Tiina Kivelä

My Story – Girl From The North Country

About 30 years ago I was born in the Northern Finland, Lapland, in a small town above Arctic Circle. In there I learned to speak, walk, run, ski, ride a bicycle, read, write and ride a car. To read map, to draw, and knit. And many other things. From TV I learned about Sissi and Sound of Music, and from books about Heidi, which I’m afraid planted the seed of fascination for the Alps. In there, my story was born.

After many many pitch black winters and bright nightless summers up in Lapland, in the North Country (hence the name), I moved abroad, to Sweden. Then to Austria. Then back home to study. And then back abroad again. Once, twice, many times. And then again back North. To study, to work, to spent time with my family and to meet new people and hear amazing stories. And always leaving again, for Denmark, for Norway, for Belgium. And these were just the longer periods of time somewhere. In between and during of which I traveled for leisure too, all around Finland and Europe.

During these years abroad, I learned to drink coffee, ski free and to network drink beer in Brussels. I learned to bike according to the local etiquette in Copenhagen and to dance my legs sore in Berlin. I learned lessons with which I then moved back north again, to get my degree, Master of Social Sciences specialising in Tourism Research (isn’t it fascinating?!) and to launch this website. And then I left again, for Switzerland.

Yes, one could say I’m restless. Always up for an adventure and to make dreams come true. And to just do things which make me happy and which challenge me to do my best and move forward, to make most of this precious life of mine. And so I went, adventure after adventure, great successes and unfortunate mishaps, one after another.

But then it happened, after a bit over a year’s stint in Switzerland, in Interlaken, that I once again returned to Lapland just to realise I could not get my heart out of Switzerland anymore. It was stuck there, by the mountains, glaciers, hot sweaty summer nights, hiking paths, rivers, lakes, wineyards, cheese, chocolate, lovely people and SBB rail network. Or well not really stuck. It was happily content in it’s comfort zone. It was settled, for the first time really.

And who can blame the heart. For it, the country is as close to perfect a country can get. Still, it does like Lapland a lot too, the shimmering snow fields in March, the white nightless summer nights, the silence, the neverending sky above the mellow fjells and little towns with excellent restaurants, like Rovaniemi, and the ones with more of a rugged honest outback feeling. But in Switzerland the heart found the home. It was in love with Switzerland, exactly like the hashtag says. And in Switzerland, it was in peace. Feeling home and content and the most cabable of doing all kinds of things it wanted to do.

And so in the spring of 2018 I moved my camp II back to Switzerland. And this time I moved with some extra time, to really explore more this great country and follow my mission to live as good as possible. To hike, to bike, to ski, to run, to love, to drink the wine, to eat (all) the cheese, to hug glaciers before they disappear, to learn German, to drive to Italy for a little weekend break. And to write about it all in here, and post some nice pics in the Instagram. For inspiration, help and personal fun.

And so the story goes on and develops, every second, and if interested, you can follow it in here or in Instagram. There will be a lot of Switzerland, but also a lot of Lapland and a bit of other places too.

I will not share it all in here, but I do promise honest, authentic, and hopefully inspiring too, glimbses of this adventure called life. Right now I do think it’s a pretty good life and an example of how far one can get with limited resources, with hard work, determination, big dreams and the priviledges a white girl with EU passport carries with her. I don’t say anyone can do this, nor should, but I do hope I can inspire and help, or at least entertain you.

Oh and last but not least, something related to the glaciers. I don’t say I’m a hippie, nor a perfect example in these things. I don’t know all, but I’m eager to learn more and already now I know, or at least think I know, enough to live and explore this world and life as sustainably and responsibly as possible. In other words, you don’t see me flying somewhere every week, nor driving a car every day. More than that you’ll see me recycling, taking the train to ski and to hike, eating organic and buying environmental friendly gear for my adventures. And hugging the glaciers. In purpose, or when slipping on one of my good mountaineering tours.

In other words, I try to do as good as I can. Live as good as I can. Though let’s make it clear that I don’t think I’m a Jesus. Honestly, I’m lazy and poor and feel frustrated for not doing enough just for the laziness or homesickness (i.e. the flights needed to live between Lapland and Switzerland). But I do try to do good. Make good trips and tours. Choose good trips and tours. Shop good things and borrow and return good things. Do good food and blog posts. Enjoy good food and writings. Basically, just do a pretty good job whatever I’m doing.

So in addition to inspiring you to just do what makes you happy, I wanna encourage you to do good. Because let’s face it, a good life and wellbeing planet are too good things to let go on waste. If you can choose good, why not to choose it?

I’m happy to share but also more than interested in to hear your story. So please, leaeve your comments on posts whenever inspired to do so, or send me a direct message. I’m always up to hear what good things other people have to say.

– Tiina


Tiina Kivelä