• Life Well Lived – Rethinking The Greatest Passion

    For many, it was cold water swimming. Or sourdough bread baking. In the Nordics it seems to have been knitting fluffy beanies and Icelandic sweaters. In Switzerland, it was Nordic skiing. The biggest trend of the pandemic winter 2020/2021.

    For me, the trend was not any of the above mentioned old loves of mine (though I have been thinking of getting back into them soon again, and I have skied nordic nicely lot this winter too). For me, the trend of this pandemic winter was rethinking my greatest passion. (And some other stuff but about those some other time.)

    During the past decade and a half, I though my biggest passion was travel. I studied a Master of Science degree with specialisation in Tourism Research. I worked in hospitality and tourism industry from guiding and service to marketing and research. I traveled for fun and work, not a lot but still a good amount. No backpacking in Asia, but surfing in Morocco and clubbing in Berlin.

    Then came the pandemic, lockdowns and travel restrictions. A brief stint back in travel SaaS business and experience economy happened too and especially my longest time – during the past decade and a half – in one country . (For about one and a half year now, I haven’t traveled outside Switzerland nor much longer than in 100km radius from my home base – moved once though, with about 100km moving distance.)

    For me, the pandemic has been marked with the realisation that I do not miss travel itself much. I do miss some things only travel makes possible. And I miss the biking in Copenhagen for the best Danish pastries and I miss eating tapas in Granada watching moon rise above Alhambra and Sierra Nevada mountains. But I don’t miss much travel itself nor working in travel – it is the other things, related and not related to travel I miss.

    It is living and breathing different places and cultures. It is learning about those. It is challenging myself with foreign exciting stuff and steep climbs on mountain sides. It is is the learning, the personal development and empowerment – living the life well and making my best to make the good life possible to myself and others I am the most passionate about.

    Luckily, living well has been possible during the pandemic as well (maybe even more now, for also certain amount of solitude and the distance to other people and crowds is important in the very good life of a introvert like me).

    Staying in one place, I have been able to impress myself with other cultures and practice my language skills, challenge myself and develop multiple personal and professional abilities and traits. It is also been a good possibility to get rid of some habits not good for me, and of  things which do not support me on my path toward my dreams (again, no big crowds nor closer than 2m distance to strangers, thank you.)

    I have also been blessed with a long stay close to my most loved one and enjoying the everyday (as far as the restrictions allow) with the best people, and a damn good of a support and ass kicker bubble. And my bikes, skis, shoes, digital devices,  pens, papers, books and coffee machines have been here too, helping me to get the most out of my capabilities and this life so great.

    At some point this website and my blog was supposed to be a travel blog. Then a lifestyle blog with lots of travel and outdoors. Then it kinda went to sleep, with the so many things and changes happening during the 2020/2021 pandemic. But now I thought to wake it up more regularly again. With less travel and more developing, learning and exploring. Flashback stories from the past year and new stories from the adventure ahead. And more importantly, many many snapshots of life well lived. Because that is my greatest passion.

    Yes most likely a lot of biking too. Because that belongs to the life well lived like enough sleep, food and water. And we seem to be almost in the season already.


    biking tiina kivela mtb

    enduro bike tiina kivela

    mtb tiina kivela

  • BLOG
  • What A Girl Can Do With Some Help

    Tiina Kivelä Creative Interlaken

    Balance for better.

    I have come to a conclusion. One of the most annoying things when working remotely/freelancing – as the one and only hustler of your business – is how you work alone most of the time. Which I have done a lot the past year. Worked and studied alone from my home office – or from a corner of a café – and talked more to my plants than any living person.  (Though the plants are living surprisingly well – I am impressed by my seemingly developed skills in this field.)

    And even as an introverted Finn who has no problems being a bit hermit sometimes, I have noted how much one can still miss the daily teamwork and slack. Because the plants are unfortunately very unresponsive, although pretty and living.

    And the same goes to mountains. They are nice to experience solo as well (just see the pic from summer of 2016 below, one happy kid biking solo around Grindelwald, or read this longer story about solo hiking) – and there are many unresponsive things to talk to there too.

    But the best is always when the solo endeavours and adventures with others go about 50/50. Enough me time, and enough doing together. Balance for better like the hashtag for the day goes.

    Soo in other words, you may invite me to work in your office any day. I would be more than happy to jump in. And for the mountain adventures and this international women’s day, I would like to especially give a shout out to all the amazing women who go solo or together, invite others along (in person or through writing, pics, videos, art etc), and simply do badass things.

    And to the people, men and women, who give women space. Space to be where we want to be, to do what we want to do, and to say what we want to say.

