Why on Earth Would I Want to go to Iceland?

 

Reykjavik, Iceland 

*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.

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14 thoughts on “Why on Earth Would I Want to go to Iceland?”

  1. Okay, now I really want to go to Iceland!

    And wow, you’ve been invited to have photos displayed at the Connecticut Museum of Modern Art? Before you’ve even taken them? That’s amazing! Congratulations!

    I’m seriously excited for your posts about this trip. I have a minor in Geology and studied landscapes throughout much of my college career, and I think you’re going to see some pretty phenomenal things. 🙂

    1. I know, right? I’m so excited to go!

      Thanks a lot! I actually got the museum opportunity via my photography class that I’m currently taking, but it’s an exhibit on photography that has anything to do with water. At the end of March I’ll be going to the museum during the expo for a semi-formal event– dress nice, free wine, etc, — to hang out all night while an expected number of 3,000 people show up to view my (as well as other’s) photography. It’s kind of a lot of pressure, and I almost want to go buy a professional DSLR right now in preparation for this, but I really don’t have the cash to make the investment yet. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll do alright with my trusty Powershot SX20IS 😛

      I’m considering the possibility of grad school for a natural sciences degree, possibly geology, so I am also quite excited for the geological landscapes in Iceland. I’ve heard that when up on the volcano the inner-Earth growls and rumbles from below you as the mouth of the volcano begins to glow as the sun goes down. It sounds quite incredible so I’ll certainly be posting continuously!

  2. Seriously, I am SO jealous! I’ve been wanting to go to Iceland for at least 20 years. Once my mum teased me and said.. “your Dad has got a job in the country where you said you most want to visit”. She meant “The States”… um.. woops! Anyway.. Hope you have THE most fantastic time! As a geo – it would be heaven to see all the volcanoes up close and personal (it’s what got me into geology in the first place). Have fun, be cool (no pun intended) and please take some awesome pics for us mere mortals who can’t get to that part of the world…. (for now…)

    1. Hi Lu,
      Wow if your mother new how badly you wanted to go then I bet she really got you with that one! Volcanos have always fascinated me so I’m really looking forward to that part of the trip– but so do glaciers, so Iceland seems perfect. I plan on taking hundreds of photos and will certainly be posting some of them on this blog each day while I’m there, it sounds like quite the incredible place. Thanks so much for your kind words and thanks for stopping by my blog.
      I hope you make it to Iceland sometime soon!
      – Nate

  3. Hello Nate:
    I went to Iceland two years ago and it was one of my top places I’ve ever visited. It is amazing. So incredibly beautiful. Glaciers everywhere and not many people. Only problem is that it is very expensive but in my opinion worth it. We went southwest to the glaciers there. I truly loved it. So go for it! If you want more details on what i saw, drop me a line since I won’t have a chance to write on my blog about iceland for awhile.

    1. Really? I’ve heard mixed things about expenses; both that it is really cheap and that it’s quite expensive. I’ll only be there for 5 days so I doubt I’ll end up blowing that much money. From all of the photos I’ve seen it looks like quite an incredible place. This week is going to go by so slow for me haha. Thanks for your comment, I’ll shoot you an email.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog regularly -great job! I want to go to the photography show. Let me know when it is.

    1. Thanks! I know it’s at the end of the month. The 29th? Maybe, (I have the exact date written down at home). I’ll get more information on it tomorrow and let you know for sure.

  5. Wow, you’re still in college and you’re doing all these amazing adventures? Color me super-jealous! 🙂
    And I’m jealous of you going to Iceland as well. I’ve seen some amazing work from people who’ve been there and I’m sure you’ll be gracing your blog with some great writing and photography when you’re back. Really looking forward to seeing what you come back with! And congrats on the exhibit – that sounds like such a cool opportunity.
    Also, wow, that sounds like a really good deal that you got.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Preeti,

      I can’t stop traveling ever since I went to Rome my freshman year of college. Since then it is really all I spend my money on and what makes me happy. I’ve seen some spectacular photographs as well, so all I’m really planning on doing is taking hundreds of photos of everything! Thanks for the congrats on the exhibit, it is definitely going to be something different than what I’m used to, but I’m hoping to meet some knowlegable people. Either way it seems like an interesting opportunity to get some work shown to some people who otherwise would not have seen it.

      I’ll be posting not only when I return from Iceland, but also while I’m there, so feel free to keep dropping by!

  6. My family is planning a trip here and the statement “Seriously though, the size of Kentucky and over 24 active volcanos? Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to go there? ” should really be Seriously though, the size of Kentucky and over 24 active volcanos? Why would any sane rational person ever think of even going” I was really hoping this blog would give me something too look forward too it has just made the trip sound worse. Please don’t tell me this statement is true “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.”

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