A Journey Through Iceland

On the road from Vik to Jökulsárlón I decided to do something I had never done before: travel alone. I mean, I had traveled alone when I went to New Zealand and Australia for 9 weeks. But I had booked tours for both countries, so I met and traveled with people, so I was never truly in solitude. This time I decided to take 10 days away from everyone and everything and explore Iceland. Just me, a rental car and all my camera equipment. I had to learn to drive manual because renting a manual car was cheaper, but despite a few lessons and practices I still was by no means an expert.  I was scared. In retrospect, I don't know what of. Maybe that something would go terribly wrong and I would be alone with no one to help me. Maybe I was just scared of being alone, engulfed in my own thoughts. I wondered if I could handle the silence and absence of human presence.  I began to talk to myself out loud. I learned to keep myself company. I'm not sure if it's normal or crazy but I would laugh at myself and my own silly comments. No disagreements on where to go or what to do. Just me. So I decided today that I'm going to write a blog about my 10 days alone. Why not? Maybe it will entertain you, maybe it will even inspire you to do it yourself. Maybe it will bore you. But I'll be posting pictures so hopefully that will make up for any skills I lack in the writing department. So stay tuned!

On the road from Vik to Jökulsárlón

I decided to do something I had never done before: travel alone. I mean, I had traveled alone when I went to New Zealand and Australia for 9 weeks. But I had booked tours for both countries, so I met and traveled with people, so I was never truly in solitude.

This time I decided to take 10 days away from everyone and everything and explore Iceland. Just me, a rental car and all my camera equipment. I had to learn to drive manual because renting a manual car was cheaper, but despite a few lessons and practices I still was by no means an expert.  I was scared.

In retrospect, I don't know what of. Maybe that something would go terribly wrong and I would be alone with no one to help me. Maybe I was just scared of being alone, engulfed in my own thoughts. I wondered if I could handle the silence and absence of human presence. 

I began to talk to myself out loud. I learned to keep myself company. I'm not sure if it's normal or crazy but I would laugh at myself and my own silly comments. No disagreements on where to go or what to do. Just me.

So I decided today that I'm going to write a blog about my 10 days alone. Why not? Maybe it will entertain you, maybe it will even inspire you to do it yourself. Maybe it will bore you. But I'll be posting pictures so hopefully that will make up for any skills I lack in the writing department. So stay tuned!

Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes Pennisula Day 1 - June 20th I arrived in Keflavik at midnight, got the keys to my rental car and took off to a guesthouse I had booked for the night. I woke up around 7am to get ready and head into Reykjavik. When I got to Reykjavik I bought groceries for trip (mostly junk like beef jerky and chips) and explored the city. It's quite a lovely place, with lots of shops and tourists. But I did not come to Iceland for the city. I left at 8pm to drive up to Kirkjufell in the Snaefellsnes Pennisula, which took about 2.5 hours. I was in awe of the natural beauty of the country as I drove north of the city. I found it difficult to concentrate on driving when there was so much to see. The mountains are what drew me in more than anything. Growing up in Toronto, I had never come across anything more than a slight hill (except for when I travelled away of course). When I arrived at Kirkjufell, I parked my car and began scouting for a good location to shoot. Despite my innocent intentions to find a pleasing angle, I must have entered the territory of an Arctic Turn's nest. So the mother attacked, swooning down to give me a nice little thump on the head. I had to run away from her as she kept trying to attack me and I tripped, pretty much falling on my face. Funny in hindsight, but I was actually pretty scared in the moment. Small birds but when they come in at such high speeds it's a little frightening. After my near-death experience, I found a safe bird-free spot and took the photo above at sunset with a 2 and 4 stop ND filter combined in order to get the blur in the water. I slept in my car overnight. Note to self: if you're planning to sleep in a rental car, don't rent a mini.

Kirkjufell, Snaefellsnes Pennisula

Day 1 - June 20th

I arrived in Keflavik at midnight, got the keys to my rental car and took off to a guesthouse I had booked for the night. I woke up around 7am to get ready and head into Reykjavik. When I got to Reykjavik I bought groceries for trip (mostly junk like beef jerky and chips) and explored the city. It's quite a lovely place, with lots of shops and tourists. But I did not come to Iceland for the city. I left at 8pm to drive up to Kirkjufell in the Snaefellsnes Pennisula, which took about 2.5 hours. I was in awe of the natural beauty of the country as I drove north of the city. I found it difficult to concentrate on driving when there was so much to see. The mountains are what drew me in more than anything. Growing up in Toronto, I had never come across anything more than a slight hill (except for when I travelled away of course). When I arrived at Kirkjufell, I parked my car and began scouting for a good location to shoot. Despite my innocent intentions to find a pleasing angle, I must have entered the territory of an Arctic Turn's nest. So the mother attacked, swooning down to give me a nice little thump on the head. I had to run away from her as she kept trying to attack me and I tripped, pretty much falling on my face. Funny in hindsight, but I was actually pretty scared in the moment. Small birds but when they come in at such high speeds it's a little frightening. After my near-death experience, I found a safe bird-free spot and took the photo above at sunset with a 2 and 4 stop ND filter combined in order to get the blur in the water. I slept in my car overnight. Note to self: if you're planning to sleep in a rental car, don't rent a mini.

  Day 2 - June 21st After a surprisingly long, but very uncomfortable sleep in my car, I got up and took a few more shots of Kirkjufell from different angles. It was already 11am so the lighting wasn't exactly optimal. I made my way back to the city. On the way back, I noticed these beautiful horses standing magnificently on a hill next to the road. I pulled over and as soon as I got out of the car they came walking towards me. It was almost as if they wanted to pose for me. We said our goodbyes and I drove back to Reykjavik. I found a hostel to stay in Keflavik so I made my way over there to get my room before heading off to the Blue Lagoon. 

 

Day 2 - June 21st

After a surprisingly long, but very uncomfortable sleep in my car, I got up and took a few more shots of Kirkjufell from different angles. It was already 11am so the lighting wasn't exactly optimal. I made my way back to the city. On the way back, I noticed these beautiful horses standing magnificently on a hill next to the road. I pulled over and as soon as I got out of the car they came walking towards me. It was almost as if they wanted to pose for me. We said our goodbyes and I drove back to Reykjavik. I found a hostel to stay in Keflavik so I made my way over there to get my room before heading off to the Blue Lagoon. 

  The Blue Lagoon is one of the most iconic places in Iceland to visit. It is a man-made lagoon, formed by the run-off from a geothermal power plant. The water is rich in silica and sulfur, and known to have healing powers for those with psoriasis. I tried the mud mask and noticed quite an improvement in my skin. After bathing in the lagoon for a few hours, I went back to my car in the parking lot and fell asleep in the back seat. I woke up an hour before the sunrise and took photos around the lagoon.

 

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most iconic places in Iceland to visit. It is a man-made lagoon, formed by the run-off from a geothermal power plant. The water is rich in silica and sulfur, and known to have healing powers for those with psoriasis. I tried the mud mask and noticed quite an improvement in my skin. After bathing in the lagoon for a few hours, I went back to my car in the parking lot and fell asleep in the back seat. I woke up an hour before the sunrise and took photos around the lagoon.