Iceland Road Trip: Days 3 (Höfn to Egilsstaðir) & 4 (Egilsstaðir to Akureyri)

Here’s the link to my post about Days 1 & 2 in case you missed it!

Day 3 (Höfn to Egilsstaðir):

This day was our most uneventful day, which was good timing because day 2 was our longest, busiest day so we were quite tired. We were also happy there weren’t many sights along the way because this was the worst weather we had our whole trip. It was very rainy and terrifyingly foggy which made driving quite an experience! There were long gravel roads on this journey which certainly were an adventure in the rain.

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Photo courtesy of Courtney Allen of courtingadventure.com

Photo courtesy of Courtney Allen of courtingadventure.com

This drive takes approximately 3 hours (in good weather) and when we were about half way there, I REALLY needed to pee. It was raining quite hard so I kept holding it, but it got to a point where I simply could not wait anymore. Of course, the moment I got out of the car was when it rained the hardest. It was certainly a memorable experience to relieve myself behind a mound of dirt on the side of the road in the lashing rain and heavy fog in the middle of nowhere in Iceland.

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Our sweet Opel getting dirty!

Our sweet Opel getting dirty!

Egilsstaðir is a lovely town and there is a Bonus grocery store, FYI. This is where I first found Goldfish, which I was extremely excited about since they don’t have them in Ireland. Iceland has more American foods than Ireland does, which I certainly wasn’t expecting! We really wanted to buy some alcohol since we arrived early and had no plans for the evening, but we forgot it was Sunday and the liquor store closed at 4. I was craving vegetables, so I went to Subway and got the most amazing salad of my life. I love pickles more than anything and she literally gave me about 75 pickles. I made sure to tell her Subway is better in Iceland than in any other country.

Accommodation: (in Egilsstaðir)

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This was probably my favourite place we stayed, which says a lot because I loved our accommodation every night. The decor was beautiful and very modern. I would highly recommend this place.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4599984

Day 4 (Egilsstaðir to Akureyri):

This was a very eventful day. This is approximately a 3 1/2 hour drive non-stop but there are many sights to see along the way, so prepare for a long day if you’re doing this drive!

Our first stop was Dettifoss – aka the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Wow. Its vastness and power is awe-inspiring. Unfortunately, the weather was bad when we were here. The small “trek” there is difficult when it’s raining hard because to get to the waterfall, you have to walk for awhile on lots of big stones, which are very slippery when wet. When we got to the waterfall, we didn’t want to stay long because the weather was so bad, but regardless, it is a must see. Before we left, I used the public toilet and laughed at the irony of the sign above the sink that said “There is a shortage of water in this area”.

Dettifoss

Dettifoss

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All of us soaked at Dettifoss

All of us soaked at Dettifoss

Our next stop was Námafjall, a high temperature geothermal area with mud pots in the Mývatn region. The temperature inside the mud pots reaches 200 degrees Celcius. The steam produces fumarole gas (hydrogen sulfide), which is where the horrific smell comes from. You (sort of) get used to smelling sulfur everywhere in Iceland, but I promise you could never get used to the extreme smell of this area. Revolting. No other word for it. At first, I thought it was bad, but then it got to the point where I was physically gagging and had to get out of there immediately. Having said that, I highly recommend visiting this area, just don’t expect to stay long. It’s a very interesting experience and I really did enjoy it despite what it may sound like! The surrounding area is also very colourful and beautiful.

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Next stop: Viti Crater, near Krafla volcano. We stumbled upon this stunningly vibrant turquoise-coloured crater on accident while searching for Krafla (we never found it, mostly because we didn’t have the patience due to hunger!).

Viti Crater - photo not edited at all!

Viti Crater – photo not edited at all!

Viti Crater - it was freezing!!

Viti Crater – it was freezing!!

