So here we were, in the middle of the Icelandic wilderness. I wouldn’t say that me and my travel companions had a very sheltered upbringing compared to many people, but Iceland definitely took any street-wise smugness we had away, and showed us how bratty and reliant on modern day conveniences we actually were. How did we survive? Using a variety of skills including technology, as well as those that technology killed in us. Having said that, the advice below is not for hardcore camping legends, but for simple travel enthusiasts, who may find themselves lost on a roadtrip with a dead smartphone battery or zero signal. If this level of vanilla sounds like you, read on:
- We graduated from the University of YouTube: How to open a beer bottle with a key? How to pump air into tires? How to pump gas into (insert car model)? All of these valuable life lessons we learned from Youtube, as calling dad resulting in him being annoyed we didn’t just YouTube it.
- We pushed ourselves to step out of our comfort zones: Wet rock climbing with my DSLR around my neck was panic attack inducing for me. That meant my friends just walked slower so that I could catch up in my own time. We were all outside our comfort zones at some point in our journey together, and allowing each other to work through our challenges at our own pace was a very important part of this trip.
- We allowed ourselves to stay in our own comfort zones: I am into outfit photography, and I NEEDED to indulge in milky lagoon waters. I got 100% support from my travel buddies. They were into long nature hikes, I hiked along. They were into using public pools, I swam with. They were into liquorice. I drew the line right there. No, no, no. The moral of the story is acceptance even if it means doing something you wouldn’t normally do.
- We got lost: In a place where Google Maps doesn’t work, getting lost is easy. It was refreshing to use visual memory and logic to find our way back. It seems that this part of the brain we stopped utilising since the rise of tech. Where’s the last place you went to sans Google Maps? Retracing steps, remembering familiar terrains and taking risks started feeling natural after a while. It’s shocking that this wasn’t the case originally, that’s how reliant on technology we have become.
- Rewind and re-plan: A whole array of events can jeopardise your original plans, for example getting lost, taking detours, finding out prices had changed etc. This means that being inflexible and set in your ways simply doesn’t work in Iceland, and you’ll be met with a rude awakening. Mother Nature is quite hardcore in the land of ice and fire. This meant that re-planning and rescheduling in a matter of seconds was a must. For example, we went to Myvatn Lagoon and local mineral baths instead of the Blue Lagoon (as it was completely booked up). It was the best reshuffle in the world: We enjoyed three spa sessions instead of one, had we insisted on the Blue Lagoon. We still spent less. By the way, you can find a post on the common misconceptions when it comes to lagoons in Iceland here.
Do you have any tips to add to these? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve learned from YouTube?