March 2011 & March 2017
My late 20’s were some of the best years of my life because of the non-stop travel and adventure I experienced by myself. I was single, working full time and had plenty of expendable income. For a solid 5 years on Christmas Eve every year I would look at a world map for a country I’d never been to before and book a trip there for the following Spring. Christmas Eve 2010 was no different. I was working at the time and it was very slow so I was perusing a map of the world and saw Iceland. At the time Iceland wasn’t really a destination hot spot and I didn’t have any friends who had been there, so I knew literally nothing about the country – except that it was an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and I hadn’t been there before. I called over to one of my tellers working with me at the time and asked if she knew anything about Iceland. Her response of “Oh my gosh, yes! I want to go there so bad – I’ve heard it’s amazing!” which at the time was enough affirmation that it would be on OK place to visit – so I booked the trip on the spot. $550 later I had a nonstop flight booked from Seattle to Reykjavik for March 2011. I went home and started googling “Stuff to do in Iceland” and the top things which popped up included: Visit the Blue Lagoon, ride an Icelandic horse, look at the Northern Lights, eat Puffin and visit Þingvellir National Park. An hour later I had made arrangements to do four of these five things (as a lifelong vegetarian, I’ll let you guess the one I made no plans to partake in.)
A few days later as I was letting my boss know of my travel plans and asking her for the time off work she started asking me about my trip and who I’d be traveling with, where I’d be going, etc. Since I had traveled through Europe previously by myself when I told her I’d be doing the trip solo – I wasn’t quite prepared for her reaction of “WHAT!? You can’t go by yourself! What if you get murdered!?” No joke. Now even though I truly didn’t know anything about Iceland, except for the few things I’d just made arrangements for, I did know that I wasn’t planning to go there to get murdered. This is funny to me for two reasons: #1: Like many Americans, my boss at the time had never traveled internationally so the idea of visiting foreign lands was foreign to her, and therefor; scary. #2: Also like many Americans, the idea of traveling solo was also foreign to her, and therefor: VERY scary. The combination of the two of these was something she just wasn’t quite ready to be confronted with yet. I bring this up not to put her down – she is one of my very dear friends to this day – but to show the naivety a lot of the American public faces since we as people of this country tend to not take vacations, and when we do – do go to familiar places: Disneyworld, California, New York, Chicago, etc.. instead of thinking larger and outside of our comfort zone.
Although this was 2011 pricing, this entire trip cost me around $1000 which included:
Nonstop flight from Seattle to Reykjavik
6 night stay in a shared room hotel in downtown Reykjavik
Snorkeling tour of the lake in Þingvellir National Park- swimming over the tectonic plates separating North America & Europe
A 2 hour horseback riding tour through the forest in the outskirts of Reykjavik
A 4 hour bus tour of the Southwest side of the Island to view the Northern Lights
Entrance fee & one hour massage (in the geothermal water) at the Blue Lagoon
This was an amazing trip for so many reasons but primarily – the city of Reykjavik is gorgeous and full of amazing people and adventures to be had. Although I genuinely enjoyed exploring this island by myself in 2011, I am looking forward to getting back here with my family in tow someday.