I’ve had itchy-feet syndrome for about as long as I can remember. Although I didn’t get too many opportunities to see much of the world while growing up in a single-parent household, we did make the most of day trips in the UK. This was the beginning of a desire to experience new activities, food, and surroundings.
After leaving home, I jumped on the corporate bandwagon and my career became my new experience. After a few years of working my way up within a software company, I quickly realized that there’s more to life than just work. Sometimes you just have to experience stress and burnout yourself before you realize it. However, in starting my travel blog (initially as a hobby), I discovered an entirely new experience: writing—I love it. Writing gives me such a buzz (almost as much as travelling), and so it made sense that I combined the two.
I’m now fortunate enough to have a remote writer job, which offers me ample opportunity to travel the world and still get the job done. I have my travel blog to thank for my new job by the way. The company I worked for could see what I could do, and now I write business blogs and guides for their website. And the whole remote-working thing? I asked for that. Remember that old saying: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Well, yeah, that worked in this case.
And what better way to continue this day-in-the-life article than by telling you all about my first day in Iceland (the first trip I took since starting my new job).
A New Road Trip Experience
5:00 a.m. – The alarm is thundering next to my head, telling me to wake up. It takes a few delirious moments before I remember “We’re off to Iceland today!” Iceland has been high on my bucket list for years, and I’m over the moon to finally be on my way there. So much so that even the 5:00 am wake-up call doesn’t seem so bad. This time, I’m travelling with my other half, as he’s managed to get a few days off work.
7:15 a.m. – We’ve checked in and have just 15 minutes to wait until our gate opens. In true travel blogger style, this time is spent rampaging my social media channels with quick updates to my followers on where we’re going and answering questions about our trip that have already started flooding in. And we haven’t even made it to Iceland yet!
8:30 a.m. – On board the flight, I’m feasting my eyes over the Iceland guidebook, ensuring our itinerary is tip-top for the next few days, and I’m also triple-checking that we have all of the rental car paperwork we need. Did I mention we’re road-tripping across Iceland? Once I’ve settled my nerves and decided we definitely have not forgotten anything, I can spend the next hour or so of the flight writing a new article. Time is precious to all travel bloggers, as there’s just so much to do!
11:30 a.m. – We’ve picked up the rental car without a hitch, and we’re now on our way to Thingvellir National Park. We can’t check into our Golden Circle cabin until 4:00 pm, so we decided that we should do some sightseeing on our way there. I’m pleased to say that I’m not the one driving—my other half is. As a Brit, I just cannot get my head around driving on the right-hand side of the road (with roundabouts being the worst part)!
12:15 p.m. – Iceland is beautiful! Although it’s mid-March, thick snow layers the landscape, lakes are frozen solid, and snow-capped mountains dominate the skyline. I’m pleased to say that the weather is fantastic with blue skies and sunshine. That said, it’s still freezing and definitely ski-jacket weather! Driving through Iceland is like no other experience I’ve had. We’ve by-passed Reykjavik and as soon as we were away from the capital city, we’ve said goodbye to civilisation. It has been miles since we’ve seen another car, house, or petrol station!
1:00 p.m. – We’ve arrived at the Thingvellir visitor center, but we’re having a really hard time locating the parking meter. Oh, wait, we’ve parked in the wrong place [promptly gets back in car and parks car elsewhere]! There we go, 500 ISK later, and we’re ready to leave the car and see what Thingvellir has to offer.
1:05 p.m. – Wow! There’s really no other word for it! We’ve sloped up the wooden walkway to the main viewpoint, and we’re now faced with some extraordinary views across the various lakes. We can also see a quaint little church and what looks to be several little houses next to it. Do people live here?!
1:45 p.m. – We’ve started following the wooden walkways and have stumbled across the perfect spot to get a few 360° photos and eat our small picnic. The sights are still incredible and I’m in complete awe of my surroundings. So unspoiled is the landscape and oh so beautiful. I can’t wait to see more!
3:00 p.m. – We’ve since found a couple of beautiful waterfalls that were hidden from view. We only realised they were there due to hearing them from afar. There are quite a few professional photographers around and I can understand why. From what I’ve seen so far, Iceland really is a photographer’s dream!
We decided to fill our water bottle up at the last waterfall. Icelanders are very proud of their water and given how clean and fresh it is, I don’t blame them. We’ve also walked to the little church, and I can confirm that the houses look to be homes. For anyone living here, they have the most fabulous views!
3:45 p.m. – Upon leaving the church, we decided it was time to head back to the car and continue on to our cabin. Little did we know that we would have to climb steep steps and a large hill to get back to the wooden walkway. This was no mean feat in the mud, sludge, and ice but we made it! One last look at those incredible views, and we’re back on the road.
4:20 p.m. – We’ve now found our cabin that we can call ‘home’ for the next few days. It’s a beautiful little wooden cabin nestled in the heart of the Golden Circle. The owner has clearly tried to make it feel cozy and homely, and it’s toasty warm inside. When we follow the wooden decking outside, we’re treated to countryside views and our very own private hot tub.
7:30 p.m. – Unpacked, fed, and watered, we think it’s now time to test the hot tub. Slipping into the steamy water, we’re instantly in love with this cabin, and we pat ourselves on the back for making such a good accommodation choice. We’re fully aware of the fact that we may not leave this tub for some time.
9:00 p.m. – Sitting in the hot tub (yes, still), we’re now faced with thousands of bright stars in the dark sky. We’ve been lucky with our first day and night in Iceland being so clear, and we’re expecting to see the Northern Lights. Will we be lucky enough? For now, we admire the twinkling night sky.
9:30 p.m. – As we look towards the north, there’s an odd glow from the clouds. My other half is convinced that they’re just clouds. However, my optimism is shining through. I think we’re looking at the northern lights—very faint, but northern lights all the same. We stare in that direction for a bit longer, our eyes slowly getting used to the dark, we now spot the greenish tinge and the dancing movement—clouds don’t move like that. We’re definitely looking at the Northern Lights! We’ve been so lucky to spot them, and on our first night!
10:30 p.m. – We’ve finally managed to coax ourselves out of the hot tub. Weary from our early morning but excited for what day two in Iceland will bring, we head to bed. I spend this time updating social media from my phone and responding to more reader questions. Whilst my other half soundly snores, I also take this quiet time to make some notes in my journal for articles I can write about when we get home. I also double check our plans for tomorrow and remember that it’ll be a trip to the south coast to see yet more stunning waterfalls and black sand beaches—I cannot wait!
Author: Wanderer of the World is a travel blog by Justine Cross, remote content writer. She’s had a goal to visit at least three new places abroad each year for the past few years and succeeded every time. Now, she’s on a mission to get more people out travelling, showing anything’s possible if you just try it out. You can follow her at: https://wandereroftheworld.co.uk/
— Uncharted101.com (@Uncharted1o1) April 27, 2017