#cometothelandoftheiceandsnow: Summering in Iceland = trip of a lifetime

After we moved back to the States 2 years ago, we haven’t had a huge opportunity to travel internationally like we did when we lived in Taiwan. In March, Lisa and I led our school’s mission trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and while it was a very enjoyable trip, it definitely was a work thing, back to a place we’d been before, and not exactly the type of traveling I was hoping to get in. And the bug wasn’t squashed at all—”We gotta go somewhere.”

So when an article online hinted that WOW Airlines, a low-cost 1 Icelandic carrier, was adding direct flights from San Francisco to Reykjavik to their repertoire, we jumped at the opportunity to add the Nordic country to our travel list. A few months and a couple of dollars later, we had a plan to do Iceland’s Ring Road 2 in less than a week. Thanks to a short delay from the aforementioned WOW Airlines 3, that itinerary got squeezed down a bit more to 5½ days. It would be a mad-dash on the road, but were dead-set to make it work.

Luckily, it turned out that we were able to accomplish the trip of a lifetime, seeing waterfalls, glaciers, volcanos, geysers, hot pots, churches, sheep, humpback whales, and one flat tire. Since we were there during the longest days of the year, the sun never set on us 4, so we regularly pulled 20-hour days, stopping often to take pictures, fly my drone, hike around, and experience the most breathtaking nature I’ve ever been privileged to explore. Since we’ve made it home, not a day has gone by that I haven’t fondly thought back on the week we spent up north and giggled at how blessed we were to see what we saw and do what we did.

For inquiring minds, we took pretty darn good notes of all the places in Iceland we explored, pinning them all to a master Google Map that we utilized on the Ring Road the entire trip. Below, you can click on the sites, where we have more details on the trip, where we went, where I flew, and our daily itinerary.

A few months back, Lisa and I saw a great YouTube video by Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell, where they essentially did a lip dub of their entire trip to the Dark Continent with Toto’s class “Africa”.

Lisa and I got such a kick out of that that we decided we’d be doing something similar for our Iceland trip. After much planning, filming, and editing, we present the Led Zeppelin-themed music video of our trip to the land of the ice and snow:

Also, since I took my drone along all the way there and was able to film much more than made it into the music video, here’s an additional video of just flight footage:

It’s so great to have had the chance to experience Iceland, and while we’re sad that the trip has come and gone so quickly, we’re excited to begin working on whatever our next adventure will be!

Notes:

  1. Low cost is no joke. For just over US$1,000, we picked up 2 round-trip tickets to Iceland. Of course, that didn’t include additional charges for seats, checked baggage, carry-on baggage, or even a cup of water on the plane itself. Southwest Airlines this ain’t.
  2. FYI: On every itinerary we found online, the Ring Road was a 16-hour loop that was suggested to take at least 10-30 days to do justice to. 16 hours? We’re Midwesterners—we can bang out an 8-hour-drive without any effort! No problem! Here’s what we didn’t fully realize—every 15 minutes on the Ring Road, you see something that you have to stop and gape at for 2-3 hours. We drove every day, all day, and we averaged accomplishing only 3 hours gross on the road each day. Amazing.
  3. Oh WOW, how you disappointed me… Our departure from SFO was first delayed by 24 hours, then an additional 3 as we sat at the airport and waited on what turned out to be an all-white charter plane with a no-name crew to “serve” our plane, then an additional 3 hours just for our luggage to get taken off the plane. Luckily, our flight back to SFO was only delayed 3 hours, with one extra hour sitting at the gate while our flight crew just didn’t show up until 15 minutes after takeoff was scheduled. #WOWfail indeed.
  4. We experienced maybe 1-2 hours of dark enough sky that you couldn’t easily read a paperback book without a flashlight.
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