Anyone else craving adventure and ready to travel?
I have been stuck within my state borders because of the pandemic, so naturally, I am itching to travel.
There has been one thing keeping my wanderlust at bay, virtual traveling! I know it doesn’t sound as exciting as packing a bag and getting out there, but I have been loving seeing new places worldwide. I have found places I never knew I wanted to travel to!
Here are my favorite ways to travel virtually right now!
It began with my dad turning this on during slow Sunday mornings and has turned into me finding episodes on YouTube with states I am eager to learn about. Ariel America is the perfect blend of telling their audience about the state’s nature, history, culture, landmarks, etc.! If you are interested in learning about the United States of America, check out Ariel America!
Rick Steves‘ Europe
Rick Steves’ Europe shows are fantastic! He is just a regular guy touring beautiful places all over Europe. He takes you along on realistic trips all over Europe. Some of my favorites have been the Greek Isles, Palermo, Sicily, and Southeast England. I find his show on YouTube! If you’re craving some European adventure, check out Rick Steves!
Down to Earth with Zac Efron
This show was unexpectedly great. It was incredibly informative and showed places I have had my eye on traveling to for awhile. I found it neat that the show focuses on finding healthy and more sustainable ways of living. If you’re looking for a unique way to virtually travel, check out Down to Earth!
Icelandic Horses Icelandic Horses are like no other horse on the planet. They have luscious manes and are quite majestic. Before 1000 AD, Iceland put into law that no other horses can be brought to Iceland and once a horse leaves, it cannot return to Iceland. Because of that, they are one of the purest horse breeds in the world. These horses are coveted and well taken care of. Their average life span is 40 years. They are truly stunning to see in person and the photos you see do not do them justices. You can take a look at some I saw when I was in Iceland here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDaD-G_n_Kn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Icelandic Hot Dogs Believe it or not, Icelanders love hot dogs. Hot dogs are wildly popular and a must have when you visit. They are made a bit different than American hot dogs. Lamb, pork, and beef are used to make Icelandic hot dogs instead of the pork and beef we are used to. In Iceland, it is common to add lots of toppings! When I was in Iceland I ordered one with everything on it and it was delicious! If you want to learn more about Iceland hots dogs check out this article: https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2014-08-21/the-one-dish-to-eat-in-iceland
In the South of Iceland, on route 1, is a little town called Selfoss. We stayed at an Airbnb a few miles from Selfoss. Selfoss quickly grasped my heart. This town had everything we could have asked for; grocery stores, nature, gas stations, shops, and a coffee shop.
Bokakaffid is a book store and coffee shop rolled into one. There are little tables tucked in every corner of this quaint book store. They shelves are lined with Icelandic and English books of all sorts.
It was a dream sitting in this coffee shop/ book store relaxing on the days we weren’t driving all over. I ordered my favorite espresso drink, a cappuccino, and paroozed the bookshelves. I also was able to grab Kleinur, which is an Icelandic donut. I quickly fell in love with this coffee shop.
There were many coffee shops in Iceland that had great coffee and that I enjoyed their atmosphere, but Bokakaffid really topped them all.
I cannot wait to return to Selfoss one day and spend an afternoon drinking coffee and relaxing there.
Since it is the anniversary of my trip to Iceland, I felt inspired to highlight some of my favorite places I visited on my trip. I would highly recommend all of these places if you plan a trip to Iceland. I fell in love with each of these places for different reasons. Here are the 5 places you should add to your itinerary.
Diamond Beach and Glacier Lagoon It was a dream of mine to see icebergs in real life. Not only did this experience meet my expectations, but it also exceeded them. We did the boat tour in glacier lagoon, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Seeing the icebergs up close and learning about them was a surreal experience. The tour guide had a huge chunk of an iceberg on the boat and gave pieces to all of us to see how clear the ice is. You could even lick it to taste some of the freshest water on the planet. Right next to the lagoon is diamond beach. Small ice chunks float and rest on the beach there. You can walk along the soft black sand beach and see the ice sparkling like diamonds on the shore. I highly recommend adding this to your itinerary. Make sure you give yourself enough time for the tour and walking on the beach. You will not regret it.
Blue Lagoon I know many would deem this location as too touristy, but I would beg to differ. The Blue Lagoon is a stunning example of Iceland’s geothermal power. Additionally, the healing benefits of its water are incredibly unique. See more about that here: https://www.bluelagoon.com/about/water.
I went in the later evening during the summer, so the sun was still shining the entire time. It also was not crowded. I loved face mask options and swim-up drink bar. The few hours we were there were rejuvenating. Our trip was jam-packed, and this gave us some much-needed relaxation time. Overall, I definitely recommend the blue lagoon. If you are worried about crowds, go during a time of day that isn’t as popular as in the later evening like I did.
