Our Iceland Trip at a Glance

I hope you enjoy watching our Iceland video! It doesn’t nearly cover everything we saw and did, but it’s a great representation of how much fun we had and how incredibly beautiful Iceland is! Keep reading under the video if you want to hear more about the trip “at a glance.” 🙂

I’ve just come home from a 10 day trip in Iceland. I’m actually not even home yet, still on the plane home, but needed to start writing before I forgot all of the parts that made this trip so special. My boyfriend, er, rather fiancé now (yippee!!!) and I booked tickets for this trip in mid-April, a month before I graduated college.

A lot of people told me about this website called Pomelo, which is a company that sends emails for discounted international flights, and I signed up right away waiting for Iceland. Boom! $95 one way to Iceland leaving from LAX. It was perfect. We booked with WOW Air, a budget airline, and at the end of the trip we are now wondering how “budget” it really is. I’ll talk more about that in another post for sure.

Because I live in Arizona, the only extreme weather I’ve ever experienced is heat and the best solution for that is a swimsuit + a pool. Rain? Wind? Cold? All three at the same time? I was definitely needing to go shopping and borrow from friends.

Once we were all packed up with proper gear + LOTS of snacks, we were off. For some reason, and I won’t question it, all of our flights and arrangements went eerily smooth. No delays, no hang ups, no “oh crap, I forgot ~insert very important thing here.~” We both slept a majority of the flights and felt rested upon waking! What the heck, how? We got picked up from our campervan company at the Keflavík airport and it was a 45 minute or so drive to their office where we grabbed our van and some left over food and headed to the grocery store.

Our initiative was to head north first because we knew that the roads and conditions in the north are a little bit more unpredictable. Not as many tourists make their way up there, in fact we saw zero tour busses, so it felt a lot more untouched. Because of the lack of tourism, any deviation we made from the Ring Road (road that circles all of Iceland) was full of potholes and 1 lane bridges. It was actually funny how bad some of the roads were, but it was such a cool feeling being the only people on the road for hours. We really would go miles and miles without seeing another car.

We were surprised to find so many campsites still open at the end of September! When I looked online and read everyone else’s blog posts and websites, they all said that most campsites close down after summer. We only encountered 2 closed campsites on the trip and we were really just picking one on the map and driving there.

A lot of the sites had awesome facilities which I 100% was not expecting. I was expecting port-a-potties and a parking lot, but what we found were awesome little spots with great views and heated floors in the bathrooms!!! That was the best part! Not every place was super lux, but they all at least had clean bathrooms and showers with some sort of sink + an indoor dining area.  A lot of the time we chose the sites that were pretty far off the road to avoid crowds of people, but sometimes when we were tired and had been driving all day, we settled for the crowded ones in the cities.

Our favorite spot was definitely the northeast. Here especially we went miles and miles without seeing other vans and even got a chance to see the northern lights! Albeit they were small, but we got to see them together for both of our first time…plus we got engaged right underneath them! It was really special.

We drove down the most beautiful [bumpy] road, road 95, on our way to the southern region. Every turn we took, every hill we climbed, required a photo. Speaking of waterfalls, Iceland has a ton of them. By day 6 out of 10 we were a little sick of them, I’ll admit. It’s funny because there are many “famous” waterfalls… definitely famous for a reason… but there were SO MANY more without names and that weren’t deemed tourist destinations that were so much better. Especially on road 95. It was so hard to not stop at every turn on that road! We were shocked that no one else was stopping.

Iceland is such a beautiful treasure and gift to us! They called it the land of fire and ice and I totally see why. From glaciers to volcanos, mountains to plains, oceans to rivers, they truly have it all. The local people are so kind (in our experience) and were only helpful to us in our journey. There are more sheep than people living in Iceland right now, the horses are beautiful and the blue lagoon really is bright blue. Natural hot springs are amazing, even with the sulfur smell.

You really can see a lot in 10 days, by certainly not all of it. I would hate to minimize a country and culture by saying “we saw it all in 10 days… here’s how you can too!!!” I think it would take years to see it all and understand it all. There’s so much there that doesn’t involve waterfalls and the Blue Lagoon. Definitely more to come on this trip that I loved so much and will always be special to me. It’ll be hard to stop writing about it.

8 Tips for Solo Female Travelers

Traveling by myself was one of the best things I’ve done in my twenty-one years of life. I gained so much confidence in myself and my abilities during that time and I would do it again and again and again. It isn’t always safe for women to travel alone, but I didn’t see that as a reason to not experience this. While it is important to listen and understand the concerns of friends and family prior to you leaving, don’t let them scare you out of doing something you want to do. Waiting around for someone else to want to go somewhere as bad as you do, and then hoping they commit to buying a ticket is next to impossible and I didn’t want to wait any longer. So why wait? Just go! Being on my own I learned a TON and I hope this post will help you in your own solo endeavors.

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Your Perfect Arizona Road Trip

Arizona is one of the most beautiful states, and I’m not just saying that because I live here. There is a certain kind of beauty that this state has to offer that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. From cactus covered desert to ponderosa pine forest, I’d say Arizona just about has it all. The best way to see this beautiful state is by car, and it’s not so bad considering its only about a 6 1/2 hour drive from top to bottom. I’ve road tripped up the spine of Arizona more than a few times, and I hope this inspires you to do the same, whether you live in Arizona or are considering visiting. There’s a ton of activities/things to see that I won’t be able to list here, so here’s just some of my personal favorites along the drive:

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5 Ways to Succeed as a Workawayer Before You Even Arrive

If you read my post about getting started with Workaway, you know a little bit about how enriching my experience was. I am not the expert workawayer, but because I have gone to live with a host family through the program and my family has hosted three people through the program, I believe I have an interesting perspective on how to be successful in this role.

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What Workaway is + How to Get Started

The reason that me and so many other people have been able to experience the rich cultures of the world is an amazing website called Workaway. I found this website a number of years ago, but never had a good enough reason to use it. After certain life circumstances, I decided that I had to get away and experience something amazing. Workaway was exactly what I needed and wanted during that time in my life and I am so incredibly happy and thankful that I decided to give it a try.

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8 Important Tips for Your Travels

I’m going to start this off by saying that I am by no means an expert traveller. I spent two months traveling around Europe 1. as a workawayer (living with a family for free and doing chores to earn my room and board), 2. a solo traveler, and 3. with friends. I would say that those two months were the most I’ve ever grown in my entire life; I learned so much about the world around me. I did a lot of research, like reading posts like this, before leaving on my trip and I think that is what helped me so much. Here are a few other important lessons I learned (sometimes the hard way):

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Prague, Czech Republic – A City With All the Bells and Whistles

Prague is one of those soon-to-be iconic cities. Lots of people have been traveling there as of lately, and I definitely see why. With amazing public transportation and something to do around every corner, it’s a traveller’s paradise. We spent 5 days here and it was the perfect amount of time.

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