Iceland recap: Mossy greens all around

I am so stoked to share today’s photos from the first part of the Iceland trip! After thinking that my SD card was gone forever (suffering from insomnia and trying to productive when in a sleepy state always leads to misplaced things…), I was so excited to find it in the couch! Ended up taking my couch apart (it’s one of those modular ones that snap together with brackets so you can build it in different layouts) and finding the SD card hidden in one of the brackets. YAY FOR ICELAND PHOTOS!!

As mentioned in last week’s post, this Iceland trip was done in a campervan. After a few questions about what it was like to do a trip this way, I thought it would be a good idea to clear the air about the shower situation. Yes, we did take showers! haha At the end of every night, we would park the camper at a camping ground (there was at least one campsite in every city we stopped in) and there were shower and bathroom facilities there. The showers weren’t like 5-star hotel style, but having access to running hot water at the end of the night was amazing after being cooped up in a car all day. The cost of staying at these campsites varied anywhere from $10-15 per person, each night.

Seattle has the option of direct flights to Iceland (through Iceland Air), which is about a 7 hour flight. I ended up taking a connecting flight through JKF to meet up with some friends – and for Shake Shack – and then going to Iceland. Yes, this route was 14 hours of travel time, but also kinda nice to not be stuck in a plane for more than 6 hours at a time. I have a tough time sitting still on planes and usually get restless around hour number 5, so breaking it up into two parts worked better for me (and was a bit more wallet-friendly).

Iceland scenery
Iceland scenery

Day 1 of the trip was pretty low key. We all met at the Reykjavik airport in the morning and then picked up the campervan. From there, our plan was to make it to Vik, the most southern city of the island, before the end of the night. What was supposed to only be about a two and a half hour drive ended up being closer to 5 hours, thanks to super strong winds (apparently they can get up to 120km/h in this area!) and many photo taking opportunities along the way.

Our first touristy pit stop was Seljalandsfoss. It’s one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. While we were at this site, we were being poured on by sideways rain, but it was still a gorgeous sight! After a quick 2 minute walk up some stairs, we walked behind the waterfalls for this view:

Seljalandfoss Iceland
We also drove by Skógafoss, another popular waterfall. We quickly started learning all the terminology for waterfalls. Anything with a “-foss” in it = waterfall… or so we thought. More on this later. haha ;)

After some pretty interesting terrain and bumpy roads while in the pouring rain, we made it to Vik! It was pretty dark out when we arrived and I must’ve stepped in every puddle possible running between the campervan and the campsite facilities because my socks were soaked that night. We had to quickly figure out how to work the heater in the van, too, because these crazy winds and low temperatures weren’t all that friendly to our not-so-insulated camper.

Iceland Vik campsite

All of the evening’s rainy shenanigans were worth it for the morning view! The sun was shining, everything was green, and it felt like we woke up straight out of a scene from the Sound of Music!

More of this trip recap to come in the next couple weeks!

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Iceland trip recap: Gearing up to hit the road

Before the rest of the Iceland trip gets recapped, I wanted to share a bit of the background of how this trip came to be and how we all prepped for it. Every year, two of my closest friends from college and I will meet up somewhere for a week-long trip. This is something we’ve done together for years and are really comfortable traveling with one another (this is pretty key since vacation buddies are usually people that you’re going to be around for almost 24/7 while home away from home). On our most recent adventure, our comfort levels were tested because we really couldn’t get away from each other because this is where we spent our time together for the whole trip…

iceland-campervan

Yep! We did an Iceland campervan trip!

As we talked through our options for our goals to drive around the perimeter of the island, a campervan made the most sense. None of us are particularly outdoorsy, so pitching a tent at the end of every night didn’t seem like the best route for us. We also figured taking a bus from city to city and then trying to scramble to find accommodations (especially in the smaller towns) would put too many time pressures on our day-to-day activities, so campervan it was!

In terms of packing, we all agreed early on to not bring any suitcases. We were each limited to one backpack (this one was a popular bag among the group) that had to fit a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries, including a sleeping bag, for the trip.

For me, visiting Iceland has been on my bucket list as a trip focused around photographing the out-of-this-world landscape that is so unfamiliar to someone who grew up in North America. My priorities for packing had camera gear at the top of the list, toiletries to survive and not smell gross while stuck in a van for a week, and cute outfits at the very bottom. I pretty much dressed in my best “hobo chic” outfits, beanie and combat boots every day, and rotated through all my leggings and dress pant yoga pants.

I’m super excited to start sharing photos from the trip as I edit them over the next few weeks. To put this trip into perspective, my friends and I collectively had 17 cameras in the van with us. 10 of them were disposables cameras (mainly purchased out of nostalgia, but now I’m fascinated to see what we captured), 3 DSLRs, and 4 phones.

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Unplugging in Iceland 

iceland glacier lagoons 
If you’re into chilly scenery and beanie weather, follow along on Instagram this week! A few friends and I rented a camper van and are driving around the perimeter of Iceland, exploring some of the most breathtaking spots! (I’m also being a bit of a brat and trying to get up to no good whenever there’s opportunity for it… Like pretending to steal the boat above haha)

It’ll be a bit quiet here on the blog until I’m back in Seattle, but I’ll be posting on IG as often as this spotty 2G network will allow for it!

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