Reykjavík The capital city of Iceland was one of my favorite places to explore. The city is smaller and walk-able. We spent a day walking around and was able to see all the main tourist sites while visiting little shops, and eating is cute restaurants. I really recommend spending a day here without an itinerary. It was a blessing being able to just go where the wind took me. If you do want to plan some activities, they have some local walking tours available that might be an excellent way to see the city!
Snæfellsnes Peninsula This area of Iceland is out of this world. This peninsula is where I saw a seal in its natural habitat, rock arches created by the sea, and a stunning pointy mountain called Kirkjufell. Exploring this area of Iceland is definitely a must if you have time. Arnarstapi, the little village where the rock arches were, captured my heart. It has a quiet beauty unparalleled to many places on earth. This peninsula really feels untouched and raw. Really, the best way to explain this area of Iceland is out of this world.
Westman Islands Last but certainly not least the Westman Islands. Also known as Heimaey, the Westman Islands are definitely a hidden gem of Iceland. We traveled to the main island called Heimaey by ferry from the mainland of Iceland. We spent the day exploring this little island. We grabbed breakfast and coffee at a cute little cafe, hiked an extinct volcano, walked around the small town, and visited little shops. This quaint town is influenced by the history of the Eldfell volcano eruption in the 1970s. It erupted for months. The hardened lava from the eruption created a barrier on the one side of town. On this island, you can see puffins and explore stunning nature. My day here was one of my most relaxing and coveted days of the trip.
Maybe it’s the fact that this week marks 3 years since my trip to Iceland. Maybe Taylor Swift’s new Folklore album has me in my feels. This week I have felt Hiraeth intensely.
I have always felt a longing to travel. A longing to go to certain places. A longing to return to a place after a vacation to somewhere I can’t seem to get out of my head.
I felt this longing before I even traveled to Iceland. I felt connected to a county I had never been to. I have felt it every day since—a longing to return to a place that feels out of this world to my heart and soul. I tried to put this feeling into words many times and could never say it just right.
I came across the word Hiraeth, and it seems to fit this feeling pretty well. I connected with this section of the definition “It’s an unattainable longing for a place, a person, a figure, even a national history that may never have actually existed. To feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and recognize it as familiar.” I found this definition on this website that describes the word in-depth: https://peterwarski.com/longing-for-a-home-ive-never-been-to-9ce208aa384c Also, the way you pronounce it is “here-eyeth”.
Hiraeth more accurately describes what many call post-vacation blues for me. Many times it isn’t just sadness of leaving a beautiful place. I connect to certain places and yearn to return and experience them again.
Traveling is stunning, exciting, and fun, but not many people talk about how you feel after you return from a trip. The longing to return to the place that captured your heart. In this time of not traveling as much as you typically would, please take care of yourself if you are experiencing hiraeth. You will travel soon again and see all of the places you long for.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traveling. The truth is though, traveling can be tough and isn’t always glamorous. Iceland was a magical and gorgeous place to explore but it did come with a slew of unexpected challenges.
The Tale of the Quick Moving Ocean
On the first full day in Iceland, our group traveled to the Snaefellness Peninsula to see some seals. After a long drive from Husafell, tired and excited, we walked out to the beach and moved quickly toward the seals lounging on the rocks. I had dreamed about this moment for a long time and couldn’t believe I was seeing these seals for the first time!! I spot three seals laying on rocks not too far from some rocks that jet out into the water. Wanting to see them up close and spotting a prime location for an Insta pic, I make my way out onto the rocks. I dragged my boyfriend along with me to see the seals. On our journey, we started crossing some rocks with crunchy seaweed and then through an inch of water left over from the tide.
As we made our way out, we started crossing over some slippery seaweed on top of the rocks so we had to be careful not to slip. Once we got all the way out to the edge, we were able to see the seals perfectly! I even had my boyfriend take a killer picture of me for Instagram! We could see my family looking at another seal far off in the distance. After a few minutes, we wanted to head where they were so we began to make our way back to the shore. As we made our way back, we noticed that the path we originally took was no longer the path back. In the 5 – 10 minutes we were out on the rocks, the tide had risen. As we started looking for a new path to take, we realized that the water had risen to over knee deep. Slightly panicked, my boyfriend and I took off our boots and rolled up our pants and waded through the knee-deep water.
Luckily, we made it through the water with only our pants wet. Had we been out on the rocks for even 2 more minutes, we might have been chest deep in cold Atlantic ocean water. When researching about traveling to Iceland, I had read a lot about tourists getting caught in waves that come up on the beaches rather quick. I had read many articles about the water being unpredictable on beaches in Iceland. Even though I did my homework, the excitement about the trip got the best of me on that first day and I almost ended up in a ton of trouble because of it.
Traveling can be wild, amazing, and awe-inspiring. When traveling, please keep in mind that cautions that come along with it. Listen to people who have traveled to the locations you are traveling to. Stay safe and keep on traveling!