What I learned.

I never even once thought of the people I’d meet on this trip. I was like, “I’m a solo traveler within a group; everyone is going to be doing their own things.” It didn’t even occur to me that I might meet people and even more so, meet people that I could grow to adore in such a short time.

Just writing that makes my eyes swell up with tears. The people I met this week were just as incredible as Iceland is. I focused my writings a lot on the trip itself but haven’t included much about the people that I’ve met along the way; mostly for their privacy. I have some feel-good stories and many moments in my journal that I’ll keep for myself to remember them by and cherish forever. I don’t know if any of us will ever cross paths again in this life, but I hope we do. It makes my heart so warm knowing there are people in the world that have the same wanderlust spirit and taste for adventure that I do because it’s easy to forget that when surrounded by people with different desires.

G (Gunner, our tour guide) was absolutely incredible. She is so proud of her heritage and of her country. She’s kind and welcomes you warmly and she’s so consistent. She’s not “on” and you can’t see through her because she is 100% genuinely authentically incredible. There was an elderly couple on our trip that had been all over the world; 100+ countries in their time together. The last time they’d been to Iceland was 1966. My mom was one! While some of their travels over the years was for work; a lot of it was for adventure and pleasure, too. They said that our guide was one of the top 5 EVER. In the 50+ years of traveling, Gunner Rosdottir is in their top 5. Talk about a compliment and it doesn’t even do her near as much justice as she deserves.


Guys, I’m so proud of myself. Like, in the best possible way. I can’t even think about it without crying and all of these feels are the most wonderful kind.

I noticed on face book that people are posting what they looked like at the beginning of the decade and at the end; most of them glow-ups but honestly that’s only due to fashion. I reflected on this on my last jaunt of a flight home. Physically, I’m much heavier now than I was at the beginning of this decade; is that a glow-down? I’m sure I’ve learned how to do my makeup a bit better and I’ve hopefully upgraded my fashion game but so much more has changed internally for the better rather than externally.

My life is split up into a handful of segments and I don’t know if that’s normal or not. A decade ago, I was in the early years of what would become a rocky and tumultuous relationship. I was more insecure than I’d ever been in my life and thought that by loving someone harder, I could fix them. Seven years ago, I was forced to leave that relationship because my mom and brother moved me out in the middle of the night due to an explosive conversation they heard when I secretly dialed my moms number. That didn’t last. He was broken and I was the only one that could salvage what life he had left in him. Or so I thought.

He didn’t share the same sense of adventure that I had. So, five years ago, I took the first step into not waiting around anymore for my life to begin. I started traveling with my mom. I feel like my first trip with my mom, through reflection, was my first real step into gaining Independence from an abusive situation. It took me another three years before I finally left that broken relationship.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I left the man that I’d loved with every ounce of my being for nearly a decade; for my entire adult life. I don’t know if i’ll ever be able to love someone the way I did him ever again. I know I’m capable of love; I’m a lover by nature but he took a piece of me that I’ll never be able to give someone again. A love that was fueled by pain. A love that I’m not willing to go through or forfeit to anyone ever again. I want a love that will move mountains, not dig graves.

That same two years ago, I was so unbelievable lost and broken in the truest sense. I came to realize that I wasn’t a person. My entire being existed to make his life better. I didn’t have a sense of self because it died when I left. I wish I could have told that girl then what I’d be doing now. She never would have dreamed of visiting Ireland and Scotland in 2018. She never would have dared go on a solo trip to the North Shore in her home-state. She didn’t think she’d ever get to see the Grand Canyon and she never ever, in a millions years, would have guessed that she’d travel to Iceland alone. I wish I would have told that girl that she’ll get through the pain and immerse the cocoon of heartbreak stronger and more powerful than she could have ever dreamt. I’m so proud of the woman I’ve become. I’ve always been strong but I can’t get over just how strong I am. How I can do this life and do it well, all on my own.

I know that I frequently reference this period of my life; this relationship.. And while I’m not defined by it now, it did define my life and who I was in it for a third of my life. So, I think it’s okay to refer back to it because it will always be there and it’ll always be a stepping stone of chapters in my long life of book. I’m only 30. I have so many more pages to grow from.


Thank you, dear readers, for coming on this journey with me. I’ll leave you with a quote by an Icelandic Nobel Peace Prize winner. Our tour guide recited it to us on one of our magical days traveling through the land of fire and ice:

“Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.” – Halldór Laxness

Day 3: The Golden Circle.