Next stop: Godafoss, personally my favourite waterfall that we saw in Iceland. It’s extra impressive because it’s multiple waterfalls in one. There was only one disappointment for me: there was no sun. I’ve seen many photos of this waterfall with the most spectacular rainbows and was really hoping to see that, but we weren’t lucky in that department. Oh well! The 4 of us had the song “Waterfalls” by TLC (“Don’t go chasing waterfalls“) stuck in our heads for a lot of the trip, but we didn’t take that advice, especially not at Godafoss. In fact, we decided to go for a bit of a swim. We crossed a good bit of Godafoss to get closer to the edge and what an experience that was! We had quite an audience and a lot of laughs. We felt very victorious at the end and I still smile when I think of this memory. My hiking shoes took 4 days to dry and I was SO thankful I brought an extra pair of shoes!

Godafoss

Godafoss

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Crossing Godafoss

Crossing Godafoss

I don’t have any photos, but when you are coming from Egilsstaðir and are nearing Akureyri, be prepared for the landscape to be absolutely stunning. Akureyri is set in a stunning setting with unbelievable landscape surrounding it. I wasn’t expecting to love the Northern capital city so much, but we all did!

Gravel road

Gravel road

Random sulfur spring we passed

Random sulfur spring we passed

Note: We also visited Lake Mývatn, which was, not surprisingly, a beautiful area.

We stayed in Akureyri for 2 nights, so in my next post, I will detail our accommodation (another Airbnb).

Still to come: Days 5-7 of our road trip plus 2 bonus days of adventure!

Iceland Road Trip: Days 1 (Reykjavík to Vík) & 2 (Vík to Höfn)

They say Iceland is the land of fire & ice. This is the truth. I found, in general, the south is the land of ice and the north is the land of fire.

First day in Iceland

I landed in Iceland in the afternoon on a Thursday and we collected our rental car from Sixt at the airport. We were very lucky – we originally booked one of their cheaper cars (Chevy Cruze) but since they didn’t have it when we arrived, they upgraded us to an Opel Insignia for free. That car literally costs twice as much per day as what we paid!! I do recommend booking your car online in advance like we did – it should save you quite a bit of money. Don’t worry about purchasing insurance in advance – we were able to add it on when we were there collecting the car.

We made our way from Keflavík to Reykjavík (45 minute drive). We didn’t have much planned for today, we just wanted to load up our car with groceries and supplies and get organised for our road trip, which would start tomorrow. We read Bónus is the cheapest grocery store in Iceland but we got there just as they closed at 6pm. We saw a 10-11 but knew this was the most expensive grocery store in the country, so we kept driving and found a Krónan shop. We bought apples, 3 bags of pasta, pasta sauce, nutella, rice cakes, bananas, peanut butter, chickpeas, rice, crackers, TONS of granola bars, protein bars, tea, gum, fig newtons and TP. We ended up eating almost all of the food and the supply lasted for the trip.

We went for a rest before driving into Reykjavík to see the Hallgrímskirkja church for the first time. I’ve seen a LOT of churches around the world and this is by far the coolest-looking one I’ve ever seen.

Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja

Something to keep in mind, before I get into details, for those of you planning to do a road trip around Iceland (and I will reiterate this over and over): You cannot possibly do the full Ring Road (Route 1) in less than 7 full days (if you want to see most of the sights), but I would highly recommend a minimum of 10. We did it in 7 but everyone we talked to was very impressed by this and said that is hard to do. It did seem rushed at times and we had very long days (easy to do with the midnight sun!). If you have more time, definitely make sure to rent a 4×4 vehicle because there is so much more to see off the Ring Road!

Day 1 (of our road trip) – Reykjavík to Vík

Before we got on the road, I went to Vodafone to buy an Icelandic SIM card. We went to the headquarters and oh my GOSH. I highly recommend going here just to see how impressive this place is. 1) Easily the largest phone store I have ever been in 2) Most gorgeous employees on the planet 3) Immaculate, impressive place and 4) If you make any purchase, you can get as much coffee and/or tea as you want. SAY WHAT?! I had the BEST cappuccino I’ve EVER had at Vodafone in Reykjavík. She put amaretto syrup in it and it was truly unbeatable.

