Approximately 3 years ago my friend Amanda was driving me to Seatac airport to fly to Missouri to be in the wedding of one of my childhood best friends.

We began to talk about going to the airport sometime together to set off on an adventure. But the question of the drive was, ‘where should we go?’

We threw ideas around. France? Nah…I was about to go there myself later that year. London? That’s cool but kind of cliche…let’s go somewhere unique. Germany? Well, Amanda had been there and wanted to experience something new.

We were at a loss until we pulled up to the departure zone at Seatac and saw the ‘Icelandair‘ sign above us. We looked at each other, and exclaimed: ‘Iceland!!’

That began our mental love affair with the idea of jetting to Iceland. We knew nothing about Iceland, and this was well before the craze took off in the states to head there. It was random, it was unknown, it was perfect.

Fast forward two years and sorrow came to visit us. A loved one was lost and Amanda and I were talking when she told me (paraphrased), ‘Life is short, Rach. We don’t know how long we might have and we should live. We should take advantage of the time we have and do all that we can. So let’s stop talking about Iceland and actually go, otherwise we’ll never do it and someday it might be too late.”

Immediately, though scared and excited, I answered, ‘Yes. Let’s do it.’

And we immediately began planning. We created an itinerary through Google docs (which I’m creating a template for and will [someday] upload to share!) and planned out 8 days in Iceland through Icelandic Farm Holidays.

We flew into the lonely Keflavik and drove through the volcanic and terrifying black rock and neon green mossy fields into the south to Nupar just outside of Selfoss where we stayed in a cabin overlooking the water. We spent a day in Reykjavik ate famous icelandic hot dogs, went to Akureyri and Husavìk before driving 6 hours back to fly home on the last day (the day I infamously lost my cell phone…). I thought it would be easy to drive around the island, that it wasn’t too big. Oh was I wrong…

During our trip we galloped through the countryside on horseback, went snorkeling in Silfra (We didn’t get any pictures, but they can be seen here ). We ate whale, got lost multiple times, baaahed at sheep on the road, saw beautiful waterfalls, went whale watching, went shopping, and marveled and the breathtaking landscapes. This country is so beautiful and I can’t wait to someday go back. One week is simply not enough!!

Advice: Don’t forget your cell phone, brings layers, don’t count on having either wifi or cell service/4G anywhere (anywhere!!!), don’t count on your Garmin GPS being accurate (have a map and make sure you know where you are going and how to get there before you find yourself in a place without wifi!!), N1 will become your best friend (and don’t buy coffee anywhere else! It’s seriously the best here and the most cost friendly way to go!! Europe seriously has espresso machines down). Buy food at grocery stores and make food if possible (stuff is expensive!), make sure you are careful when buying milk and you don’t buy flavored sour milk. You probably won’t need any cash at all since everyone and their goats take credit cards, and make sure you bring snacks because the towns far few and far inbetween! (‘Oh….when is the next town?’ ‘2 hours…’)

And I know it’s tempting to speed because the roads are narrow, long and unending and often you are the only one you can see for miles around and there aren’t any cops anywhere! But DON’T DO IT! They’ve got cameras installed around the island that’ll photograph you and you’ll get a speeding ticket 3 months later back home…(Yes i’m speaking from experience…)

Soundtrack: Matt Kearney, and One Republic’s Native album.




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