remote work too (oh the benefits of a work for which I only need my laptop, WiFi, brains and connections). On the side, I’ll be caffeinating myself in the old favourites and new additions as much as can. I’ve heard there’s a roof terrace, real Italian pizza, gelato and even Mexican food happening in Rovaniemi these days. When and how did Rovaniemi become so hip? Though I don’t really mind, what might seem hipster for some will a remedy for my very likely homesickness.

    Tiina Kivelä


    I still have no apartment from the north (though lots of family and friends, one of whom would even have my old couch to sleep on) and I’ve been thinking of moving into hotel even like a real, cool digital nomad. After all, there will not be so many days and nights I’ll stay put in Rovaniemi. On the weekends, I’m gonna be a weekend warrior, travelling around and doing stuff. Fishing with dad (as long as there are not too many mosquitos), getting lost in the familiar woods and running and biking around the fells. And let’s see how well this Swiss high altitude camp has helped with my endurance and outdoor capabilities…

    Related to the work, there’s gonna be lots of Santa Claus the coming months (maybe something of him in here too), but what I really want to experience (and show in here) is how Rovaniemi and Lapland have so much more to offer than just Santa and his reindeer. So keep tuned, if you are interested in the subject. A friend even suggested I put up a vlog called Extreme Lapland of my stay up north… Well, since I have this blog already, I might sneak in some material in that theme too. But for the videos, well, GoPro, in a matter of fact I’m looking for some extra support…

    I’m also going to keep this map in here updated. Take care and see you later!

  • BLOG
  • Women Who Travel

    Tiina Kivelä

    Recently, I found a women-only FB group called “Women who Travel”, created by Conde Nast Traveler.

    a place where all self-identifying female travel lovers can join in conversation about what it means to travel as a woman today

    In less than a week, the group has blown my mind in many ways, adding up the thoughts already there. Especially during the past year, I’ve been talking to (and stalking) all these modern (woman) travellers, adventurers and extreme athletes around the world (hi there!). Moreover, there are similar global groups like “our” group for (amateur) women in outdoor sports (Shades Of Winter collective) and the buzz around the books and movies Wild, Frozen and Wonder Woman. And by now it all seems to have reached the masses, as the FB groups suggest.

    Women who travel is a trend; a significant one accelerating change in many fields. And it isn’t travel only, it’s also the adventure and outdoors women who have been seeking and many times got the spotlight lately. Not just for selfish, what’s on the surface kind of reasons, but to create a positive change in the industries and environment we live and do things in.

    Even my site aims to be a way to inspire others, especially women, to travel and reach for their dreams, and to show the potential we have. Though I hope men also listen, as this should help them to understand better the women of their lives and the world we all live in. The travelling kind of adventurous women, which I argue are one of the best types and the world which is all the time becoming better for everyone (at least the western world – and well, let’s not go the US now).

    Tiina Kivelä


    The number of women who now travel and seek for adventures is just something remarkable. And they are not just the ones who have EU passport and white skin and old money. There are also many (may I say it’s a majority by now) inspiring women, who don’t mind about the barriers and fight and work their way over the borders and VISA applications to travel wherever and whenever they feel like to and who do whatever they like to. The interest in travel and adventure amongst women is rapidly growing, and I can’t help thinking how proud my own late grandmother would be to see how we use our freedom and grab on the possibilities she, and many others of her generation never had.

    The support and push one gets from other women have been an amazing phenomenon to notice especially for a girl like me. I am used to, and enjoy, travelling and adventuring with guys as well. And a few years back I still wondered if there’s any need for making a difference between the genders; thinking isn’t the field already equal enough? But I’ve realised that women are the best example for women, and especially for little girls, and there’s a lot to take home from settings where only women are in place. Men can teach and they can push us forward as well, but they never know what it’s like for a woman, be it in a mountain or a foreign country.

    I like men (I really like) and think that any “playground” should be an open playground for everyone, despite gender, colour, religion or whatever may “divide” us. Nevertheless, there is (still) place and a need for women-only forums and camps and conversations and whatever, to make travel and adventure more inclusive and to accelerate the positive change. But this doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t learn something from this too. The change happening and conversations going on are beneficial for everyone.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Women who travel is a significant trend with many possibilities to take something out of it, for various purposes. Something companies in tours & activities, hospitality, gear, clothing and even DMO’s should have already seen coming; something for which one could think there would be a lot of products and services available, already now. But as I browse the available options for myself as an active solo traveller; the training camps for mountain biking, skiing, surfing, trail running; single rooms, gear rental (hint: I want professional and technically advanced, not just pink) and single activities and rooms, I still find only a few, if any. Not to mention my mum, who likes to travel but does not have the skills or means to be as proactive and self-reliant in her plans and purchases as me.

