Thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, it is now common knowledge that Iceland is laden with volcanoes. The second thing that in abundance is less obvious: water. The country is an island after all. Given its combination of unique geographical gifts (perched on a hotspot, on top of the American and Eurasian continental plates, way way up in the North), Iceland can be quite a hotbed of earth-porn, so to speak.
If you want to emerge a whole lot smarter after a tour in Iceland, here’s a good recipe:
1.) Grab a geologist (or better yet, a glaciologist!).
2.) Make him show you around.
Luckily, we stumbled onto GeoIceland Tours, ran by the very witty Javier — a glaciologist-turned-land-surveyor, who eventually found himself creating his own tour-guide business. From the moment we set off from Reykjavik until he dropped us back home, he rattled on facts one after the other — not just about geology, but also about history, folklore and everyday Icelandic life. There was no lull nor dull moment, I kid you not.
I stare hard at the long wall of loose gravel, then shoot a look at our guide, waiting for him to say that he was just kidding and that this isn’t a part of the trail. Except that he wasn’t. And yes, this is the trail. A light kick sends a rain of pebbles tumbling down. Yup, that’s a long slide from here.
Geirmundur, our guide, patiently holds my hand as I shuffle slowly sideways, facing the wall. Deep breath, baby-step. No, don’t look down. Deep breath, baby-step. All my wits are funneled into this delicate dance, until we finally make it to solid soil after what seemed like forever. Lucky me, I live another day! And this was only Day 1.
Ever since I stumbled on the Holstee Manifesto, it has been my beacon for when I’m lost, or for when I lose sight of my real dreams. What’s so striking about it is that it speaks of things that you already know true, but also things which you just need help being reminded of every now and then.
If you want to learn more about the story behind the Holstee Manifesto, or if you want to download your own Holstee wallpaper (like the one below), you can check out their site at www.holstee.com.
1. Surfing, snorkeling, playing beach volleyball all day — some things are worth the sunburn. The pain of being sun-scorched will eventually go away, but as for regret — that often stings for a lifetime.
2. So you’re loaded. And really smart. And gorgeous to boot. But can you leave the shore and swim? The world belongs to the brave.
Mountains and beaches, forest trails and seaside drives, luminescent grottos… I don’t think I’ll ever run out of reasons to fall head over heels for Amalfi. This has been my second visit to Italy, and I still think that the Land of La Dolce Vita might be my happy place. 🙂
Sharing the clips I’ve compiled while meandering along the glorious coastal towns. If you want to read the stories behind the videos, just saunter over to the links below. Ciao and enjoy!
As we lay down together, legs intertwined, I can’t stop chuckling as I think to myself, “Ish, what crazy thing have you got yourself into now?!”
It may be easy to think that Capri is solely about the ultimate seduction, a haven for indulgence, opulence, and above all, romance. However, being my stubborn self, I sought to find out if it could also have a space for cheapskate solo backpackers like moi. After leaving my beloved Atrani, I hopped on the earliest ferry to Capri.
During the boat ride, I looked at the seats in front of me. Couple. Beside me? Couple. Behind me? Yup, couples on a double date. When we docked, couples shuffled out one after the other. Maybe this was going to be more challenging than I thought. Continue reading Capri for One→
There it is!… Is it real?
Nah, it can’t be… are you sure?
Yes, silly, you bought the ticket yourself!
I know that, but… wow, is this really happening?
This was the weird conversation going on inside my head as the bus was making its way to Amalfi Town. A few more seconds, and everything sunk in. This is it. This is the realization of a life-long whimsy. I am being whisked away on a drive along the Amalfi Coast. You know when people say they had to pinch themselves? Yes, I had to do that too.
The sharp cliff drops along the narrow highway are actually more bewitching than terrifying. (Then again, that might just be because of the years of training I’ve had with the suicidal bus drivers from my home country.) As our bus zigzagged through every corner, a new scenery unfolded. Hillside houses and hanging gardens revealed themselves, and the long glistening coast seemed to never end. It was hard not to gawk. Continue reading Swept Away by the Amalfi Blue→
I pray that you never will have to, but there might be times in your journey that you would have to set out in the lowest of spirits. As for me, I wandered into Florence with nothing less but a shattered heart. Plans fell through, promises were abandoned, and what I thought would be the most memorable part of my trip found me in my most bitter state. The little dark cloud that was hovering over me seemed to inspire the rain clouds forming high above, dousing Florence in a gloomy drizzle. Continue reading Finding the Sun in Florence→
“We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” – John Steinbeck
Based on a pact (read: mutual blackmail), I find myself hopping on a train to Munich, barely 30 minutes from when I touched down in Zurich from Singapore. I could tell that the teller went to pains to explain extra slowly the many train changes that I was to take, and for that I was grateful. Yet, during the change at the Schaffhausen station, I still managed to stand in the wrong sector of the platform, and thus missed my ride. Only an hour in, and there’s my first big backpacking boo-boo. Folks, it’s a new record! Continue reading When the Detours Make the Difference→
Hello, I'm Ish, and my mission is to have fearless joy! Once I figure out what that means, I'll let you know how it goes.