Weekly Update #11: Dear Iceland

Dear Iceland,

When I turn on my laptop an auto-generated, too-good-to-be-real picture pops up. That’s you. I didn’t realize you were real.

A big part of our adventure is exploring; ourselves, others and the places we visit. We are trying our hardest to learn something new, change a particular perspective and maybe even find an edge that we didn’t realize was there. After a week of adventuring your lands, I feel like I now know enough to come again and really explore. But that’s just you. You have more to see than time allows.

Our visit was memorable. Your “Geysir” is the world’s namesake for the natural phenomena; a fascinating mix of swirls and bubbles that blow off steam just often enough to keep your guests wondering if it will happen again. It does and each time is both fascinating and memorable.

Your glaciers – the rock-solid ice millions of years in the making – are dying a slow death, year-round. It’s one thing to read about a receding glacier, it’s another to experience it first-hand. There is a certain sadness to the melting that is hard to describe. I’m certainly not making a political point, but a human one. We saw the receding glacier in Zermatt and I felt nothing. We walked your glacier as foreigners observing the water’s forced downward march directed by gravity into oblivion. A little bit today. A little bit more tomorrow. Yes, it was sad.

Your waterfalls are out of central casting, 47 of them along the southern coast and thousands all over the island. You can’t help but be in awe of nature when witnessing the crashing fury of millions of gallons of water to the misty bottoms.

Your landscape is so varied. Rolling green hills give way to moonscapes which give way to lush plains which give way to stunning mountains and mesas. There were only a few fences, not many animals, and no people. There were, however, lots of smiles.

I’m not sure I fully understood your Icelanders. There are only 350,000 of them and while everyone was so polite and accommodating, I didn’t feel like I got to know them as individuals (which was my fault). What I did notice is their work ethic, resiliency and distinct weirdness. Think outdoorsy Austin, Texas guy meets Swedish punk EDM gal. You do you. We loved observing. Your language is also so difficult to speak. You use so many letters, some of which I don’t recognize. So thank you for speaking perfect English. I promise we will spend more time together next time… and there will definitely be a next time. After all, the northern lights aren’t visible until September.

I should also congratulate you on your tourism. I’m told that it has really taken off since 2010. There is a positive vibe in Reykjavik which boasts an exciting art, food and music scene. Similar to Paros, Greece, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that a decade from now the entire experience would be different, commercialized and crowded. With the amount of money you charge for everything – this is the land of an $8 Coke – I’m guessing you could finance the growth of your infrastructure to support visitors. Be careful is my only advice. You have something special. Don’t ruin it.

Bless (Icelandic for “goodbye”),


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