    There are exceptions though. I’ve taken part in few women-only activities, courses and camps in Switzerland and enjoyed every moment with these professional woman entrepreneurs, guides, instructors and fellow travellers. Recently I also secured my place in all girls surf camp in Morocco for the end of August (this will be an interesting adventure, I’ve never surfed and I’m still more used to water in solid form – lot’s of funny lessons ahead!). At some point, I’m even thinking of putting up my own camp in Lapland, following the great example.


    Even though there is something happening already, I do wish there would be more offered to women who travel and more taken out of the trend, for good. I’m not the only one with free lots in my calendar, tired of having to make the first move myself. And there are the ones like my mum, who’s not so into the extreme, nevertheless active holiday kind of type, and who’d buy the whole active package at once if it would be just available.

    I’m also sure there are many brands who could utilise this trend for their own purposes and for everyone’s benefit. It’s not only makeup, bags and shoes and city breaks modern traveller girls want. And some of us are more than bored of standing still in front of a beautiful landscape long hair flowing in the wind for 10k Instagram likes (too many times for their photographer husband’s business, btw). While the men climb mountains and pose full speed in downhill bike trail in their popular feeds.

    I would like to see how the little girls of today and future would not be taught to be that way; to want the cute and pink and just stand there pretty. Rather, I would like them to see how fun the adventure is, and how capable and brave modern women are.

    We want quality, we want sustainability, we want responsibility, we want to challenge ourselves and we do wanna make the change happen. While having fun and doing mainly whatever makes us happy. And we can do it.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Women who travel also want and need stuff, gear, clothing, gadgets etc for their travels and life in general. And that’s a big field where there’s still work to do. To illustrate this, let’s start from a watch, as it’s interesting with i.e. this Daniel Wellington phenomenon in mind. But since this is a travel/adventure, not a fashion blog, I look for the adventure watch. A watch which also does the job outdoors, while looking good, like Suunto Spartan HR multisport watch (I’m on a look for similar one, btw, so feel free to suggest something – especially suitable for (trail)running, mountain biking, surfing, and mountaineering).

    This Suunto watch is nice, it has many features suited for a multisport athlete. Not just a professional one, but also amateurs and lifestyle athletes like me. And apparently, the software and usability are finally getting better after some major hiccups in the first models. So it seems to be a watch to consider. But.

    Recently, Suunto ads and promotions have labelled and announced the newest colour versions of the watch (pink/white/cold version) for active, urban female multisport athlete. So now we have a watch which is said to be developed for these women, grasping on the trend we have been talking in here. But, what were the previous models and other stylish colours of this watch been; for the men only? And so I need to research if something else also changed for the “female” version; the size, weight, usability? Would make sense. But no; only the colour has been changed.

    It’s 2017. Really, it shouldn’t be only about the looks anymore for us women, even though it is nice to have a sports watch which looks like a nice watch, and not just a sports watch (krhm Polar, I might look at you now). If and when you promote a sports watch for urban active women, I do expect it’s not only colour preferences which differentiate us from men in your eyes.


    The problem here is that many things and services are still promoted and even developed for women mainly with the pink/gold and white/gold colours and “softness” first etc. As a watered down, cute version of the men version. But let me tell you: when it comes to my gadgets, I may look for the nice colour, but it’s not the most important thing. More than anything else, I would like to hear and see how you have thought the gadget fits the activity and active life I lead; how it really supports and helps me with my everyday adventures. And I can’t be the only woman thinking so.

    Here comes an advice. If and when the product development is targeted to interests more and more women (see, the women who travel is a big trend), I would concentrate on the usability and functionality from a woman point of view. How the size fits a woman’s wrist (which in most cases is smaller than men’s); how’s the weight and how’s the functionality from a woman perspective. I don’t have anything against pink and in some cases, it suits me and my needs. And I do enjoy good trendy design. But, it’s not the main reason I buy or want things.

    I want things which work and make me perform better, who save my life, keep me dry and warm and don’t break and ruin basic daily activities and adventures. And I’m pretty sure that’s what most of the women who travel and do things want too. I really wish brands would understand this and modify their communications to this direction. Because well, the current communication style of many makes me think they simply underestimate women and their skills and capabilities. Which is definitely not fine.

    Tiina Kivelä


    Women are travelling in growing numbers and making a significant change while doing so, in many fields. It’s a trend and women have more and more to say on what they want and need. And I would argue that companies and wider world should really listen to them and see the trend, and to help make the positive change happen and be proactive. Luckily enough, there’s already some who do that and our (woman)friends are filling the gaps by doing favours and creating things themselves when they can’t find what they are looking for. But more can and should be done. And we have the time and money; let’s see where we spent it.

    Ps. The pics in here are from last weekend (pics of me by David Freitag) and the last one from my original home in Lapland. It’s in these two worlds I live now, from time to time startled by the thought that I can simultaneously be home, going home and missing home. I am a woman who travels, and I sure will tell you soon how it’s not always easy, but why one really should chase their dreams like I’ve done. Oh and talking about the travel gear, that Patagonia Ascensionist 35L backpack is just ace. Unisex model. I wish this would be sponsored mention.