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I’m normally a pretty chill, emotionally even-keeled kind of person, but I’ve been squealing like a little girl A LOT lately. Why?

Ross and I are going to Iceland in June of 2020 for our fifth anniversary!!!

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I’ve been dreaming of going to Iceland for years and years, for a plethora of reasons:

  1. Have you seen the place?? It’s flipping gorgeous. The scenery has to be seen to be believed. Iceland has a bleak type of beauty that makes my heart hurt in a really good way. Browse the When in Iceland Instagram for more photographs too lovely to seem possible.
  2. I grew up reading and loving the Poetic Edda and the Icelandic sagas translated into English and turning the Old Norse words over in my head even if I didn’t know what they meant because they sounded magical. Seeing the place where they were written will be a dream come true.
  3. Icelandic book culture is a reader and writer’s dream. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other nation in the world (although some say the UK may be taking that title in recent years), and Icelanders have a massive love for the written word. Storytelling is a national pastime. During the annual Jolabokaflod, or Christmas Book Flood, Icelanders buy thousands of books to give as gifts and to read themselves.
  4. Icelandic culture in general is utterly fascinating. Crime is astonishingly low, averaging 1.8 murders per year (some sources say 1.6) in a country of over 300,000 people. There isn’t a single McDonalds or Starbucks in the entire country, and most of the global chains that have taken over elsewhere aren’t present in Iceland. 85% of its energy is from renewable resources (much of it geothermal). It’s one of the oldest democracies in the world, formed in 930 AD. Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland.
  5. Icelandic horses, whale watching, glacier hiking, geysers, puffins, turf houses…I could go on.

You’re may be thinking, well, that sounds fantastic, but the trip is more than a year away. Why all the hysterics now?

Let me preface this by saying that I hate surprises. I loathe them. Especially good surprises. If Ross had somehow managed to surprise me with a trip to Iceland in a month, I would be thinking, “Oh… Um. Yay?” Easily half of the fun of an exciting event is anticipating it, planning for it, and hugging the idea of it to my chest and making happy sounds while I daydream about how it might be (or might not be, I’m not picky and don’t usually mind if things turn out differently from how I imagined).

So here’s what I get to enjoy for the next year:

  • Learning as much Icelandic as I can. Icelandic isn’t on Duolingo, more’s the pity, so I’m currently using a combo of this Icelandic course on Memrise, and various Icelandic videos on Youtube, especially this channel. I’m looking forward to getting an Icelandic dictionary.
  • Planning every detail of the trip. Yes, a good chunk of that planning will go out the window on the first day with bad weather, but the planning is so much FUN. Because I’ve been dreaming of going to Iceland for so long, I have a list of natural wonders, historical sites, and attractions a mile long I’d like to visit, and I’m researching each one. I’m also researching different travel options, like renting a car and staying in Airbnbs versus renting a campervan and camping our way around the Ring Road. Iceland is VERY expensive, so making reservations early will save money.
  • Rereading the Icelandic sagas and the Poetic and Prose Eddas. This literature was formative for me when I was growing up, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read a lot of it now. Rereading it with an eye for places I might be able to visit will be a new experience.
  • Reading up on Icelandic history, some modern Icelandic literature, and Icelandic travel guides. You better believe I already have a Goodreads shelf going.
  • Relistening to some of my favorite Icelandic music and building a roadtrip playlist. Tons of my favorite musical artists are from Iceland: Sigur RósOf Monsters and Men, Björk, Emiliana Torrini, just to name a few. I also want to explore new-to-me Icelandic artists.
  • Buying an Icelandic sweater. This one may seem trivial, but I always wanted to get a traditional Icelandic sweater while in Iceland. Unfortunately, I learned that they’re pretty far outside of my price range, especially for an item of clothing I’ll almost never be able to wear at home in North Carolina without boiling alive. My compromise is to buy a used Icelandic wool sweater from Ebay or Etsy ahead of time (they cost about 1/5 as much used) and bring it with me to Iceland.

That’s a lot to look forward to in a year! Stay tuned for more Icelandic fangirling, if you’re into that. I’m sure I’ll be posting about the trip a lot in the next year.

In unrelated news, I finally got an Instagram, which is full mainly of dog pictures. If that’s your thing, check it out. And yes, there will eventually be a lot of Iceland pictures there too. 😉

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