Where do I start? As I may have already mentioned, for the first time, I didn’t blog on my trip. Rather, I journaled and am now transcribing those scribbles upon my return to the States.

Though, my notes are brief at times, I remember day 3 as one of my most cherished. It was a busy day from sunrise to well past sunset as we ventured The Golden Circle. Here we go..

Þingvellir National Park: No big or anything but I spent the morning walking through 9000 year old LAVA WALLS. I seriously feel like I’m watching someone else live this life. Water thousands of years old flowing from glaciers.. Paths carved out of lava fields for us to explore; the same fields are more vast and higher in the air than most buildings where I live. This National Park is on North American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates. When we arrived, we entered on the North American side and when we left, we were on the Eurasion. Who knew science and the Earth we live on could be so facinating? Like, where was I in school when they explained this stuff?

Friðheimar Tomato & Horse Farm: Stationed near Reykholt, I met two sweetheart Icelandic horses, learned all about their lineage and about tomato farming in Iceland. Did you know that there are 100K Icelandic horses in Iceland and over 160K in the rest of the world due to exporting? Also, Icelandic horses are the only horse bred that lives in Iceland.

Here, I sipped savory homegrown tomato soup with a dollop of sour cream and paired it all with the freshest of baguettes. Anyone that knows me, knows a good tomato soup and grilled cheese will put a smile on my face.

At any given time, there are over 600 bees pollinating the tomatoes of Friðheimar. One neat thing to know, is that the tomatoes grown here, are only sold in Iceland for Icelanders; they don’t export them.

This was actually one of the trip itinerary items I was least interested in initially and it turned out to be such an awesome way to experience Iceland at a much slower pace. Inside a warm greenhouse full of tomato vines and yellow lights among a group of people who were strangers just two days ago, somehow, felt like home.

Gullfoss aka The Golden Waterfall: Gullfoss literally took my breath away. The wind was strong today and there were talks of the waterfall being closed to the public because of it. Praise Jesus and his apostles for a break in the weather. Waterfalls are my kryptonite. While I’m not the epitome of health, I will cross any barrier no matter the difficulty to witness a waterfalls rushing waters and transformative powers. The trek to Gullfoss was the most difficult (there and back) that I’d ever taken. The winds were some of the fastest i’d ever experienced, the rain and snow mixture was in full force and the amount of people at Gullfoss was beyond countable. At one point, I saw a small woman, she couldn’t have been more than 5′ 3″ and 105 pounds. She was crawling up the hill holding on for her life to the ropes just to get a glimpse. I could barely keep upright myself, imagine the core strength on that woman. But, at last, I made it. And I took in ever single second I could. I’m sure I’ve said it and I’ll likely say it again but this view was one for a lifetime. One full of words that I don’t have the vocabulary for and one, that a photograph cannot do justice. P.S. This beautiful Golden Waterfall is the largest in Europe.

Strokkur Geysir: Next up was a hot spring geothermal park, another first. The short hike to the geysir was quiet and easy but getting TO the geysir was a different story thanks to my nemesis, ice. At one point, I took a step and, like in a movie, I slowly slid backwards about 20 feet. It probably took me 10 minutes just to get those 20 feet. Thankfully, a couple fellow travelers making their way back down found goodness within them to help a struggling me make my way to the geysir. For a moment, I felt embarrassed but then, the geysir erupted and any sense of who I was in that moment or how I felt disappeared. It’s okay to ask for help and accept it. If you don’t, you might miss one of the biggest moments in your life.

That concludes day 3 of Iceland; the Golden Circle. On our way back to Reykjavik, we stopped in Hveragerði for hot dogs and ice cream, which, is a PERFECT combo if you ask me. Later in the evening, a couple of us took a stroll to grab a late night snack. We happened across Íslenska Hamborgarafabrikkan and landed there. Each time a baby is born in Iceland, a bell rings in this restaurant and automatically adds to the population sign near the back of the building. The bell rang a handful of times when we were there, so cool!

I don’t know if I’ve yet mentioned it but the water in Iceland is hands down, the best water in the entire world. It is Iceland’s only natural resource and it is so clean and crisp. I’ve already ordered myself a case of Icelandic glacier water to be shipped home. It should be there the day after I arrive.