I enjoyed myself pretty much in every country and region I’ve been to so far.
I loved and think fondly of quite a few.
Not many, however, leave me under their spell for years to come,
welcoming me back every so often.
Iceland’s one of them.
On Friday, the first day of this trip, I met a Polish girl who lives in a town outside of Reykjavik. Upon hearing that it wasn’t my first time in Iceland, she asked with surprise: “And you haven’t thought of moving here?”. A couple of hours later I met a Polish couple from the capital that asked the same exact question, in the same exact manner. And how could they not be surprised? After all, this little island is so much more than meets the eye.
Ever since I came to Iceland for the first time in 2011, I’ve felt something at work here. Something magical, ephemeral, otherworldly. Being here makes me feel at peace, yet rejuvenated and invigorated at the same time.
Maybe it’s the fresh, crisp air; maybe the openness and expanse of the space, but I sense the call of adventure behind every twist and turn of the road – and I happily oblige. So I put out that thumb, put up that tent, leave behind that fear and worry of the unknown. In Iceland, more than just about any other place I know, I embrace uncertainty and the long, meandering road ahead.
And the island delivers.
Be it the hundreds of types of moss creating a colourful mosaic on the side of a slope; one of the numerous waterfalls tucked away safely in the nook of a fjord; the black beach, the white glacier, the floating ice or the majestic drop of a rock covering the seaside from east to west and from south to the north; the quaint little houses or the wild packs of horses – I’m smitten and in awe.
I appreciate its people: their openness, frankness, down-to-earthness and no-nonsense attitude.
I admire how persistent, resilient and entrepreneurial their ancestors had to be in order to survive in those harsh, isolated lands.
I love how proud modern Icelanders are of their heritage, history and ancestry.
I adore how quick they are to invite you over and share their lives.
I’m spellbound with its vastness, roughness and primal crudeness.
I’m drawn towards its shores, its peaks, its falls, its fjords and its waters.
I’m at a loss for words how a place can be so severe and peacefully serene at the same time.
Now, at the beginning of this new year, I’m like a little kid in winter wonderland: sliding on icy roads, jumping on slippery rocks, barely managing not to drop flat on my back and roll around in the pristine and untouched layers of snow…