Nestled deep within the enchanting Finnish wilderness lies a resilient young woman who chose to swap the hustle and bustle of city living for a life of near solitude, accompanied by a devoted pack of 85 huskies. This extraordinary individual, unlike most, readily embraces the challenge of facing bone-chilling temperatures that plummet to -45°C.
But this fearless soul is none other than Tinja Myllykangas, who cherishes her profound connection with nature above material possessions.
In stark contrast to the conveniences of modern life, Tinja dwells in a world bereft of electricity, where warmth emanates from a trusty wood stove, and the gentle glow of candlelight serves as her sole illumination. Tinja granted photographer Brice Portolano the privilege of spending a fortnight in her midst, capturing the essence of her remarkable lifestyle.
Tinja’s journey began in 2008 when she resolved to forsake her studies in the bustling city of Jyväskylä, Finland, in favor of the pristine Arctic expanses of Lapland. Her heart longed for the untamed wilderness that lay at her doorstep, a stark contrast to urban living, which she found uninspiring. Raised in the company of animals, she embarked on a quest to establish a haven for sled dogs, ultimately settling near the Muotkatunturi nature reserve, a daunting 180 miles away from the nearest town.
Tinja’s bond with her canine companions is profound, rooted in the understanding that these magnificent animals demand extensive exercise and individualized attention. In addition to her huskies, she also cares for horses and wolf dogs, a remarkable breed that boasts a lineage intertwined with wolves.
According to Tinja, these canines exhibit unwavering loyalty, steadfastly following her every step. She shared with Portolano: “I relish the solitude shared with my dogs and horses. I genuinely believe that solitude offers the most serene way of life”.
For Tinja, daily chores never carry the weight of burden. She adamantly disavows the allure of material possessions, drawing her strength and inspiration from the natural beauty that surrounds her.
Tinja’s humble wooden abode lacks running water, and her culinary endeavors unfold outdoors, either over an open fire or the comforting embrace of her wood stove.
Yet, as the French photographer attests, it’s not the unforgiving climate or harsh conditions that pose the greatest challenge in Tinja’s life. Instead, it’s the protracted absence of daylight, which can extend for over a month, that tests her mettle.
As Portolano describes: “She leads a very minimalist existence, even having to break through the ice of the river each morning to fetch her water”.
Source: White Wolf Pack