I would like to start off by thanking Extreme Iceland for their sponsorship. They really are an amazing company. I worked with them for a good few days, going with them on several tours. Check out the review (coming soon) I wrote, with all the additional info and photos. If you do go to Iceland definitely have a look at their tours.
I’ve just spent an excellent 2 weeks with my buddy Marvin, a very talented filmmaker – (his website is coming soon) – working and travelling through the land of fire and ice – Iceland. Though, after these 2 weeks I think I’m going to rename it the land of waterfalls and rainbows.
I like to keep things fresh and different in my life, I also like to keep things fresh and different in my blog posts. With each blog post, I’ll try to have a different kind of structure in it.
This one I wrote in the form of short stories, the thoughts and events that occurred during my trip to Iceland and the lessons I gained from them. Each story holds a reminder.
And of course, I’ll also be sharing some great photos I took during my trip and some fun and interesting facts which I learned about Iceland.
I met this girl in a hostel who was about to stay for 9 months in Iceland working as an au pair.
We chatted for a while. At one point I asked her if she’d ever stayed for such a long period away from home. She said no, she hadn’t.
When she said that, I heard feelings of doubts in her voice, which started me thinking. Then I realised something. Do not go for that long for the FIRST time! This is of course my personal opinion, but I have seen the pattern. I have seen people going around telling everyone that they are leaving for a very long period. They feel very excited; everyone is impressed with how brave they are. Then, when they leave, 1 or 2 months later they are back home.
Now, I am not saying this is the case with her, but I realised that a lot of people just like to say that they are going away for so long, as it sounds “cool”.
When you tell your friends “Hey, I’m going off to stay in Iceland for 9 months”, it sounds a lot more impressive than if you just say you are off for a few weeks.
We like to impress people. Even if those 9 months were completely shitty, when we return home we can still say, “hey, I stayed 9 months abroad.” What scares us off is the thought of staying THAT long somewhere unfamiliar, knowing we will miss our home, our family and friends. Those feelings and thoughts are created by the length of the period, and the realisation comes when you are already there.
What I am trying to get across here is – you don’t have to do everything all at once. Go for 2-3 months, that’s a good amount of time to explore, and discover things about yourself and see how you can handle the experience, and how you cope within yourself.
Then you can take bigger steps.
Two guys, One Car
In our second week in Iceland we hired a tiny little rental car to drive around the whole Island.
We decided to call the car Raknanina – just so you know…. Driving around the west fjords, late, both feeling incredibly tired, and the west fjords of Iceland aren’t exactly awash with cities, and what towns there are, are quite far away from each other. So, we decide to stop and sleep in our car. There we were, two guys, in a tiny little rental car – called Raknanina – in our sleeping bags trying to make ourselves comfortable while trying not to hit one another in the face.
As we were both lying there, in the weirdest and most uncomfortable way (it was a very tiny car!) we both just started laughing. At that moment, I thought, damn, I wish I was lying in a comfortable bed right now. But then a smile just appeared on my face as it reminded me of why I love to travel. Exactly for that kind of situation.
There may be many times when you think “why am I doing this again?” But when you reach the morning and when you return back home you know exactly why.
For the stories they create.
Take a Moment to Breathe
I am a professional photographer; a huge part of my job is, obviously, taking photos. When I see someone taking a photo of something, I often observe them. I’ve seen so many times people mindlessly taking photos of just everything they see.
They do not take the time anymore to breathe.
What I mean with that is, they take a photo, and walk away. Without even taking a moment to just look, breathe and to feel that moment.
And hey, I have to admit, when I started taking photos, I was doing the same, I was mindlessly taking photos of everything, not looking, not connecting. When I started taking it more seriously, I slowed down and started observing and actually looking at what I was taking a photo of. This did two major things for me. Firstly it improved my photos tremendously, as I started looking for details; and secondly, by looking for and seeing those details, I started to see such amazing things. Things that everyone can see, but so many miss – simply because they do not take the time to truly see what they are looking at.
Take a moment to breathe.
This isn’t just for people taking photos; this is for life in general. You’ll be amazed by the things you’ll see if you just take a moment longer in looking at this world.
Your Dreams Do Not Come in a Box for You
I met a ton of people in Iceland and one of the frequently asked questions was “What do you do?” When I told people that I am a professional photographer and I was there to work with Extreme Iceland many said “Wow, you are so lucky, you’re doing the dream job, I wish I could do that.”
To which I replied “This has nothing to do with luck. And if you truly want to, you can do this too.”
In a way many people seem to assume that the post delivered a box at my front door, and in that box was all the knowledge, skills and equipment (well, equipment is true, but I still had to earn the money for it..).
They didn’t, I had to create that box myself. I had to learn and gain all these skills and knowledge myself. And the struggles I had to undertake along with it are something no one sees. But it is all part of this journey.
I am a firm believer that you create your own luck. If you truly want something, it is all in your hands. It takes tiny steps in achieving your dreams – it truly does, but don’t wait for luck to happen.
You are the source of your own luck in life.
Having said some incredible life advice there,.. let’s shift over now to some of the fun & interesting facts I learned during my trip in Iceland!
Fun & Interesting facts
Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland. Juuj!
60% of the Icelandic population lives in Reykjavík.
Eyjafjallajökull was probably the most complicated word the newspersons around the world had to learn in 2010.
Icelandic horses have a unique gait called tölt in which one foot is on the ground at all times.
There are no McDonald’s restaurants in Iceland. Good one Iceland!
There is a saying in Iceland, that if you do not like the weather, you just have to wait 5 minutes. The reason for this rapid change of weather is due to Iceland’s location. It lies at the meeting point of contrasting weather systems and opposing sea currents.
Icelandic water is so clean and pure that it is piped into the city and to the kitchen taps in the home without any treatment (no chlorination needed!).
Beer remained illegal in Iceland until 1989. Thank God they changed that!
Iceland is very green, because there is so much water and the climate is mild. People like to say that Iceland should be named Greenland and Greenland should be named Iceland.
I wonder why…
Iceland is one heck of a beautiful country, filled with wonders everywhere you look.
Don’t let the rapidly changing weather scare you off, it is all part of the experience of going to Iceland. Dress well, and you’ll be fine. One last piece of advice you shouldn’t ignore when packing for Iceland – Do NOT forget your swimming shorts/ Bikini. Yes you will definitely need those. Just letting you know, so you won’t be like me, running around in a hot pool and spa in your underwear ;).