March 10, 2020
A Visual Story About the Land of Ice and Fire
I’m going to be honest. I did a terrible job of writing down what each day of this trip is like. I didn’t take enough pictures. I didn’t journal. I hardly bought any keepsakes. I didn’t even make tiny notes about each location.
You know what I did do?
I lived in the moment.
But like…Did You Take Any Photos?
I’m a professional photographer so DUH I took photos. The hardest part of this trip was to NOT have my camera in my hands 24/7 (and getting deathly ill. We will talk about that later) This was my first trip outside of the US and I had no idea what to expect. I was just excited to go. There were a few things I would say to myself a few days before we left. 1) Don’t stress. You’ve packed 5 times and are traveling with 7 of your favorite people 2) Don’t think about work 3) Enjoy every second of this once in a life time trip. You know what? I did enjoy it. How in the world were 8 people supposed to travel together in these harsh conditions with 2 weeks worth of clothes crammed in bags and very few places to get food on parts of the island? Why, in creepy camper vans with Babies Dressed as Popeye on the side and using every back packing skill we’ve ever gained of course!
See? Friggin creepy van. All in all our experience with this company was pretty good. One of our vans was prepped by someone who completely forgot to pack EVERY SINGLE THING WE NEEDED TO COOK WITH, but we made do with splitting a box of equipment made for 4 people 8 ways. Thank the good lord we brought our Jet Boils for coffee. My word of advice is double check this van like a suspicious parent in a teenager’s room. We didn’t have any problems with the actual camper van itself and it got us all round The Ring Road and then some.
First Stop: Food
We hopped in our weird vans and headed to Bonus for all of our groceries. Yes, we had to cook and eat and sleep in these vans for the next week. Parts of this island have little to no people, much less restaurants and places to stay so we had to get creative. Months in advance each van built a menu and set a budget. Then we saw the cutest fish and chips shack ever. Issi Fish and Chips did not disappoint. To be honest, this was my favorite meal in Iceland. Personally, this was the best fish and chips of the whole trip and trust me when I said we ate A LOT of fish and chips. Like…so…much.
Then From Here On Out It Was Really Just a Blur of Awesome
We hit a couple of small waterfalls and beautiful areas on our first leg of the trip. When we got to our second to last stop, we realized we had NO cooking supplies in our van. Zip. And the company couldn’t get it to us. Ok so that’s not great, but let’s go ahead and get to our first hot spring and relax tonight and it will be fine.
Nope. Closed. That’s ok. We still have another one to hit.
We got to our first site well after dark. Tired and ALMOST defeated we remained optimistic when our head’s hit the pillow for sleep. FINALLY.
We all woke up to Tommy heating up our camper and giggling like a school girl. Well, what we could hear of his voice. This is when he started to get sick and was reduced to speaking in ONLY whispers.
“Guys you have to come see this”
He opened up the curtains to reveal Skógafoss. When I tell you we sprinted outside…
Here we are drinking from the river. We got a little spoiled to Icelandic Water.
We Basically Saw it All
From here we stopped at every major water fall along the way. We took no location for granted and we were sure to spend plenty of time at each beautiful spot. Reynisfjara, The Black Sand Beach, was particularly beautiful.
You know, when you’re planning a trip and you see all the photos on the internet and on Pinterest free of people and it gets you real jazzed. You start visualizing yourself in these locations and imagining what it will be like to be there and soak it all in.
Sometimes before we left for this trip, I would close my eyes and imagine how my warm coat felt in the sunshine as the wind whipped my hair in the quiet with my friends. When you are planning a trip keep in mind THIS IS NOT PINTEREST. Thousands of other people are here wanting to experience the same thing. So be on your best behavior, respect nature, and for love of all that is holy: YOUR INSTAGRAM PHOTO ISN’T WORTH GETTING HURT OR HURTING SOMEONE ELSE OVER. Obey the rules posted at this beach and wear the proper footwear. ( Leave your heels in car Karen, don’t no body want to pull you out of the ocean)
From the moment we landed we were greeted by a double rainbow and nearly every day after the sky lit up with this amazing show of refracted light. You think we would have gotten tired of yelling ” WATERFALL” or ” LOOK A RAINBOW” but each time we somehow got more excited about this place. It’s hard to not fall in love with a place so powerfully different from the norm. A constant topic of conversation while we drove The Ring Road was how tough the people are who live here. Some of them are miles and miles away from cities living in harsh conditions and doing more than living. They THRIVE and so do their livestock.
Let’s talk about the roads for a second.
That is all. But for real, we were on one road for well over 60 miles and it was basically one big pot hole. Everything in the van rattled and fell and we all needed a drink and a chiropractor once it was said and done. We were the only people on this road for miles so at one point we pulled a Jason Bourne and passed a liter of Coke from car window to car window without stopping the cars haha
Our next stop was collectively our favorite in Iceland. Courtney was our fearless navigator AND planner for this entire trip. We I say she nailed it, you guys, SHE NAILED IT. People should pay her to plan trips. What a good side hustle for an already HOT nurse lol Anyway, this chick SCOURED the internet. Blog by blog, post by post she searched for information on how to get to this hike that she had only seen a FEW photos of. You guys, she finds the GPS coordinates deep in the bowels of the internet and we head off down and unmarked gravel road and disappear into the mountains. When we got to the top I think we all cried. For me, I will always think about that moment. I’ll think about how Tommy’s blonde hair was tossed by the breeze swirling from the canyon and how white birds freckled the mountain side. Looking up and seeing my friends scattered along the edge of this amazing green cut into the earth was enough to hold me over for the rest of my life.
The moment I saw this through the window of our already dirty van I BOLTED into the outfit I got for photos. We spent a long time here. We enjoyed taking photos and admiring the view. How could you not? Buy the top here and the skirt here. Good ole Amazon am I right? This is also the moment I got sick. Word to the wise, get your Doctor to call in antibiotics before you leave the country and have ANY other meds on stand by because they are pricey or nearly impossible to find. Simple cold medicine was difficult to get your hands on so we were glad we packed our own. I’ll talk more about what we packed for this trip in a future blog.
There’s Not a Blog in the World…
There’s no way to describe this place. There’s no blog I could write or picture I could take that would make you understand just how enveloping this entire experience was. Iceland was otherworldly and one day we will go back, but for now its off to keep discovering new places and making new memories with our friends.