To say that Malin is an adventurer is an understatement. Self-described as a peaceful warrior, she aims to live every day to the fullest and experience all that life has to offer. Growing up in a small Swedish town, she visualized a life of adventures around the world. Now located in Cape Town, South Africa, she works as a stunt performer and lives the dream life she envisioned as a young girl. Today, you can find her paddle surfing, kite boarding, scuba diving, exploring tunnels, practicing martial arts, riding horses and exploring the world.
You travel, kitesurf, paddleboard, scuba dive and participate in the martial arts, among many other high-energy activities. What inspired you to become the adventurer you are today?
As long as I can remember I have always been curious and looking at the world as an adventure. My imagination was wild and always when I was playing with my friends I was something like a cowboy or when we climbed trees, I felt like a hero that needed to rescue my friends, who had no idea they were in danger!
The person who inspired me and supported me to carry on living as a wild child was my Dad. Almost every evening he created his own bedtime stories about this little girl “Molly” (me) who was out on dangerous explorations and being brave. He was not only sharing inspiring stories, himself was traveling the world, climbing huge mountain with my mum, participated in cycling races, military service, karate, skiing etc.. We went to roller coaster parks and if I was too young or too short he told me to walk on my toes or lie about my age so I could come with him on the bigger rides and when my mum and bigger sister had gone to bed for the evenings, Dad and I used to sit up and watch scary movies and eat chips.
But then it also feels like my adventurous spirit is in my genes. My grandparents, who came from Ingermansland/”Inkeri”, today known as the St Petersburg area in Russia, had to flee their homes as teenagers during the Finish Winter War (part of second world war). My grand-aunt was even in concentration camp and survived not only the war but also tuberculosis. They all met in my home town Borås in Sweden many years later. I, as a small child, used to sit down with them and listen to all these stories from their rough horrible years growing up during war times. They really inspired me to work hard if I want anything good and not to be greedy.
What inspired you to become a stunt performer?
My first memory of knowing I wanted to become a Stunt Woman was when I was about 11-12 years, remembering watching a Stunt Burn documentary. That was the most exciting thing I had ever seen and I knew right then that this is the kind of things I want to do in life.
Where do you currently call “home”? What inspired the move and what makes you want to stay?
For the first time I am actually feeling like I am home; this is in Cape Town. My adventurous mind has had me drifting around the world and allowed the experiences of my dreams to take place. I started moving around the world and live in different places straight after graduating from High School. About 7 years down the line, after lots of moving, training, emotions, it started to take a toll on me. I realized I wasn’t just looking for moving into a new culture and learn about that anymore. It all taught me a lot, but started to feel like I needed to find my home. I needed to find the place where I feel stimulated and won’t keep searching for something else. I knew that place was out there. I decided to be patient; I lived in Sweden for a few years to build up strength, also my own personal training and massage therapy business. Everything went so well and I started to really feel strong and ready again. Cape Town then came to me, actually an opportunity out of the blue, 3 years later.
I soon realized Cape Town seemed to have the perfect balance in everything I want to live for. Ocean, mountains, forest, desert, sunny long windy summer seasons, all in downtown. It is also a very big city, while at same time it carries this very chilled vibe. The people are amazing. It is like Europe or America, but in Africa. The mix of culture is massive and here we also get to see the sad truth of how terrible a lot of people have to live. So many people being homeless, living in town ships, and children rising up in these rough communities without good life guidance.
I remember sitting in the car on my way to the airport with my dad, looking at him saying “It feels like I am going home”. Everyday since I arrived is only feeling more and more real and amazing. There is so much life here, I don’t need much, life feel simple and there are so many opportunities to really live life and feel amazing.
What is your most memorable adventure or stunt performance?
Every place I have lived has given me its own special memory and lesson. The biggest achievement, that made me so strong was when I lived in Australia when I was 21 and became the Australian Amateur Boxing Champion. After that I had a few really hard professional fights that taught me even more. I got approached to start fighting in boxing, by this old school professional boxing coach Rob Stimson. After seeing me mocking around on the bag and pads, he said he would make me a champion. That was one, almost secret, dream I had in the back of my head.
I didn’t take the champion bit too seriously, I didn’t want to get disappointed or act over confident, but inside me I could still feel motivation and a bliss of faith charging up. I knew I was ready to drop everything else and only commit to this opportunity, I had nothing to loose and could only gain. My life became a boxing camp, with no time allowed for friends, no other activities in case I would get injured or explorations, it was only training, eating, sleeping and repeat. It felt very isolating and very lonely most of the times. But that same year, I got the opportunity to fight for a title, I got it and I earned it. The commitment to training, isolation, control of emotions and being far far away from my family and friends was the biggest gift I could have received. It was the time that opened the door for me that anything is possible, with commitment, time and believe. Even today, when I am preparing for a big stunt, I can bring myself back to the big focus and calm I had to have before and in my fights, and I know I have control and I can do this.
What are your favorite adventure activities?
My absolute favorite activities are kite surfing and stand-up paddle surfing. The ocean is my second home and where I combined the biggest rush and peace from jumping high when kiting or riding bigger and bigger waves while surfing. Nothing else matters when I am out there, only that beautiful moment. I always leave the ocean with a smile on my face. Now recently I have also discovered the underwater world in scuba and free diving. Life keeps impressing me.
The other things that I almost spending as much time with it and love are Jiu-Jitsu “the gentle art” and horse riding and connection with such powerful animal.
How has your passion for adventure changed your life?
The more I travel the more I get involved with “life activities,” such as ocean, mountain, wind, animals, the more I appreciate what earth has given us and what we are capable of. I just realize more and more that I just want to live and be grateful.
The only thing that matters to me is to live life, and this is exactly why I am sharing my blog and adventures, in hope to inspire more people to do what makes them feel complete and happy.
What advice would you give others about following their dreams?
I really want more people to believe in their dreams and to live in complete happiness. My biggest advice is to not be afraid to make a change and to remember that the change doesn’t always have to make sense in the beginning. Making a change, for example move into a new environment, can lead to the steps it requires for us to get involved with what we dream of doing or meeting the people we need to connect with to get to that right place. Sudden opportunities can come up; we might try something new that end up being the most important step of the whole picture. Also changing environment and get closer to the place where your dreams are available will make you meet people that are similar minded to you.
Where is your next adventure?
My next adventure could be anything. I have some travel coming up with both work and sport, that I know is going to give me a lot of experience and take me further on my journey. Skydiving certification is also in the near future. But when and where I will be exploring more of life, I will allow the time to tell. I will just keep doing what I love doing and be ready when the time comes.
Check out her website: www.malinkirjonen.com
Follow her on Instagram: @malinkirjonen
At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly