“Wouldn’t it be cool if went to Iceland for Spring break next semester?”
We (my suitemates and I) looked up airplane tickets back in October and they were ridiculously cheap. We booked them a month later and started a 150-day countdown in preparation.
We’ve been in Iceland for 8 days now and we’re going back to Baltimore tomorrow. The trip has been something else, though; there’s no way we could have expected it to turn out the way it did.
It truly has been a break in the most literal sense. Of all the places we’ve gone to, many of them have no Wifi (ahhhh, I know) and because of that, I think we’ve surprised ourselves with each other’s company. Whether it be learning about a completely new aspect of Austin’s life or Youngjae’s childhood, we’ve just been talking a lot and I feel closer to my suitemates than I ever have before.
It’s a nice feeling to be “off the grid” for a bit, where the stresses of school and everyday life can’t reach where I am. Even though I went into Spring break with the knowledge that I have quite a bit of homework to catch up on, I can’t really do any of it without Internet access. And because I don’t have any Internet access, I’ll just worry about that later.
I don’t know about you, but none of us have ever really planned a trip all by ourselves. Usually, our parents are the ones to figure out all the housing and food, so doing it entirely on our own was a huge learning experience (props to my suitemate, Sebastian, for basically doing all of it). And of course, because we’re college students, we tried to minimize costs as much as we could, buying food at discount stores and living in remote Airbnb’s. Food in Iceland is a lot more expensive than we thought, but we found this Costco-like store called Bonus and stocked up on foods we could cook every night.
We’re essentially doing a full road-trip around the coast of the country, starting in Reykjavik and moving every night to a different home by car. Along the way we’ve stopped at numerous man-made and natural attractions like Fridheimar, Grjotagja, and Gufufoss — all of which were unbelievable to see.
But I think my favorite of all the ones we’ve seen so far has to be the Northern Lights. It’s one thing to see a picture of it online, but seeing it in person was just breathtaking. We stood on a tall hill next to Hofn and saw a green dome shift across the entire sky. We were completely surrounded by the lights, and even though they were only visible for a couple of minutes, it was a moment of epic-ness I’ll never forget.
Unfortunately, we only saw the lights that one night because visibility shifts from day to day. Maybe that made the experience that much better.
I’m writing this in the car as Austin drives the last bit back to Reykjavik (thus completing our coastal circuit). He’s also singing along to a throwback 2000s pop playlist (right now it’s Umbrella by Rihanna) he found on Spotify as Sebastian and Youngjae sleep. I’m so glad we decided to take this trip even though we were initially skeptical we could pull it off. It’s been meaningful to me in so many ways, and I wouldn’t trade this break experience for anything else.