STALKING THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
I have a confession.
I’m an Icelandic Stalker.
I stalk Iceland photos and Instagrammers and YouTubers.
I obsess over things to do with anything remotely related to the Land of Fire and Ice.
I read and follow every Icelandic blogger or travel blogger who’s had anything to do with Iceland.
I blame my Nordic bloodline.
And finally, I’m planning a trip to Iceland in 2017.
SOLO TRAVEL TO ICELAND…AS A MARRIED WOMAN
You may notice in that last sentence I said I’m planning a trip to Iceland, not we.
I can hear two distinct crowds shouting in the background.
The first, the chorus of pro-solo female travellers fist pumping into the air in full support of venturing off my own, full of wisdom and advice about empowerment.
There’s another, smaller chorus in the background, shaking their heads as if to say, how I could possibly travel to the other side of the world without my husband?
Well, quite simply, we would both love to go, but coming from New Zealand, it’s a heck of a long way. Right now, it’s not practical for us both to travel 17,000 km across the world. John is also in full-time employment in NZ so it’s not easy for him to take time off for travel.
Financially, it makes better sense for me to go by myself. Because I’m a full-time travel blogger and freelancer, travel is my business and therefore a business expense.
But also, as well as being my business, travel, in my opinion, is an important personal development journey. I believe solo travel to Iceland (which coincides with my Ireland trip for TBEX) will be a huge learning experience, challenging at the least and a time of wonderful personal growth.
And, well…it’s ICELAND!
IS ICELAND STILL COOL?
Tourism to Iceland has exploded. Visitor numbers in the first two months of 2017 were up 59% compared to the same time last year.
We don’t need to have seen it for ourselves to know that Iceland is filled with spectacular natural beauty. As a travel photographer, I couldn’t ask for much more.
It seems both safe and dangerous at the same time. Safe from world political disagreements, dangerously attractive with its rumbling underbelly, rugged landscape and geothermal activity.
We’ve always been a little off-the-beaten track with our travel plans, and while Iceland’s tourism is going through a huge phase of growth, it still has that raw, mysterious and mystical feel that gets right into my core.
Tourism may change the face of parts of Iceland, but it will never change its root beauty and power.
THE ICELAND BUCKET LIST
DIVE OR SNORKEL THE SILFRA
Diving the famous Silfra fissure has been sitting firmly at the top of not only my Iceland bucket list, but number one of my whole entire life bucket list. A scuba diver’s dream? Well, definitely mine.
Time to do some drysuit training cos that water is IIICCCCYYY.
DRIVE THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Few surprises here; it’s a classic Iceland must-do. With the Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur geyser and Þingvellir National Park all jaw-droppingly beautiful sites to visit, it would be mad to exclude this from the Iceland bucket list.
As a scuba diver, I’m passionate about all marine life, from tiny little nudibranchs to the big whales and sharks of the the globe’s harshest ocean conditions.
There’s something truly magnificent and inspiring about the idea of watching these beautiful giants of the sea breaching that gives me tingles.
THE BLUE LAGOON
I’ve seen a lot of articles asking whether The Blue Lagoon is worth the price, especially given how many tourists are heading there these days.
At the end of the day, it’s still a stunning natural hotpot of geothermal activity and quite frankly, I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about it. I like the look of it – and that’s all that matters. I have heard there are some other great similar less crowded hot pools, so I’ll be keeping that in mind.
Does this need an explanation?
The time of year I’ll be visiting, October, is apparently great Northern Lights hunting time as the nights are getting darker and the activity tends to be strong.
The Snæfellsjökull glacier, along with the peninsular’s spectacular waterfalls and black pebble beaches, send tingles down my spine.
With luscious platinum blonde manes and rockin’ bangs, these horses have serious style. How could I resist?
HOW TO THROW IT ALL TOGETHER
I’m still in the early phases of planning and I’m yet to work out my itinerary. As I’ll be visiting in October, the roads potentially will be getting quite icy.
There are some exciting multi day tours in Iceland I’m eyeing up, which will allow me to tick off some of the above.
So there we have it – the beginnings of my solo travel to Iceland. I’m also very excited for my third trip to Bergen, Norway – the birthplace of my grandfather – but that’s a special story to be told another time.
DISCUSS: Does Iceland excite you like it does me?