Iceland: Part One [Iowa City, IA Travel Photographer]

One January evening, I was lying in bed browsing through Instagram when I saw a photo on Kristin Sweeting's feed talking about a study abroad workshop in Iceland. To be honest, I have no idea how I even started following her, and I had just recently talked to a friend about wanting to travel abroad since I'd never been to Europe! This was perfect!! Hearing about all of my friends travels and worldly adventures, the travel bug had started wiggling it's way into my brain and I was itching to go somewhere, anywhere. I clicked on the link to her site, intrigued. Iceland really wasn't on my list of "must see" places (I've always considered myself more of a "city" vacationer vs. "outdoorsy" nature based vacations), but it sounded cool and I had heard it was beautiful.

That night I contacted Kristin and inquired about the trip, having a lot of questions and wanting some clarification on things. The next day I talked to everyone I could about the trip... "Should I go?, Is it too much of an investment?, What if I don't like anyone on the trip?, What if no one on the trip likes me?, What if I'm not a good enough photographer?" Seriously, the voice in my head was going CRAZY. Thanks to the encouragement from several co-workers and my boyfriend who basically said I was completely nuts if I didn't go, I took the leap, paid my deposit, and marked it on my calendar.

Six months is a long time to both build up excitement, and battle the nervous voice in my head that was still telling me I was nuts, and asking myself "did I really need to spend so much on a photography workshop when I could certainly find one closer?". Finally, the day came where I told the voice in my head to find a new hobby, and I jumped on the plane to Iceland for a new adventure. Needless to say, the trip with Study Abroad Workshops was worth every penny I paid. I made a bunch of new friends, and I learned so much about myself along the way. It was a great place to restart my brain, to re-energize my creativity, and I am so glad that I listened to the voices of encouragement over the voices of doubt and fear inside my head.

If you read all that, I'm impressed! I tend to ramble, but I wanted to share one piece of advice with you if you've gotten this far. Take the trip. Say yes. It will be worth it.

So now, what you really want to see... the photos of some of the stuff we did while in Iceland along with short rundowns of what we did each day if you're interested (if not, just scroll past, but there may be a quiz later soooo....)! I decided to break this into a couple different posts because I had so many that I wanted to share from the horse farm.

  • The first full day we did whale watching, which I almost didn't do because I was exhausted after flying through the night and not sleeping much on the plane. We did see dolphins, puffins (they are a lot smaller than I thought), and a fin whale! I am really glad I did this, and it was a way to ease into the week and chat with some of the girls who I would be traveling with all week! I did not take my camera on the boat, so you'll just have to imagine me in a really cool red jumpsuit.
  • Day two was a visit to Hallgrímskirkja (the beautiful church you always see on Instagram), followed by a scavenger hunt so we could get to know the city (and each other) better. That evening we visited a horse farm, which was magical. Iceland ponies are so friendly and sweet, and I just love their hair - those manes billowing in the wind, gets me every time! So beautiful to photograph, and so much fun! We were even able to go out into the fields where we saw two foals (one of the babies came right up to one of the girls in our group, which was incredible), and a tiny group of sheep! That evening, one of the other girls and I decided to explore Reykjavík since even though we returned at about 8 pm it was still as light as it is here around 6 pm! Note: if you travel to Iceland in the summer, bring an eye mask to help you sleep! In July they only have about 3-4 hours of actual "night" there and it stays relatively light out until 11:30 pm or so. We ended up checking out the Lebowski Bar to get a white Russian (really the only drink you should get there, which is probably why the menu has a page and a half of them) which was a lot of fun!


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures Jen. So glad you got to experience it all