Iceland Part One

After a quick stopover at home in Toronto to change our wardrobe and gather a few things, it was off to Iceland and Scandinavia. Iceland was our first destination where the weather on a daily basis wasn’t 35 degrees, rather it was averaging around 10-15. We boarded the plane at Toronto Pearson Airport around 7pm, sat in the second row and smiled with excitement. We had comfortable warm clothes on and were ready for a quiet and smooth flight, that was until two middle aged rowdy men in the row in front of us started to dance, sing and talk loudly. It became painfully obvious how belligerently drunk they were, at first they were entertaining, but when the lights are out (and you only have four hours to sleep before a 5am arrival) the last thing you want to experience is loud drunk talking. We tried to ignore them, listen to some music and fall asleep.

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About two hours into the flight it was dark outside and we were flying at maximum altitude, I opened my eyes, peeked out the window and felt my jaw slowly open and my eyes widen. I repeated to myself in disbelief “uhh no, it can’t be” then realized, HOLY SHIT I’m looking at the northern lights. I turned quickly and, thinking back, I could have been a little more gentle, woke Lorne up to witness this phenomenon. We were so excited, I grabbed my camera and started photographing, each shot looking a little different as the rays of green and  purple danced around in the sky. Each minute that passed was another ten photos, I turned around and showed Lorne, laughing with amazement and also because those men in front of us were just told that there is no more alcohol, they had cleared the on flight bar.

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We landed in Reykjavik at around 6am, picked up our bags and went to a trendy looking cafè in the airport called (joe and the juice). Lorne got an avocado sandwich and I got a banana smoothie, the portions were perfect but the price was absurd, we just spent around $40 Canadian dollars for this breakfast. We had pre booked a small camper van that would be our home for the next sixteen days but had to wait until 9am to be picked up from the airport. After travelling Asia for around ten months we got pretty used to sleeping anywhere and didn’t think twice about setting our bags on the floor and closing our eyes for an hour or so. I curled up into a little ball and had a surprisingly deep sleep.

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The company we rented the camper from sent over a driver at precisely 9am to pick us up from the airport and transferred us to the office where we would get our van. We moved our stuff into the van and after a quick rundown it was time to head to our first destination, the grocery store!  I made a list of things to buy and we were in and out within fifteen minutes. Side note, I think we ate more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on this trip than we have during our entire lives.

So the driving starts, for Lorne anyways; me, well I’m riding passenger side and navigating, choosing the music, editing photos and keeping my eyes peeled for photographic opportunities.

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I would much rather tell you guys our highlights then the every day breakdown of this road trip, so let me give you an idea of how a regular day went. We would make our bed in the back of our camper, push the seats forward, bags in the front, food underneath, heat on, socks on, teeth brushed and off to bed. To be totally honest, the ‘bed’ could have been a lot comfier, but it wasn’t and we dealt with what we had.

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We woke up everyday around 7 or 8am to one of two sights, a cloudy overcast sky with mountains in the distance or, a perfectly clear view of a waterfall with a rainbow.

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We worked together in folding up our bed to prepare for breakfast which typically consisted of soft boiled eggs, oatmeal, coffee and some fruit, but varied day to day. Having the experience of living in a van is humbling to say the least, it puts all, if not most of your needs and wants into perspective. It showed us how little we truly need to be comfortable and happy, living with minimal possessions brought more fulfilment to our lives than ever before.

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We didn’t shower everyday or make the bed everyday but we laughed for hours on end, sung our hearts out while driving and fell more in love with each other, all while living in this van.

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By about noon everyday we had already been on the road for a few hours and without a doubt pulled over to photograph either a waterfall, animals, the landscape or anything that struck our eye.

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I would do one of two things for lunch, make a sandwich while sitting in the car or we would make a stop and cook something simple, hearty and delicious. After our refuelling it was back on the road until we were ready to find a campsite and get some rest.

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Lorne and I have driven cars, bikes and scooters all over the world but when we got to Iceland it was different. There was no such thing as traffic, I mean yes, okay, in Reykjavik there were lots of cars but nothing compared to the traffic we have experienced in Manilla, India, Toronto or Vietnam. There were however several times that we were driving and saw a few cars come to a complete stop in the middle of the street due to hundreds of sheep crossing the road.

If you haven’t seen it yet, heres the full video of our Iceland adventure!

-Live Life With Passion

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