• BLOG
  • Tricks For Doing Solo Ski Trip Well

    Davos Tiina Kivelä Creative

    For various reasons, the past years and especially last year I have traveled a lot solo. This way, I’ve had the privilege to travel regularly during the weekdays and off peak season. Making it cheaper and less crowded than in the weekends and peak seasons. I’ve also been able to tweak and adjust it like only a solo traveler and hustler can.

    And more than else, I’ve been doing stuff I really want to do. Not needing to adjust to other people’s desires, schedules and skill levels. Though not saying that it would always be my #1 choice. Many times, I would like to just go with the flow of good company, adjust and make compromises, to enjoy the amazing thing called sharing the best and the worst. Nevertheless, traveling solo is always better than not traveling at all. (Well, at least when it doesn’t cause lots of harm to environment etc.)

    In other words, there’s many benefits of solo travel and the freedom I have. Yet, I have to admit many times it’s damn demanding and tiring to be in charge of everything myself. To make all the planning, execution, hustling and figuring out all by myself. No extra pair of hands available to give a helping hand when needed. No extra pair of eyes looking after things needing looking after. And especially, no stupid jokes in every possible occasion. And the only possible solution for pictures of yourself are the selfies.

    All this said, I have luckily figured out few tricks which makes traveling solo a bit more easier and pleasant. Especially when it means traveling for skiing and other activities, when traveling with many heavy bags and hangry moments.

    And for the nice person I am, want to share them in here. With this stupid selfie from my Davos trip last week.

    Douchebags Davos-Klosters Ski 2019

    Doing Solo Ski Travel Well

    • Get good bags for your toys. Like, really good bags. The handy robust ones. The ones with wheels and/or possibility to carry them in your bag/shoulder and the ones with as little extra weight as possible. (Extra points for good looking and recognisable bags). You’ll really thank yourself when you haul them into the trains through crowds and long staircases and icy roads. My choice for my skis: Douchebag.

     

    • Figure out where to storage your stuff, well in advance. For example, if you don’t get into your accommodation or don’t stay in the destination for the night you have to have secure place for your stuff, as your mom or no one else is looking after them. Figure out where’s lockers and at which size and with which price, and how long the storages are open. As a skier/snowboarder/whatever, you can never travel light and you most likely will have some stuff you don’t wanna carry along all the day.

     

    • Get used to being ok eating alone and finding out the good in it. When googling where to eat, check for recommendations for single eaters and really go for the things you really like. When solo, you don’t need to worry of the friend only eating still living stuff nor the other highly allergic to chili. On the other hand, you need to be happy to be squeezed into communal table or get a seat only from the bar. Yet, there’s the good in that too: you easily get to chat with the staff, get very personal service or alternatively can just concentrate on your phone or book or food or beer or the other guest. My restaurant recommendation for Davos in the pics: Lokal.

     

    • Get used to not getting the best accommodation if and when you don’t have limitless budget. Unfortunately, the single tax – higher price if it’s just you in the room vs. two person sharing the room – is still exciting in many places. Also, very few places have good deals for solo travelers, even though the trend is picking up the businesses too. So, if and when you’re not into paying 200,- for a hotel room, you have to stick to the hostels most of the times. Nevertheless, if you are also interested to combine i.e. spa or sauna or other activities into your trip, have a look at how much the hostel bed + local spa visit costs separately bought and compare it to the best rate to a room in a spa hotel. Alternatively, keep an eye on the camps and similar, in where you end up being one solo traveler among many other solo travellers. Might get you surprised. And, if you’re going for the hostel and especially in Switzerland, check the Swiss Youth Hostels. There’s a hostel in almost every best mountain destination, some of which with very good views and breakfast and the whole thing focused on sustainable business.

     

    • For the transport, skip the car and take the train and/or bus. Roadtrips are super nice, but especially when traveling solo you most likely want to stress less of finding the right way and parking place, and of the traffic conditions in the foreign place etc. Also, sitting in the car all by yourself is not really good for the environment.  So, let’s skip that. And then in the train and bus, try to be there well in time to secure the window seat. It’s way nice to look out from the window or lean your head to the window when napping, than do the same to the stranger sitting next to you. In Switzerland, Swiss Travel System is my more than recommended transport method, for solo travellers especially.

     

    That said, look at how happily I enjoy my daily exercise in the pic above. Dragging my two pairs of skis and boots and other heavy luggage uphill in over 1500 meter above sea level. All the way up to my hostel behind the steep uphill, after not being wise and going directly from the train to the Langlaufzentrum Davos, to keep my stuff there while waiting for the hostel to let me check in and doing my first cross-country tour of the visit.

    My solo travels doesn’t always go as smoothly as I would like to. But most of the times they are still more than worth doing.

     

    Davos Platz 2019 Tiina Kivelä

    Davos-Klosters Train Travel 2019

    Tiina Kivelä Creative
    Davos Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative


     

    Where: Davos, Graubünden, Switzerland

  • Badi
  • Cheap Luxury In Zürich

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    I have a Switzerland secret which I wanna share with you – in summer, it’s easy to spend a cheap but awesome day in Zürich. Yes, you heard right. Cheap but good Zürich is possible. Because good life is luxury and Zürich has it a lot.

    And these are the simple Zürich budget tips:

    First, buy a cheap beer or two (Quöllfrish/Calanda/Rugenbräu) and/or a bottle of cooled down wine (colour according to taste) and some snacks from the Coop in Hauptbahnhof, or similar. Then, wander along the Limmat -river and sit down somewhere there, to enjoy your drink and the views. Third, when in need of a good architecture and excellent free toilet (all that beer, I know), visit Landesmuseum.

    Finally, end the sweaty afternoon (alternatively you may also start the day this way) in one of the free badis in town, i.e. my favorite the Oberer Letten Flussbad (psst. if you want to look like a local there, take a fouta with you). And when talking of the badis, CNN just listed Zürich as the second best swimming city in the world, right after Copenhagen, which in other words makes Zürich the best freshwater swimming city in the world. Yay!

    More of my Zürich tips (includes the more pricey drinks, shopping and bath options as well), you can find in my Zürich -guide in here, and in the category Zürich, obviously.


    Where: Limmatquai & Landesmuseum, Zürich

  • 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,