Iceland snuck up on me in a lot of ways, and boy am I glad it did!
A couple of years ago I was in a weird place. There was some funky stuff happening at my job and the dissatisfaction was seeping out from my “career box” to slowly infect other parts of my life. I was questioning my career path, itching for adventure and desperately needing to reconnect with my truest self. One night in the midst of all of this, I saw a post on Facebook that immediately peaked my interest. The poster’s name was Kym and she specializes in curating/leading small group trips around the world. I had been connected with her by a mutual friend who had traveled with her through the Balkans and had an amazing experience.
Kym’s post explained that she was organizing a group trip to Iceland in less than a month, and she was accepting applications for people who would like to join. As soon as I read it, I knew that I just had to go with her. There was no doubt, no fear about traveling to a new country with total strangers. I just had this bone-deep certainty that I needed to make this happen.
I applied and she accepted, we had a joyful and inspiring exchange of emails and a few short weeks later I found her in the Reykjavik airport. The week that followed was one of the best of my life thus far. We frolicked with Icelandic ponies, stood laughing in the freezing spray of waterfalls and marveled over the black sand beach at Vik. We swam in blue hot springs, screamed in unfettered joy at the Northern Lights and talked late into the evenings, all huddled together in the back of our camper van.
Part of the the beauty of Iceland is that you don’t need to go in with much of a plan. There is so much natural beauty to explore, you can easily just pull off the road when you spot something interesting and go check it out! The top 3 spots that I recommend are Vik, Stokksnes and Jokulsarlon.
Traveling by camper van is definitely the way to go if you ask me, it was great to spend the entire day exploring and just stop to sleep wherever we were when the sun went down instead of spending a ton of time driving back and forth to a hotel.
We spent a couple of nights in Reykjavik, where we had spicy noodle soup at Noodle Station (major yum!) and were thoroughly entertained by a row of bars and restaurants that all had American pop culture themes. My favorites were the Chuck Norris Grill and the Lebowski Bar (complete with bowling themed decor and of course the house drink… a White Russian). The Laundromat Cafe was also a great Reykjavik find, where you can do your laundry and drink at the same time!
Iceland changed me. It was the first time in many years that I have truly acknowledged and followed my instincts, and it was the beginning of finding my way back to myself. The string of decisions I made as a result of the strength and intuition I rediscovered on that trip have changed my life, our life, for the better.
Have you ever taken a trip that left you completely changed? Share your experience in the comments!
Get out there and explore!