My Iceland Experience in 42 Instagram Photos

Twelve days and eleven nights in Iceland. That’s how long I spent on my first trip abroad as a solo traveler.

What was it like to experience Iceland — a country the size of Ohio where in the summer the sun never sets and in the winter it barely rises; an island ensconced in mountains and volcanoes, crater lakes and hundred-food geysers, dirt highways and moss-covered lava fields?

It was incredible.

That’s what I keep hearing myself say to friends and family, at least. But what does that really mean?

I suppose it’s that Iceland was a special adventure for me: a reaffirming journey without expectation or destination, and one that was full of learning, growth, experience, depth and humanity.

It’s funny how that happens — although I’m no longer surprised when an open-ended, expectationless voyage becomes a magnificent teacher of life, love, and people.

After twelve-odd hours of discombobulation when I first arrived in Iceland — what could be attributed to my usual “Where the hell am I and what am I doing here?” travel jitters, plus a sudden 16,000-krona cab ride from the airport (that’s about $120) that cost me about half the money in my wallet, and then blowing out my hotel’s electricity — I tapped into the pace and flow of life for locals in Iceland, and found it quite invigorating. The skies were grey throughout my visit, but the beer was cold and the caffeine was hot; the streets were bustling and the smiles were warm.

If you know me or have been here long at all, it really shouldn’t be a surprise when I tell you how I managed to overcome those annoying nerves and somehow tapped into the pace and flow of life around me, presently: I started writing.

Writing is my salvation. It has become a means to flourish in life and business, but has always remained my fallback during times of uncertainty: whenever I’m encountering my own fear, or facing the unknown, or thrown into some odd circumstance like an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces who are speaking an unfamiliar language.

My friend Fabian Krause said to me last week when I spoke with him in a podcast interview, “It sounds like whenever you miss home, you find home by writing.”

It’s true. Writing is how I find home wherever I am.

When I write, I take the reigns: it’s how you claim understanding over what you’re experiencing; and take ownership of what you’re feeling and fearing, hoping and anticipating. Writing is how you reverse your role as victim to circumstance and uncertainty and begin to dictate commands to your mind’s thinker.

Writing is the farmer’s hoe with which you till that soil. Writing is the drum beat that sets your heart’s soldier to march forward.

It’s simple why: by writing, you’re embracing a physical practice of personal choice (a choice in self-belief), and committal (with purposeful and intentional action), and a natural means of cultivating order, peace, and understanding from disorder, confusion and chaos.

That’s why I wish to share writing and its incredible power with others in the work that I do — because writing is a gravitational force for positive change that’s chosen and lasts, and is not demanded, commanded or forced.

 

My Iceland Experience in 33 Instagram Photos 

Although it almost pains me to not accompany these pictures of mine with the appropriate stories and descriptions, I did recently on a guest post on Plum Deluxe and would suggest you visit that piece to see some detailed explanations and stories about what you see here below in these Instagram photos.

Since my friends at Plum Deluxe invited me to contribute a piece to their site which features some of these photos, I felt that I should leave the context of the related stories to that post, rather than describing it all again here — but I sweetened the visual deal here for you, including many more pictures to inspire you with Iceland’s natural beauty.

1.) Hallgrímskirkja

Evening sunshine.

 

2.) Hallgrímskirkja at 1:05 AM

 

 

3) Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s “Main Street”

How to speak Icelandic: (1) start to pronounce something terribly to trigger a local to say it for you, (2) exclaim, "That one!"

 

4.) Laugavegur, closed to traffic for pedestrians and bicyclists on a Saturday morning

 

5.) Laugavegur, with light car traffic on a dreary Tuesday morning

Saying goodbye to Iceland after an amazing 12 days. Here's to next time...

 

6.) Laugavegur at Skolavoroustigur, a street that leads directly to Hallgrímskirkja

Grateful n all, but man, fuck this dreary weather!!

 

7.) Downtown Reykjavik, from the clock tower atop Hallgrímskirkja

Nice view from the top of Reykjavik. (I'm adding all these extra Iceland photos for a blog post, if you were curious)!

 

8.) Color is a common sight in Reykjavik, a town that’s fond of artistry, performance art and music in the streets

Show your colors.

