*Please click on the above image to be directed to the website where I found this photograph.
Why on Earth would you want to go to Iceland? That’s the question that I was asked two years ago when I was thinking about going on a school trip abroad to Iceland (the only reason I didn’t is because my school asked for $3,000 when I could have gotten round-trip airfare at the time for $600) and was again asked this past week because of my up-and-coming trip to Iceland a week from today. As I’ve previously mentioned here, it is questions like these that actually compel me to go to places like this. Really, who considers going to Iceland for Spring break? I personally know people who are going to Miami, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, which are understandably great travel destinations, but come on now, lets dare ourselves to stray from the line of normality for once. “Well, at least it’s green. Greenland is the one that is made of ice, right?” was the next statement I heard when explaining to someone that I was heading to Iceland next week. While this is relatively true in the Summer, right now it’s the middle of March and still Winter in Iceland, so therefore the mountains should still be covered in snow and the temperature should still be mid to low 30s during the day.
But it isn’t the temperature that drives me to go to Iceland right now. Sure, I wouldn’t mind kickin’ it in the 90 degree weather, drinking a margarita, and body surfing in the ocean, but think of all the people that will be doing the same exact thing at the same exact place in the same exact moment. Nope. Not-my-thing. Local Icelanders compare tourists to a flock of migrating birds. The peak tourist season in Iceland is from June to August when just about everyone that has ever considered going to Iceland suddenly shows up together, and suddenly leaves in the same manner, at the same time every year– just like migrating birds. For this reason, there are supposed to be little to no tourists in Iceland this time of year, which, again as I mention more in-depth here, sounds like the perfect time for a visit; not to mention the fact that airfare is relatively cheap this time of year and many hotels are running deals (I paid about $850 for round-trip airfare, 4 nights hotel, and a free Northern Lights tour).
But why now? I highly considered waiting a little while longer and saving a little bit more money before I traveled again, but when I mean I considered this I mean I really weighed all of the potential outcomes. The truth is I never traveled for a college Spring break, and this being my last one before my college career is over for good I figured I mines well go for it. I also thought about how I’d regret it if I didn’t go now and instead got myself stuck in a 9-5 job with minimal vacation time, therefore making it a heck of a lot harder to travel in the future. I’m actually really scared of getting caught-up in that routine.
Anyways. Here are a few intriguing facts that absolutely grab me and push me to go to Iceland even more:
- Iceland’s landmass is 39,769 square miles or, just under the size of the state of Kentucky.
- More than 3/4 of this landmass is uninhabited, and about 1/3 of it is covered by either glacial ice or lava fields.
- Iceland is located right on top of the mid-atlantic ridge where the Eurasian and North American continental plates diverge– therefore slowly pulling the country apart.
- Even though it has a relatively small landmass, Iceland has more than 130 active volcanos.
- It is the only place in the world where people have water coolers in their homes instead of water heaters.
- I’m told not to be surprised if I see random small, steaming cracks in the roadway.
- I’ve recently read on Yahoo News that Iceland is among the top 10 best kept travel destination secrets in the world.
Seriously though, the size of Kentucky and over 24 active volcanos? Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to go there?
Thus far, I have a decent amount planned to do while I’m there, but not too much. That kind of flexibility is what comes with traveling alone– I can make spur-of-the-moment decision at no cost to the happiness of anybody else. Sounds perfect doesn’t it?
Here’s what I have planned so far:
- Friday March 18th – Arrive 6:30 am and exploring the city for quite a few hours (hotel check-in isn’t until 2:00pm)
- Saturday March 19th – Heading out in a super jeep (basically a jeep with 48-inch wheels) and driving into the wilderness, over glaciers, across rivers, stopping to take photographs, and eventually up Mt. Eyjafjallajökull (the volcano that erupted last year and Icelandic for “Island-mountain glacier”) to get out and photograph the volcanic destruction areas.
- On the first clear night going back to the wilderness to hopefully spot the Northern Lights.
- Eventually going to check out the Blue Lagoon – a natural geothermal spa with waters up to 100F
- And above all taking hundreds of photographs.
- Arriving back in the states Wednesday March 23.
I was asked to have some photographs displayed in a water photograph exhibition at the Connecticut Museum of Modern Art, so I’ll particularly be spending a good amount of time either at one of the geothermal spas, the geysers, a glacial lagoon, a waterfall, or probably all of the above to capture pictures for this exhibit, which I’m very excited for.
One last note, I’ll be updating this blog every night with photos and stories from Iceland while I’m there, unless I catch a particularly clear night and venture out to photograph the Northern Lights all night long, so feel free to stick around and come along for an Icelandic armchair adventure!
So why on Earth would you want to go to Iceland? After everything I’ve stated above, the only thing I can think to say is, why not?
*Above facts borrowed from various informational websites including wikipedia.com and multiple travel Iceland google searches.