I used to think this was hyperbole, just a dramatic way to describe an island country that had some snow and also some cool moss.
People. Iceland IS another planet. It’s INCREDIBLE there. Like, it is truly an astounding place, an actual planet of Ice and Fire (and incidentally where I saw the Game of Thrones finale. Ugh. Still not ready to talk about it).
I spent two weeks traveling the ring road with my husband Rob and my friend Emily. It was a vacation for fun, not for work, but I mean, if you put a photographer in Iceland the outcome is pretty much inevitable.
Some honesty: for a long time my knowledge of Iceland was pretty limited ::hides face:: I knew there was cool moss, that airlines flew their for super cheap (rip WOW airlines), that it was pretty expensive, and there was something very remote and desolate feeling about Iceland. It felt alien and strange and not being a super-fan of the cold I assumed I wouldn’t really like it.
Then I went to the desert for the first time. I know, I know, this has taken a sudden left turn, but come with me on this journey. I too, assumed I would hate the desert. A desert that could also be described as desolate and strange. And I fell in love with that desert.
And here’s the thing, for me there is a strange similarity between the desert and Iceland. Both have a rugged, odd, otherworldly beauty that at times smacks you in the face and at times you have to look for. My love of the desert made me see that, perhaps I would love Iceland. For the reasons I initially though it wasn’t my cup of tea.
Over the years this suspicion grew to certainty and in the spring I finally found my way en route to the Land of Ice and Fire for an epic Iceland road trip.
And I liked it immediately. Here’s the thing; I travel a lot, I’m in planes a lot. I one-hundred percent recognize that this is me coming from a place of privilege and it is also a statement of fact. I fly a lot. And when I fly, typically window screens are down, people are buried in their phones or asleep, and they typically don’t give a shit about what’s going on outside the plane (as opposed to me who, if I’m in a window seat, has her nose shoved against the glass).
This was NOT the way it was with Iceland. Descending into Iceland was *so cool* because everyone had their windows upon and everyone was staring out their window looking at this new place they were about to explore and the folks in the center isles of the plane were straining back and forth, their heads swiveling from right to left trying to catch the best glimpse of the place we were about to land in.
There was this magic and energy to that plane. It felt like people knew we were going somewhere special.
And oh man, were we indeed.
They way my friend group typically adventures is we hop in the car and we just…go. We go where looks cool, we stop when we want to stop, we explore paths that look cool. This Iceland road trip was no different.
I’m going to ruin the ending for you; I totally fell in love with this place. There’s so much I didn’t see. And I want to see it all 🙂
— Ryan + Styhiln