• 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.


  • BLOG
  • Notes & Inspiration From Wilderness


    It’s the transition season now. Not anymore summer and not yet winter; when everything just slows down. Including me, now more than in years. This week, I’ve taken a comfortable position on a sofa I’ve gotten myself near enough, to take my doctor’s prescription seriously. Add some coffee, wine, work, books and films, and I’m all set. Focused on listening and reading some amazing women and men, admiring what they are doing, hoping to get inspired and find my flow soon again. I may never be as badass as these people in these, but I can learn something from them; more than anything I’m now up for learning and getting forward (and like someone said, do some awesome stuff – thanks for the support, dear friends). And if it isn’t clear enough, brand videos and sponsored content work way better for me than any business forum.

    You may wonder where’s all my activities and well, they are waiting because my body said stop girl. Soon after which, I walked out from doctor’s office with an antibiotics prescription and order to keep from training for two weeks (aka erysipelas). Maybe I was cheering the good marathon recovery too soon. Though I’d say this is rather a result of generally too exhausting life the last months. It’s a limited amount of crap a human body can take and I guess mine just had enough. I was taking care of me but not enough – though I’d like to point out that there’s a limit how much a person can take care of. This is not all my fault, I hope. Now I have to deal with the consequences and oh boy this demands different kind of strength from me – patience isn’t my strongest point and having injury on my foot, one of the most important parts of my body, really challenges me. But, it’s a good lesson and next time I’m wiser, hopefully.

    Since I can’t move much, I try to find enjoyment in other things, like reading and these films. And just in time this week, post carried me the newest book by Brené Brown (yes, that Brené Brown). And wow, after years of constant change, starting over so many times and generally just being me (and experiencing the world around me), the book really hits the nerve. Hopefully, the book will also give me tools to better cope with life and work and sports.

    And while not there yet, who knows, maybe this site turns into book and wine blog – I’m even going to a book and wine fair this month as a blogger (more of which later) and I’m planning some major changes to this site. I’m also back to school, taking some University courses on Design Management and thinking how it can be already 9 years since I started there…

    It’s kind of strange to be back, and so far the most remarkable lesson has been to realize that I know and can a lot already. It’s really been 9 years, so no wonder.. There’s so many ways to learn and so many sources for information these days, that university isn’t the only place where to learn something important. It’s also funny to see the difference between we, who pay for studying the course, and the normal students who are paid for studying. Sorry but many could change their attitude radically and at least a year abroad with open heart would do good for so many. But again, it’s also good to work and study with people so different (or well, basically very same since all the students are Finnish). It gives new perspectives and definitely a good start for learning something of real management.

    Now, it’s Friday, past 5pm and I’m ready to open a bottle of wine and see another surf film. C’est la vie. Take care and talk to you later.


    Tiina Kivelä

    FI: Terveisiä sairastuvalta. Joko juhlin kivutonta maratonia liian aikaisin tai elämä muuten vain päätti pistää stopin viime kuukausien raskauden päätteeksi. Muutaman päivän takaisen lääkärikäynnin jälkeen tuomiona ruusu, antibiootit ja parin viikon urheilutauko. Ei mikään helppo resepti, kun liikkuminen on juuri se mikä pitää pääni ns. kasassa. Mutta kuten ystävät ovat kannustaneet, kyllä tämä tästä ja ainakin nyt on aikaa keskittyä paremmin muihin juttuihin, kuten lukemisiin ja lasku- ja seikkailuleffoihin. Eikä aikaakaan, kun olen taas tekemässä mahtavia  seikkailuja. Toivottavasti.

    Kun en voi liikkua, yritän keskittyä muihin asioihin, joita voi tehdä sohvalla takan ja WiFin vaikutuspiirissä. Töiden lisäksi olen lukenut ja katsonut (surffi- ja lasku) videoita ja kaivannut lunta. Yhdessä yöpöydän kirjapinon ja avoimen yliopiston opintojen kanssa toivon videoiden kannustavan hyvälle kasvu-uralle myös tällaisen väsyneen kolmenkympin kriisissä kärvistelevän naisen. Tai ainakin näin toivon; yleensä kyllä nämä toimivat paremmin kuin mikään business forum ikinä.

    Kenties tästä sivustakin tulee hetkellisesti todellinen kirja-ja viiniblogi; olenhan muutenkin jo suuntaamassa kuun lopussa kirja-ja viinimessuille bloggaajan statuksella. Tähän valmistautuessamme kerrottakoon että tämänhetkisenä lukemistona on Brené Brownin uusin, ja viinilistalla ovat täyteläiset punaviinit, kun hailakat ranskalaiset rosét ja keveät sveitsiläiset valko- ja pinot noir viinit on vaihdettu paremmin vuodenaikaan ja paikallisen Alkon valikoimaan sopiviksi.

    C’est la vie siis. Pitäkää itsenne ja toisenne ihmisinä ja näkemisiin taas pian!