We are torn bet…

We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.

Carson McCullers

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Iceland, part eight

Reykjavik.

Spontaneous trip to the Golden Circle (again) with Óli (Iceland), Kate (Russia), and B (South Korea). Better weather. Better company.

Þingvellir.

We went to the Blue Lagoon– such tourists, but a necessary experience.

Blue Lagoon.

The next days are a blur. Time moved so slowly. There’s no way to put any of it into words. The whole trip was life-changing. I laughed. I cried. I lost my breath in the most surreal places. I played amongst glaciers. I ran through fields of moss. I sang as loud as I could. I met inspiration. I ran away. I got lost. I feel liberated. I found my way.

I learned a lot. I’m indecisive. I plan too much. I contradict myself. I’m not shy; I’m independent. I can’t be everything. I love myself. I’m a spiritual being. I want to keep growing. Reflection is essential. I love the simple things. Life is what you make of it.

And go.

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Iceland, part seven

Wandered. Saw. Cried. I was tired of being alone. There’s something to be said about traveling solo. I mean, it feels damn good. To have moments completely to yourself. To not have to share with anyone. To think your own raw thoughts. But at a certain point—when you’ve thought of everything to think of—then it can go downhill very fast. Living, thinking, overthinking… the sadistic brain at its finest.

For my own sanity, it was time to go back to Reykjavik. Karl was awesome, and let me come to his place early. There were many of us couchsurfing that night—myself, a Russian, a South Korean, an Aussie, a Swede, a Hungarian, and an American. The nights after that, I lost track. Each time I came and went, there were new people. It was a special and lovely experience. I felt quieter than normal, but it was nice to just breath in surrounded by beautiful spirits.

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Iceland, part six

I woke up feeling happy. Life was good. I had no plan, but I had opportunity. So, I stopped where I wanted to stop, played where I wanted to play, and did whatever I wanted to do. I ended up in Stykkishólmur for the night, debating if I should take the ferry to the West Fjords. Decided next time, in a 4×4, with company. I was already feeling isolated enough—I didn’t need to go any further.

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Iceland, part five

I found myself in Hveragerði, a town known for its hot springs. Again, “taking it easy”, I opted for a 3 km hike to this so-called “hot river”, you know, to relax my sore muscles. If getting there wasn’t a challenge enough, just to bathe in what I could only compare to long-term care bath temperature river water, I really did myself in for the trip back. I stepped off a rock. I pulled something. Goodbye left knee.

Hveragerði.

Looking back toward Hveragerði, maybe 5 minutes into the one hour hike.

My aching body found its way back to Reykjavik, a little uneasy that I finished my week-long drive in a mere three days. Alas, decisions. What to do. Where next. A combination of pain and indecisiveness wore me down, but I chose to do the west coast.

I felt fragile leaving Reykjavik. I don’t even want to talk about the next part. It’s kind of a funny story now, but at the time it just ruined me. Completely destroyed, I camped out in Borgarnes for the night.

The tunnel.

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Iceland, part four

Waking up to the sound of a waterfall can’t be described. In that moment, everything was possible. I was invincible. Thirty seconds later, when I started climbing the stairs to the top of Skogafoss, I realized I was maybe, just a little bit, kinda/sorta wrong. “Take it easy. You don’t have to conquer the world all at once”— Nah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Skógafoss.

Back to Dyrhólaey, a personal favorite in the end.

Looking west from Dyrhólaey. Spectacular.

Looking inland.

Fact: Puffins are not the same size as penguins. Who’d have known.

Puffin.

By the time I was finished “taking it easy”, I think I was covered in puffin shit and happier than ever. I think I saw death as the wind blew strong and I leaned over the edge of the arches to watch the sun shine through. Sigh. Bliss.

As if I wasn’t dirty enough, the next part was slipping (in hiking boots) when walking behind Sejlandafoss. Covered in mud. Bliss. A child-like happiness. To fall down, to laugh at yourself, and to get up again. Small accomplishments.