We accidentally missed the Golden Circle, but I wasn’t too disappointed because it’s very touristy and crowded (especially in summer) and I knew we would be seeing plenty of incredible sights on our trip. I do wish we could have seen Geysir and the Kerið crater, though – next time!

When you are doing the drive from Reykjavík to Vík, do not be concerned. We drove for 1 hour and 40 minutes until we saw our first sight. Before coming to Iceland, I read so many blogs saying “you’ll be stopping your car every 5 minutes” because of the beauty, and I felt like we were on the wrong road because we hadn’t stopped AT ALL. When in Iceland, if you also find yourself in this position at this point of the trip, do not worry. Things will change.

I was also slightly panicked in the beginning because unless you know the names of the sights you want to see, it’s not always obvious where you should stop or when you should turn and go down a long gravel road.

Our first stop: Seljalandsfoss (waterfall). It took us approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to get here.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

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Today was a day for chasing waterfalls. The sun was shining and it was beautiful outside (54F, 12C). We saw a rainbow close to the waterfall, which I sadly do not have any photos of. The mist was too strong to use my camera and I forgot my GoPro in the car. By the time I went back to the car to get my GoPro, the rainbow was gone.

Next stop: Skógafoss (waterfall). We hiked to the top and stayed up there for quite awhile while the guys went for an adventurous walk.

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

We made it to Vík, ate dinner and checked into our guesthouse at 9pm.

Accommodation: Skammidalur Guesthouse

This guesthouse is in a lovely location, not far from Vík at all. I was mostly impressed with this place except for the bathroom situation. Only one toilet, one sink and one shower for the entire ground floor to share. At least the shower is separate from the toilet. Keep in mind: the majority of guesthouses in Iceland have shared bathrooms, which is fine, but only one is not okay.

Day 2 – Katla Super Jeep trip; Vík to Höfn – our busiest day!

We started our day bright and early with a Mountain Excursion Super Jeep trip to Katla with our guide, Aron. This trip was 4 hours and I HIGHLY recommend it. I originally really wanted to go with Katla Track, but they were fully booked well in advance. Luckily, I found Mountain Excursion because seeing Katla was very important to me. It ended up being one of the most beautiful places I saw in Iceland.

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6 passengers fit in the Jeep (my group + 2 others) and the trip was good fun. If you go on a Super Jeep tour, please be smart and wear your seatbelt. We nearly got thrown around with our seatbelts on (I’m exaggerating, but the terrain is extremely rough!!). Katla is one of the most powerful, active and dangerous volcanoes in Iceland and is due to erupt. It last erupted in 1918 and usually erupts every 50-100 years. Katla is underneath the Myrdalsjökull glacier.

I matched Katla (not on purpose)

I matched Katla (not on purpose)

The area surrounding Katla is simply breathtaking. There are stunning mountains covered in the greenest moss you’ve ever seen, contrasted with beautiful black shimmery sand. The Myrdalsjökull glacier looks a bit like a zebra and its colouring is truly gorgeous. All of this with no other people in sight (you cannot get to Katla without a Super Jeep). We ate 800 year old ice from the glacier and it was so unbelievably fresh. I saw a mountain completely covered in green moss with the exception of one area not covered in moss in the perfect shape of a heart. It made my day and I only wish I could have gotten a photo of it! But my lens probably would have smashed against the window of the Jeep.

Aron going to collect ice from the glacier for us

Aron going to collect ice from the glacier for us

Ice from the glacier (we ate the inside - very clean)

Ice from the glacier (we ate the inside – very clean)

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Haunted house near Katla

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Taken from inside a cave near Katla – raven-shaped cut out above the entrance to the cave

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Driving through a river in the Super Jeep

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Stunning black beach

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The most eastern point of Iceland

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Remember when Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010 and caused a massive ash cloud and disruptions to many flights? Aron told us after Eyjafjallajökull erupted, the Icelandic president went on television and said “You’ve seen nothing yet. Wait until Katla erupts”. The entire world will likely see effects of this eruption and since I’m in Ireland, I am sure my world will go completely black. Aron is also on the emergency rescue team and it was interesting hearing his stories about his experiences when Eyjafjallajökull erupted. He said Iceland has no idea how to prepare for a Katla eruption.

