For as long as I can remember, travel has been a part of my life.
I recall wandering around our house as a child asking questions about the photos taken in the Himalayas in our dining room, the wall hangings from Indonesia, all the masks my mom collected during her travels. I was always curious about the many adventures my parents went on before I was even born. And I was thrilled when they took my sisters and I on more as we got older.
When we visited my grandparents, I was delighted by their stories as well – trips to Borneo to birdwatch, Venezuela to collect orchids, hearing about my grandma carrying a sloth in the streets in Brazil, or getting chased by a bull elephant in Africa. My grandfather would show us slides from each trip (mostly photos of orchids of course), but the sense of curiosity and wonder was there all along. My grandparents saw the world. My parents saw the world. I wanted to see the world.
It’s work in progress, as life tends to be. One country at time. One year a time. See as much as I can, soak it in, photograph it, learn from it, grow.
This year – Iceland.
We (as in my fantastic best friend who also happens to be my boyfriend and I) spent three full weeks exploring the land of fire and ice in our little Dacia Duster rental car. We started in Reykjavik and worked our way around the county in a clockwise-fashion, taking detours and ferries, driving over frozen impassible roads, barely securing a place to stay in hostels each night, and having a new adventure almost every day.
I thought I might know what to expect in Iceland, but I really didn’t. It was cold and it was desolate, and this was hard on me. I never knew unbearable cold until I was there and found myself putting on my fourth or fifth pair of pants each day to stay warm. It was hard to be outside and the wind was always brutal. There were no trees and nothing was green yet since we came during the spring on a year with a particularly bad winter. I found myself frustrated by the snow that wouldn’t stop falling, or the days when it took me hours to warm up after only being outside for a short while. It wasn’t a relaxing trip – it was an exploration, an adventure, a new experience.
That said, it was incredible of course. Hauntingly beautiful, unique, weird and lovely at the same time. We stumbled upon wonderful things as we took unexpected turns down unmarked roads – ice canyons, secluded waterfalls, rare birds, boiling lakes and ladders leading to the tops of cliffs. We would sit in the car and eat cheese and crackers after each taxing experience, practicing our pronunciation of the impossible Icelandic words, laughing about how ridiculous our trip was.
Every vacation is different. If you want to take an especially strange one, go to Iceland. It will blow your mind, freeze your feet, and make you smile. You’ll also come home with some pretty incredible photographs. And video. You can see the video I made on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzFL1v4ZmhE&sns=fb