Seljalandsfoss.

Eyjafjallajökull.

Cute. Married in a cave.

Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki were the perfect stops. Small, quiet, slow-paced—just what I needed. Exploration, but mostly sleep.

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Iceland, part three

Day two.

Höfn.

Woke up in the early morning to heavy fog. It was something from a movie—the way everyone acted in the campsite. It seemed like life slowed down when the foggy shadows looked your way, and sped up as soon as their head turned. A surreal and intimate moment.

I explored the town for a couple hours, waiting to see if the fog would clear and grant me the privilege to see the amazing view of volcano. No such love, so I decided to find it elsewhere. Back to my glacier lagoon, with two German hitchhikers for company.

The harbour in Höfn.

A foggy, quiet morning in the harbour.

Fog.

Icelandic horses… and lots of them.

Sheep. Everywhere.

More sheep.

Jökulsárlón. Where nothing else matters.

Perfect moment.

Volcanic rock.

The North Atlantic.

Brrrrrrreautiful.

Peace and love.

Love for Iceland.

I continued to Skaftafell National Park. I hiked to the top of the waterfall and looked down over the edge, a 20 m drop. The earth is so powerful.

Sandfell cemetery.

More hitchhikers. This time from Paris.

We stopped in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. I found a waterfall and the “church floor”.

Stjórnarfoss.

Kirkjugólf.

Damn right!

Frolick always.

I continued to Dyrhólaey, but I was soon exhausted by the cold and the wind. I decided to camp for the night at Skógafoss. It was a highlight– washing in the cold river and falling asleep underneath a waterfall.

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Iceland, part two

The getaway.

Day one.

No nerves. Just big dreams— to find adventure, beauty, simplicity, solitude, and myself.

It only took 30 minutes into the drive when the rain started. Þingvellir National Park, Geysir, and Gulfoss were congested with tourists coming by the busload. It was grey, windy, and miserable, and a bloody pain to dry my Nikon lens inbetween shots. I chose to outrun Mother Nature, and just drive.

Lava fields.

Icelandic horses.

Clear skies.

I arrived at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. I played amongst the icebergs that washed in from the North Atlantic onto the black sand beaches. In that moment, I realized I could die. Like, I didn’t need to see it all because I had found it. Adventure. Solitude. Beauty. Simplicity. But I still had a lot to learn about myself.

The happiest I’ve ever been.

Raw happiness.

I ended day one in Höfn.

The road to Höfn.

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Iceland, part one

Sometimes, when you sleep 7 hours one night and another 6 hours in the afternoon, you wake up at 4 am with a surprising amount of energy that just makes you want to write. I prefer blackness to grayness, and wish I could be nocturnal for the rest of my time in Finland… but I’ll start at the beginning.

Reykjavik.

No sleep, last minute packing, and an unholy 7-hour layover in Halifax, but I was finally going to Iceland. If my life were a movie, Glósóli by Sigur Rós would have been playing as my flight descended over the coast and touched down beside lava fields and thick moss. In reality, my in-flight TV froze 15 minutes before landing and Sigur Rós was missing from my iPhone. This would be some sort of foreshadowing, but my life isn’t actually a movie.

Got in around 0530, 6 hours ahead of Saskatchewan, and took a shuttle from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik Backpackers to meet my Couchsurfing host. First surfing experience, with Kaisu and Björgvin, a Finn and an Icelander: pure luck. The best part was how helpful, trusting, and generous both of them were. If all goes according to my makeshift plans, I’ll be seeing them again in Amsterdam and Iceland this December. Can’t complain about the travel life.

Not sure if my early morning motivation has faded, or if I’m just unsure of how to write about all the experiences and emotions from my roadtrip.

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Eina Viku

I can’t believe I’m a week away.

Image

Left on my list is to take out some ISK and EUR, buy a travel adapter, fill out my SRNA forms, get my international student card, and have a passport photo taken for my residence permit. None of these are particularly fun, but that’s exactly why I procrastinated them…

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