Iceland Reflections

Reflections // Iceland

November 23, 2015

This was our second time in Iceland in less than 6 months. Did we think we would be coming back so soon? Definitely, not. When we were in Iceland last time, did we know that we would be leaving our day jobs to travel the world? No. Did we think that was possible? Not sure. Did I want it to be possible? Yes. Would I do anything to make it possible? That’s a resounding yes. So here we are. In Iceland again, less than 6 months after we first came to this magical land. We loved it then. What did we think about it this time?

We love it even more.

We only got to spend 6 days here in Iceland during our Ring Road Trip. And now we got to spend 12. Double the time! But not as much rushing around, which was nice. We took two 3-day trips. The first was to the south. We stayed in the town of Vik for two nights. I had wanted to explore the south a bit more as I felt like we rushed through it. I wanted to spend an entire day in Skaftafell park. I wanted to spend a full day at the glacier lagoon. I wanted to do the whole hike above Skogafoss waterfall. Did I get to do any of those things? Nope. But does that matter? Nope.

Our couchsurfing host said this to me a few times during our time with him: “When men (and women of course) make plans, God laughs.” And I totally agree with that.

We take all this time to make plans. To carefully plot every move that we want to make, to every detail. Like our lives. We go to high school. We do well in high school. We go to college. We do well in college, maybe we get a job after college. Or we go to graduate school in a more specific field and we start a career. We do well in our career and we can continue to move up in that career. That leads to success. That’s the planning that we have done. The planning that society has told us you should do because that is how it should be done.

Well, I didn’t do that this time like I did last. But I still had some sort of plan in my head.

Iceland’s weather wanted nothing to do with my plan. When we got to Skogafoss, it was raining. You couldn’t really get too close to the waterfall like last time because 1) it was spraying you like crazy and my camera was not happy about that and 2) there were TONS of people. I thought we were coming in the off-season, but I swear, every couple of minutes a huge busload of people would pull up. It was insane.

I still went for it with the stairs. Oh, I didn’t mention the stairs yet. There are a LOT of them. But the views from above the waterfall are pretty spectacular. So you have to do it. I was thinking of my friend Reagan quite a bit, who is supposed to have her baby any day now and might already have had the little one by the time I post this, but she climbed Machu Picchu when she was around 17-18 weeks pregnant. Just like me. And these stairs are no Machu Picchu. At least from what I have heard. So thinking of her kept me going. And baby was along for the ride.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned little baby B yet, or the little chipmunk as I have started calling him or her (there’s this great app that instead of comparing the size of your baby to food, which is pretty hilarious anyways, it compares the baby to small animals and right before we left for Iceland, the baby was the size of a chipmunk – I believe the baby is now the size of some sort of hedgehog).

Anyways, baby B has been moving a lot lately. She or he is quite the kicker and Stratton can actually feel it now! Its very fun. And such a trip. There is a HUMAN inside of me. So nuts. Since we haven’t had a lot of alone time lately, which has definitely been a huge adjustment as we spend ALL of our time together normally and have a ton of alone time, I haven’t been able to sing the song that I have been singing 2 times a day since probably week 12 or 13 (pretty much when I started to actually be happy and excited about being pregnant cause I wasn’t feeling nauseous all the time). I realize I am digressing, but I’m sure I could talk for a long time about what its like to be pregnant and traveling.

One thing that’s awesome and different, we don’t waste money on alcohol! And in Iceland that’s quite the feat since beers are over $10, which in some places in LA doesn’t sound unreasonable. But everyone who comes to Iceland agonizes over the beer prices. Well for us, that’s not a problem. It feels liberating.

The weather wasn’t the greatest in the south, but it was still a great trip. We met two people from Couchsurfing (two Americans) that came along in the car ride and that was fun. Definitely different than our first road trip where we only had to worry about each other and now suddenly had other desires and thoughts in the car, but it worked out well.

We had planned to maybe stay 3 nights in Vik, but it ended up being two. Roll with it. That’s what we did.

This is where my priorities also got a bit mixed up. Stratton wanted to be in Reykjavik meeting people and whatnot, and I wanted to be out exploring. We did end up getting to see a few new places on the way, which made it worthwhile, but essentially, we had just done this trip. I don’t know, but I just love taking pictures and being out there, that I couldn’t help myself. We will have plenty of time to explore. Especially in the new places we are going (which is everywhere after Iceland!), but I was drawn out of the city into the countryside because Iceland does that to you.

IMG_9896Seriously, Iceland does that. It draws you in. Towards it. It wants you to enjoy it. Treasure it. Iceland is unlike any other place I have been.

And granted I have only really been to tropical-like places, Southeast Asia and Maldives, but the more I read about Iceland, I find out that most people agree with me.

After a couple more nights in Reykjavik (I finally learned how to spell it! – its amazing spelling makes me love it even more), we ventured out again, this time with another group from couchsurfing, two polish girls and a couple from Russia. We headed to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. I wanted to spend more time there because we only spent about an afternoon on the peninsula the first time. And did that happen, not really…

We drove from Reykjavik and got to the peninsula around 1 or so and were able to explore a bit, but it being almost November, the sun sets around 5pm. We were so spoiled in May! The sun set at 9 or 10 then! So essentially we spent about the same time exploring than we did the last time. Of course, when we arrived at our AirBnb, I had made a mistake in booking and a place that said it was suitable for 6 people, definitely was not. Adjustments were made again. Plans changed. God laughs (it’s a good laugh though, because God wants us to have a great time, but he knows that not everything can always go our way!).

The following day I had the brilliant idea to head up to the west fjords since we really hadn’t been there yet.

Let me tell you. That was a LOT of driving. Stratton hung back because he had some school work to attend to, so I was the only person in the car that actually drove as the others did not. I ended up driving about 6-7 hours and not a lot of breaks because most of it was just enjoying the view from the car since once again, it was raining. It was beautiful, but I’m not sure I could say it was worth it because I don’t think we really got into the meat of the fjords before we had to turn around. (Yes, I just said, meat of the fjords).  It was a good day, but also it left me feeling like I could have spent it doing something else, maybe seeing somewhere else, exploring more of the peninsula.  There is ALWAYS more to see.

Our life is what we make it now. Of course, we’re going to have bumps in the road or we’re going to go on a road trip to a place we don’t know, and end up not seeing anything (it happens). We’re going to make mistakes. Plans are going to change. But it always comes back to the fact that we have decided to make our lives what WE want. So we’re here.

I had someone write to me recently about possibly wanting to join Team High Five and I asked her what does she want out of life? What are her goals? Even for the next year? What is it that she wants? And she replied, that she hadn’t quite figured that out yet (she was 18-19), but that she lives by the motto/question/whatever you want to call it, by Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

And I loved her answer because it shows the perspective that our lives are so PRECIOUS. And as far as we know it, we have ONE of them. So being able to really think about what to do with it, is so valuable. That’s why we ask everyone we meet those questions. What is it you WANT? And we want to help you get that.   Because we are getting what we want. Why shouldn’t you??

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