    It might not always be the most brilliant and pretty thing what comes out of that, but I do think world is way more exciting that way.

    Like on that hot summer day from which the selfie below is. When I decided to bike up to Grosse Scheideggen from Grindelwald, and all the way to First and Bachalpsee, and back down to Grindelwald. With my heavy not really made for this kind of things bike.

    And when the best was after it all, down in Grindelwald. Where I heard the question: “Did you really bike that sketchy path all the way down, we saw you from the lift and no way a girl was doing it?”

    Uhm well, hold my beer…

    Maybe not the wisest move, but a good test for my real capabilities. And an example of what a girl can do. With the help and pushing of other people, especially women. Because without one particular woman I would not have been in Switzerland in the first place that summer. And without the women biking before me I would not have ever gotten on bike and realised I can do things like this as well.

    Though this summer I hope I have enough money to buy a new bike. Enough of testing my capabilities exactly this way.

    Berner Oberland 2017

    Jungfrau Region Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Grosse Scheidegg Biking Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Jungfrau Region, Switzerland


  • BLOG
  • Ladies First – Inspiring Women In The Mountains & Life

    One of my favourite Finnish sayings is “women first, even to the thin ice“… (Naiset ensin vaikka heikoille jäille.)

    Yes, Finnish humour is kind of rough. But I think there is a good point in there, besides the bad. Simply, it’s about giving the lead to the ones who deserve it while recognising the responsibility which comes with having the freedom and privilege. Nothing worth having comes easy – regardless of sex – and the best understand that, stay humble and lead with good example.

    And to honor the International Women’s Day this week – and for personally having a pretty rough time lately, with the need for extra motivation, encouragement and inspiration – I would like to introduce you to the women who have been of the biggest inspiration for me lately. From many fields of life.

    First of all, I have had this rupi kaur poem in my mind constantly since I read her two books last year. For me, it is the perfect follower for the “What would Beyoncé/Michelle/ Simone/my late grandma do?” mantra I have in my head whenever life gets though and there is a challenge to be won. (Fyi, this happens a lot.)

    So, let’s start with progress. And artist who’s made quite remarkable career in such a young age and with not the best privileges.

    And then, let’s continue to the mountains.

    Lucy Walker Matterhorn 1871

    In 1871, the Englishwoman Lucy Walker climbed Matterhorn as the first woman ever – in a Victorian skirt (!). Which makes me very grateful for the modern ages and the outdoor clothing which has evolved since. Especially for women.

    Like, how happy I am that as a (western) woman I can now get gear for my outdoor adventures in other colors than red and pink. And that the same high tech materials and best designs can be found in women’s sizes too. And that I can leave the dress and heels to the office and parties, and wear pants and crampons in the mountains.

    (Unfortunately, many parts of the world still have some work to do for brave pioneer women and the society as a whole).

    Fast forward from Lucy to the modern mountain babes, there’s Hilaree Nelson climbing and skiing (the first descent) Lhotse in 2018. Ladies really first there. (I also recommend you to listen this podcast to learn more of the inspiring motivating thoughts and projects of her.) And here’s Liv Sansoz too, climbing mountains and doing this in 2017. (While I’m so not climbing all the 4000m peaks in the European Alps, I do have a dream of climbing few of them before I turn 40 – with Liv as one of the biggest inspirations for that.)

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    Cheers also to the modern rad women crushing endurance records and dreaming crazier (and the businesses and masses supporting them). And cheers to the woman/women led innovative responsible businesses like Houdini (the part-time environmentalist knitting new luxury me is so excited by this merino tech especially) and the grassroots organisations, female entrepreneurs and individuals like Liz Clark, who work hard and inspire for better future, in their own motivating way.

    And cheers to Shades of Winter and legacy of Matilda, and Evolution of Dreams and every woman and especially guide leading the way in mountains and outside mountains, in business and home.

    And cheers for Michelle Obama. For Becoming, which became the best book I read last year and the book I recommend to anyone who’s interested in rad women in politics and public life.

    And cheers to all the woman activist and artists (and damn I want a good suit now).

    And cheers to every creator, especially the moms like my own (she, 57, just skied cross-country 45km the other day… ) and her mom. Cheers to the super women, who do their work well and manage to raise good enough kids, and the super women who do whatever extremely well, and lead the way responsibly and looking good.

     And finally, cheers to every rad woman I have personally worked with, laughed with, skied with, studied with, cried with and done whatever with – many of whom I can call friends or at least good acquaintances.

    You rock, and have shown how so many awesome things are possible with hard work and the right attitude, courage and humility.

    Stay wild and a bit crazy. And remember the sun screen.

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä