“iceland? why iceland?”
“because it’s far away from you asking this question.”
i was going to go amanda bynes if i heard that question one more time.
i know. i can’t really blame anyone. mexico, florida, paris. those make more sense. i mean, not single 26 year old chicks go – oh yes, for my vacation i’m going to go climb some glaciers and some waterfalls. instead of some all inclusive in cabo with endless pina coladas.
but all i could think was – it’s a long story. and if i tried, it would come out all wrong so i’m just going to avoid the quesstion, smile and nod.
so i went to iceland, leaving quandaries behind.
lemme tell you about the land of ice. but not about the food. yet. that will be part deux. i assume that’s why you came. or maybe you think this will go all eat. pray. love. you’re hoping i played tinder over there and found some amazing man. if so, i’m going to save you the next seven paragraphs of reading time, and let you know – that no, i didnt have some magical run-in with ‘the one’ at the duty free store of the reykjavik airport. but i did eat. and there was a whole lotta love.
i met my friend cory who has lived in london for the last couple of years but moves back this week (finalllyyy) met me over there. we rented an apartment which i highly recommend. we saved money and it’s such a safe city and easy to navigate, the hotel would’ve been totally unnecessary.
so here we go, a recap.
the people of iceland are amazing. i loved them. they are truly lovely. friendly. warm. stunning, it’s true.
so what does one do in iceland? drive through the countryside, mostly, two for the road style. we rented a car and drove for hours everyday. always with a destination in mind – usually a waterfall, geysir, waterway town, the edge of a peninsula. but the thing is, the drive was sometimes just as precious as the destination. i got to talk for hours with my best friend about everything that had happened with an ocean between us, and to top it all off – the entire island of iceland is unreal beautiful. like it’s the supermodel of countries.
everywhere you looked – a mountain top, a church perfectly placed against the most perfect background. the volcanic ground which sounds so not cool, but is so cool. there are black beaches. there are strange things that grow out of the ground. there are mountains on mountains. and wild sheep. and horses. and the ocean was always just right there. and rainbows appeared out of nowhere making me feel like i was exactly where i was supposed to be.
my favorite thing about travelling is it reminds me how small i am in the world. how little my problems matter. how much there is still to discover. it’s comforting to be reminded how many things are out of my control because it reminds me how i just need to get on with it already.
i also love the little differences when you travel somewhere new. in iceland – there aren’t many stop lights. zero stop signs it seems. all they have are roundabouts. roundabouts every block or two. they’re a little scary at first but then it makes perfect, genius sense. it keeps things moving. i was obsessed by the end. oh and you pass people constantly because you’re always on a two lane road. it’s terrifying at first but two days later, you’re a bat outta hell in a suzuki.
some of the (non-food) highlights were – reykajavik itself. just such a quaint town big city feel. driving over a mountain just as the sun was rising. seeing a geysir for the first time (that’s their spelling, i swear). the blue lagoon. it might be a tourist trap but it deserves to be. the sound of the gullfoss waterfall. happening across the seljalandsfoss waterfall and climbing behind it. the drive to snaef.
but it was also the walks through town. how clean the air smelled. how the weather could change in an instant. like, it put bipolar chicago to shame. walking home at night and just seeing the stars – knowing they’re the same stars i see back at home, but they just felt different. just the whole country, it felt free. the photos don’t do it justice. it’s one of those places where you have to see it in its entirety to really appreciate its beauty.
so why iceland?
the real answer is obnoxious. my friend lives in london, and (here comes the obnoxious part) i was able to study abroad in college and i saw most of europe. we wanted middle-ish ground. and iceland looked like an adventure. i have years to do florida, and beaches. i hate pina coladas. i get bored being lazy. i wanted to do something, not just visit a resort somewhere. plus, i mean – hello, see photos.
the honest answer is i missed my friend terribly. i felt like i would suffocate if i didnt get away. i needed to be scared. i needed to be reminded how big and beautiful this world really is and how small me and my problems are in it. i wanted to immerse myself in an unknown place. i needed to just breathe and feel free.