Maria is from small, forested and boggy Estonia, where everyone has at some point in their lives sang in a choir, where people spend their weekends picking berries and mushrooms in the forest and jump over bonfires during long midsummer nights. Growing up in a family that loves spending time outdoors and watches nature movies every Saturday, getting fascinated by the natural world was not surprising.
Yet winter and lust for adventures, especially after reading some of Jack London’s novels as a kid, remained engraved at the back on her mind. Interest in the natural world led her to study biology in Scotland, where after the first year of studies, she was able to go on an exchange year in Svalbard. Something about this somehow simple snow-covered landscape, its harshness in blizzards, majestic beauty and vastness felt right and kept pulling her back towards it. Maria is now studying Master’s degree in Arctic biology and working as a part-time guide on the side of her studies.