The Common Wanderer has been fairly silent lately. But You know how there’s a “quiet period” before a stock IPO or earnings report? Let’s say that’s what this was.
But now that I’m on my way, let the floodgates open.
I’m going to Iceland, land of trolls, sagas, and unpronounceable volcanoes. It’s one of those bucket list kind of things. I’ve been fascinated by the country for years. The windswept otherworldly landscape, the rugged yet cosmopolitan population, all of whom appear to either play in a band or write poetry or novels. Or both. (Iceland has the most authors and musicians, per capita, of any country in the world.) I’ve wanted to visit the place where the first domino fell in the global financial collapse–a spectacular implosion. It’s also the country that chose the first democratically elected female head of state, and the first openly gay head of state (who also happened to be a woman).
Most of all, I wanted to photograph the country. Every photo I’ve ever seen of Iceland is stunning. It would appear that you can’t take a bad picture there. Red-roofed churches pop against a barren backdrop with snow-covered peaks hanging on the horizon while wild-looking ponies enter and exit the frame at a trot. Bubbling blue water percolates in ubiquitous hot springs. And thousands of birds peer from cliff-side dwellings where they nest in striations according to specie, with razorbills at the bottom, puffins on the top, and guillemots and kittiwakes in between.
And so, I’m going. I don’t think I have nearly enough money saved up to do this trip (I knew it was an expensive country but I didn’t know quite how expensive it turns out to be). And there are always obligations back home. But if I keep looking for excuses not to do this, I never will.
I’ve got two weeks. I’ll be in Reykjavik for a couple of nights to get my bearings and then I’m thinking I may fly north to Akureyri, make my way to Husavic, where there’s a great whaling museum, and possibly take the ferry to Grimsey, an island that sits above the Arctic Circle. From there, my rough plan is to make my way back down to Reykjavik along the western flank of the country, with lots of wandering and a possible stop at the Arctic Fox center.
Here’s the weather for the next few days in Reykjavik:
But really I have no agenda. Just time to be photographing, to be outside, and to be alone. It’s been a long time since I went somewhere far away and unknown (to me) by myself. The last time I went on a long solitary adventure, I met Adrian, on the beach in Southern Thailand. Good things happen when you allow yourself to be alone. At the very least, I find, one reconnects with loneliness, an unpleasant but motivating emotion.
I’m hoping not to have much time for loneliness on this trip. And, after all, it’s only two weeks. But I am looking forward to anonymity and time to think. And time to just be myself, to remember who I am when I’m not looking at my own reflection in the view of those who know me.
I hope to find Internet connections and to post initial photos here during the trip. So stay tuned!
But first, I have to eat enough snacks and drink enough beverages to pay back my one-day pass to the Sky Miles lounge. I figured it was worth it, with an 11 hour layover. But I’m still a budget traveler at heart (and wallet) so I’ve got to get my money’s worth.