Viku tvö is Icelandic for “week two,” which is just one of the many phrases I encountered this past weekend when I had the opportunity to visit this magnificent country. Iceland is a place filled with natural treasures, kind people, and a sun that never truly sets; it was a place unlike anywhere I had ever seen before. Prior to signing up for my study abroad program, I would have never dreamed of setting foot in places like this. It’s too easy to get lost in your own life, your own town, and to forget how much else is out there in the world.
Throughout the three nights and four days I stayed in Iceland, I couldn’t help but look at the people who lived there and think “do they even realize what they have here? How different it all is?” This was especially true when it came to the children. My mind was boggled over the concept that for most of these young kids this breathtaking environment was all they’ve yet to know. Is it even possible for them to fathom what other places of the world look like in comparison to this haven of green farmlands and bluer than crystal waters? The trip really aided in putting some things in perspective for me – there is so much more to see, so many more people and cultures I have yet to experience. It renewed a desire in me to continue to travel and experience all that the world has to offer.
Before embarking on this journey, me and my six other travel companions did a lot of research and read a lot of blogs on the best methods and routes to travel Iceland within our allotted time frame. We settled on renting a minivan and looping the Golden Circle to see as many landmarks as we could. However, as to be expected, not everything goes according to plan with us. Once arriving at the rental car office we were told that they had no reservation for a car under our name. This time the mistake was not on our part (thankfully), and there seemed to be a systematical error that had caused the reservation to not go through. And given that everything truly happens for a reason, this ended up being yet another blessing in disguise.
For their mistake, we were given two small cars for the same price as our original one minivan, two complimentary unlimited wifi boxes so we could navigate our trip, and a custom made map of some of the most amazing, “non-tourist” sites to see in Iceland. The young man assisting us throughout the whole process had a side hobby of photography, and after we told him our plan to loop the Golden Circle he informed us that was a “complete tourist trap” and proceeded to print us out two copies of his self-made, four page driving guide of the country, complete with numbered photographs of each stop (that he had taken himself) that correlated with the map of both sides of the peninsula. The sights his guide led us to see were breathtaking to say the least, and all of us agree that he made our trip far more memorable with his unique route as opposed to what it would of been if we had just followed the road map. To get an idea of just a few of the sights we saw, I have attached some pictures below, but remember, pictures never truly do it justice.
One of the core pillars of the program I am currently in is sustainability. We are learning methods of sustainable business practices on a large scale and also small steps that we can make in our daily lives to aid in helping keep this planet beautiful for many years to come. In Iceland we drove countless hours through the countryside, foothills, and the coast – and I was speechless by all of it. The natural beauty this country has to offer is remarkable, and it’s somewhere I would be extremely lucky to ever visit again. When directly faced with the wonders of nature in this context, it’s easy to agree that it should be protected at all costs. I was more inspired than ever to do my part in helping the environment because I want the landmarks of Iceland to still be around for me to show my kids, and theirs after that.