 

9.) A portrait being spray painted onto the side of a house in Reykjavik

Now, that's how you use spray paint. Wow.

10.) Art and graffiti are strewn about with eloquence throughout downtown Reykjavik

Bald eagle, Iceland style. #latergram

11.) Chalk signs, one of my favorites. I don’t know what it says, but I know there’s music happening there!

Chalk signs, #Iceland edition. #latergram

12.) This clothing shop ad is painted on the building’s wall, combining a rustic grunge element with catchy marketing

Icelandic hipsters tie ties.

 

13.) The dichotomy of modernization and old world, arty Reykjavik. 

What if money empowered art and preserved culture? #Iceland #latergram

 

14.) The Blue Lagoon, a popular man-made geothermal spa

Venturing into the blue lagoon this morning.

 

15.) The wonderful cafe overlooking The Blue Lagoon

 

 

16.) Te og Kaffi, or the “Starbucks of Iceland”

Postcard priorities.

 

17.) Caffeine and foam art: international languages

 

I luh you too, baristagurl. #iceland #latergram

 

18.) Sigrun knitting herself her own lopapeysa, or an authentic Icelandic sweater

My friend Sigrun on the night shift at the hostel. I was up til 4:30am watching hockey and she was working on her hand-knit sweater. Awesome, right?

 

19.) A wonderful little restaurant named fish. with three items on the menu

Dinner at Fish.

 

 

20.) Fish stew and veggies with rice, a traditional Icelandic meal

One of my favorite meals of Iceland so far. Traditional fish stew, tons of veggies. The owner/cook tells me it is made with "Passion, lots of passion." Bonus points for it being filling!

 

20.) A colorful cafe along Laugavegur 

Coffee colors.

 

21./22.) Books line the counter at Laundromat Cafe 

Keep writing. Only *5* days left to become a member of my private writing community, The Literati Writers. Read more: http://LiteratiWriters.com

Stacks of color-coded books lining a coffee and liquor bar? Win. #latergram #iceland

 

23.) A latte at Bunk, the bar at Reykjavik Backpackers Hostel 

Caffeine.

 

 

24.) Flowers rise by Hallgrímskirkja

Good morning from Reykjavik.

 

 

25.) Metallic viking sculpture in Reykjavik at the foot of a bay 

Walk by the bay.

 

 

26.) Reflections on a walk through the city

Being reflective.

 

27.) A Reykjavikian home

Random, cool, old house.

 

28.) Thingvellir National Park, an hour outside of Reykjavik

 

29.) The Law Rock, where the world’s first every Parliament congregated

Löberg aka "The law rock" at Thingvellir where for three centuries laws of the Icelandic Commonwealth were proclaimed #iceland #latergram

 

 

30./31./32.) A beautiful turquoise pond at Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir river channels #iceland #latergram

Turquoise waters of Thingvellir National Park and home to one of the world's first parliamentary systems.

International wishes in international currencies, tossed into turquoise waters. #iceland #latergram

 

33.) Me, at Gulfoss waterfall

Overlooking Gullfoss waterfall on Iceland's Golden Circle today.

 

34.) Natural geysers in the Icelandic countryside

100c = 212f = hot tomale #iceland #latergram

 

 

35./36.) “The” geyser of Icelandic, Geysir, “before” and “after”

Geysir, before erupting #iceland #latergram

Geysir explosion!

 

37.) Kerith, a volcano crater south of Reykjavik

This is volcanic crater lake Kerith (or Kerid), in Grímsnes of South Iceland.

 

38.) A view west from Kerith, as the sun breaks free from the clouds

Roadtrippin #iceland #latergram

 

39.) Iceland celebrated it’s independence during my stay. Here’s a parade down main street.

Happy 69th Birthday, #Iceland! Yesterday's parade.

 

40./41.) Popular Icelandic bands took to the stage to perform for people celebrating on the blustery Independence Day

Icelandic national day concerts in the park #iceland #latergram

Packed streets of downtown Reykjavik yesterday, with @tinyiceland.

 

42.) Hallgrímskirkja, bidding farewell

One more of Hallgrímskirkja from the street.

 

Do you have a trip to Iceland planned? What are you hoping to see there?

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