We had the good fortune of connecting with Adriana Estallo Giral and Tijn van Blokland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adriana & Tijn, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We met in Finnish Lapland almost five years ago, working as wilderness guides. We soon realized our shared passion for the outdoors, traveling, and photography.
For most of the year, we live above the Arctic circle, where we have settled our residence and keep working in the tourism industry. While the rest of the year, we travel around the world. We have been thinking for a long time about the way to mix our passion and make it an entire year-round business. This was when the idea of Our Northern Tales started.
In 2019 we opened our blog not so much as a business idea but to keep our friends and family updated and as a storage for all our memories and photographs. Shortly after, we started posting our pictures on Instagram, which helped us realize how much our job is appreciated and followed. It allowed us to start collaborating with different accommodations around the globe.
In 2022 we are going a step further and recently found Our Northern Tales as a company. Our business is based on our enthusiasm for travel and photography. We continue with our blog and social media at the same time that we work as freelance photographers and sell our prints online. We want to expand the business by writing our travel guides and photo books in our short-term plans.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I, Adriana, started photographing as a child since my dad is also a passionate photographer. My earlier memories are even more about the process of going through the negative roll film, looking at the photos we’ve taken, and getting them ready to print in the shop. I can still feel the excitement of waiting to see the final prints! My mom has also significantly influenced my love for photography, creating yearly photo albums from the moment I was born until my adulthood. Memories that I still have years later, thanks to those photographs.
They’ve always said that most of the memories I have from our trips and my life are not really because I remember them but because of the photos, we have from those moments and the stories I’ve heard all my life.
Tijn picked his interest in photography when we started traveling. Seeing the joy it brings me caught his curiosity, and he started trying it himself. Nowadays, he’s focusing more on learning and practicing aerial photography and videography, which is a massive plus for our company.
Sharing this passion has brought us closer and allowed us to start our business and our own story by creating our memories.
The creative world is challenging, and while it is difficult to stand out, we believe that, like in any other creative industry, it is a truly unique experience. It is a vast world, where there is a place for everything. The smallest detail in one photograph can completely change your audience. But you need to focus on what you like and what feels right. Be yourself, and express yourself through your art. We believe in focusing and working on what makes us happy and not copying what is trendy. After all, this is what we’ve chosen to be for the rest of our lives!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a bit tricky since we are traveling most of the time, and when we are not, we are constantly at work. But here is a list of our favorite spots around the globe!
If I, Adriana, could choose only one place, it would be Vancouver. I was there for about a week years ago. I fell in love with the mix between city life and the outdoors. Having the chance to have it all together brings me so much happiness. I am a big outdoor person, but I enjoy a good restaurant, an afternoon at the movies, or a good show.
Tijn’s favorite country is Ireland; he can’t think of a better place after being there twice. The blend of landscapes, the kindness of the people, and the music make it his happy place.
As for recommendations in the Arctic circle, since we spend most of our time there, we say go for a road trip! From the Norwegian coast, visit Lofoten, Tromso, Alta, and Senja; through Swedish Lapland to the vast Finnish forests.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our shoutout goes to our friends and family that have supported us from the beginning. Not only business-wise, but also showing appreciation for what we do and giving us the idea and encouragement to start our own business.