Dynamic Women Award 2020 Winner: Amanda Tingstad
Amanda Tingstad is a Dynamic Woman.
She inspires us with her love of the natural world, which spans the wildlife, foraged food, and landscapes in her home of Alaska.
She was nominated by her friend Samantha McLerran, who had this to say about her: “Amanda is one of the most genuine, free-spirited, caring people I know. From the moment you meet her, you can’t help but smile and feel like you’ve gained a new friend. She is warm and pure sunshine. Her heart is so big. I’ve never met anyone who genuinely cares about people like she does, always putting others before herself. Truly selfless. She is passionate about life, her relationships, and our beautiful planet and wildlife. She inspires those in her life to get in touch with themselves and the beautiful world around them. My life has been truly blessed since Amanda entered my life. She has helped me grow in so many ways. I owe her so much, and love her dearly.”
We sent Tingstad some questions to learn more about her life and her many passions.
You live in Alaska, surrounded by wildlife and mountains. Can you tell us a bit about what your daily life is like?
Saying my life is wild is an understatement. I’m so blessed to live where I live. I have the tallest mountain in North America as my backyard view: mount Denali, with the elevation of 20,310 feet. During the summer months, we have daylight all day and night. I get out and hike in my backyard; fish for trout and salmon; pick wild berries and plants; have wild animals in our backyard (moose, bears, wolves, fox, coyotes). The closest Fred Meyer, Walmart, and Target are two hours away from where I live. So when I make the “big” trip into town, I generally stock up on two weeks’ worth of groceries.
From cooking to fishing to singing, you have many talents. Tell us a bit about yourself and what keeps you busy.
What keeps me busy usually is going out and photographing Mother Nature. I love being able to see different types of wildlife. I love learning about the flora and the fauna of the area. I learn and see something new every day.
Also enjoying what the land provides for us. In the spring, I pick wild fiddlehead ferns, which are amazing sautéd with butter and garlic, kind of like asparagus. I learned this year that tapping a birch tree can provide the most delicious water, and also can be used to make syrup. In the summertime, salmon start to run and I make it a point to stock up our freezer for the winter months. In the fall time, the berries are abundant and the garden veggies are ready to be eaten. It’s like a Thanksgiving feast.
My husband and I have ATVs and snowmobiles, and we use those for recreation purposes. There have been so many untouched places that we’ve been to that would not be possible by vehicle. Every day I count my blessings to live in such a wildly beautiful place.
My husband and I love to make music when we can’t go out because of the weather. I sing and he plays the guitar. We have a whole system set up in our tiny house.
Nature is clearly important to you. How do you stay connected to it, and what tips do you have for others to become more connected to it?
I never take anything for granted. We see so many moose here and each time I will stop to look, take a picture, appreciate their beauty, and watch their every move. I will stop and take a picture of a mountain that I have taken 1,000 pictures of. It’s like a different painting each time.
Sometimes I will go to bed late at night and listen to the birds singing, since it never gets dark in the summer—that’s like a lullaby to me. My advice for staying connected to nature is not to rush it. Take your time and find the beauty in all the small details.
Your nominator Samantha described you as incredibly caring and genuine. Where do you think that spirit within you comes from?
I would have to say my caring and genuine side came from my mother and my grandmother. My mom has always been the primary provider in my family and has never once complained about her job. She’s always been the one who would give the shirt off her back to someone in need.
My grandmother doesn’t ever forget anyone’s birthday. I always receive a card from her on every single holiday. Even when she didn’t have money, she would make it a point to celebrate you and make you feel special. Those are total goals of mine in life. I treat people like I would want people to treat my family.
Let’s talk about your love of food and cooking. What are you enjoying making at home the most these days? Why is the act of making food so special to you?
Food. Wow, where would we be without it? I love making all types of food. My mom is Spanish, so I love some good Mexican food. Anything curry is my favourite, it is so comforting and delicious. During quarantine I’ve learned to make sourdough bread and boy, I appreciate all the sourdough-makers out there. It truly is an art. I’ve also been trying to perfect a good chocolate chip cookie. I think I’ve accomplished that. I would also have to say, don’t be afraid to use spices. Spices can turn a good dish or soup into a masterpiece.
Self-care is different for everyone—what does it mean to you?
Self care to me is knowing your worth and accepting your quirks. I’m a very eclectic person; I know that I can be much for people sometimes. I have multiple hobbies and I never get bored. I’ve learned not everyone is going to like me, and that’s ok. Just continue to love and care for people and maybe eventually they’ll come around. But if they don’t, well, that’s their loss. I’ve learned loving who I am and loving the people in my life is all I need.
What is one of your favourite or most memorable pieces of advice?
Biggest piece of advice is be creative; don’t let anyone stop you from being you. Also if you’re going through struggles in life, just know you’re not alone and Time Is A Healer.
Is there anything else you’d like to share? The floor is yours.
Thank you so much for this opportunity!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Read about the other 2020 Dynamic Women Award winners here.
Read about the 2019 Dynamic Women Award winners here.