Iceland

Iceland is like no other place on earth. I dreamed of visiting for years after friends brought back pictures and stories from their travels and told me of the connection they felt to the island. My visit there was spontaneously planned at the last minute and I decided to go alone. This was the first trip I’ve made completely on my own. I’ve travelled around by myself quite a bit, but have always been meeting people I know at some point during trips, and although I love travelling with friends it was liberating to do be free to go wherever I wanted and meet new people along the way.

I stayed at a friendly hostel in the centre of Reykjavik and on my first day encountered a pretty intense Icelandic storm. I had contacted a Canadian model who lived in Iceland and we planned to do a shoot around some of the majestic waterfalls that are scattered across the island, but the weather was so bad that we could only get a few pictures. There was snow, ice, strong winds and a black sand storm at Vík where the ebony sand grains whipped your face like thousands of tiny needles. It was a little frustrating because we had planned various ideas for photographs, but I was also in awe of nature and how it is so much more powerful than any of us.

Travelling around the island I saw some of the most beautiful natural wonders; geysers and hot springs in Haukadalur valley, incredible waterfalls Gullfoss, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Faxi, Þingvellir National Park, and the mountains and volcanoes of the South West coast of Iceland. For the rest of my time I wandered around Reykjavik with my camera, sat in coffee shops people-watching, talked late into the night with new friends from every corner of the globe, and almost died trying to walk over thick ice to the Art Museum (apparently people in Iceland don’t walk around outside when it is that treacherous.. who knew?).

I definitely understand the magic that my friends felt here now. The people here are so open and honest, and their connection to nature as a nation seems stronger than in my home country – maybe because they rely on the earth so much here for their energy and tourism, and also because they are constantly reminded that nature is in charge through regularly erupting volcanos, hot springs and the sometimes extreme weather conditions. The earth is so alive here, it reminds us that it isn’t just a dead mass of rock that we are standing on but a dynamic, energetic entity which we have a responsibility to respect and take care of.

Model: Kathleen Kimberly

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