After the tour, we went to the Vík i Myrdal Church (aka the cutest church in the world), followed by a black sand beach near Vík.

Vík i Myrdal Church

Vík i Myrdal Church

Vik

Vik

Black sand beach

Black sand beach

We made a quick stop at Laufskalavarda to see the stone piles.

“Laufskálavarða is a lava ridge, surrounded by stone cairns, between the Hólmsá and Skálmá Rivers, close to the road north of Álftaver. Travellers crossing the desert of Mýrdalssandur for the first time would pile stones up to make a cairn, which was supposed to bring them good fortune on the journey.” Source

Laufskalavarda

Laufskalavarda

We then made a quick stop to see the ruins of the Gigjukvisl Bridge. This bridge was destroyed in 1996 when “the volcano under the Grímsvötn lakes belonging to the Vatnajökull glacier erupted, and the river Skeiðará flooded the land” – a glacial lake outburst flood. Source

Gigjukvisl Bridge

Gigjukvisl Bridge

Our next major stop was Fjallsárlón – a glacial lagoon, which is less crowded and lesser known than our next stop, Jökulsárlón. These 2 sights are the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life. For some reason, I never thought I’d see icebergs and during the time we spent there, I didn’t feel like I was on Earth. My excitement was unbounded at both of these locations.

Fjallsárlón

Fjallsárlón

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I have a thing for ice.

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We got lucky and literally had Jökulsárlón to ourselves, even though we’ve heard it can get very crowded, especially in summer. They do boat rides at both locations (I think), but not on weekends, which is sadly when we were there. I would have loved to get even closer to the glaciers. Fjallsárlón was absolutely freezing and the arctic winds were hard to handle. Jökulsárlón was eerily warm and any wind was completely blocked. It was amazing (and a bit sad) to see icebergs at Jökulsárlón breaking and falling over. The sound was extremely loud, like a gunshot. In a funnier moment, we witnessed a massive iceberg fall over and then right itself again a few minutes later. There were a few icebergs at Jökulsárlón that were such a beautiful deep blue. Right before we left Jökulsárlón, we witnessed a large flock of arctic birds make their way across the land and go for a swim in a line. I am not sure what type of birds they were – they definitely weren’t puffins. It was very difficult to leave, especially since even while at the glaciers, I knew without a doubt that this would be the highlight of the trip for me. There were so many more amazing sights to come, of course, but this was number one for me. And it was only day 2!

Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

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Arctic birds

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I didn’t want to leave, but we had passed the point of starvation and snacks weren’t doing it anymore. We were desperate for an N1 or any source of real food but, alas, no such luck. We still had an hour to drive before we made it to Hofn and found our trusty N1 and bought “appetisers” to hold us over until we found our accommodation for the night. We were lost. We called our host and his directions didn’t make sense to us so we ended up driving back and forth until he came to rescue us and we followed him to our gorgeous accommodation that night.

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I had intentions of being able to describe exactly how to get to this place, but I forgot to write these directions down and they are long gone in my memory now, so for this I apologise. Just know that if you decide to stay here, it is worth the search! Just make sure you have a working mobile phone to call the host because you WILL get lost. It is not on Google Earth and cannot be found on any GPS.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Birkifell

Our accommodation in Höfn

Our accommodation in Höfn

We finally arrived at 10:30pm and decided to boil water to make pasta. The water LITERALLY took 1 hour and 45 minutes to boil – so we ate dinner at 12:30am!! But it was really nice to finally have a home-cooked meal together.

Our slightly full trunk/boot, strategically packed every morning!

Our slightly full trunk/boot, strategically packed every morning!

Still to come: days 3-7 of our road trip + 2 bonus days full of adventure!

Days 3 & 4

How expensive is Iceland (in summer)?

I returned from my incredible road trip around Iceland last Sunday. I am going to be posting many blog posts about this trip, but first up is expense.

Iceland in summer is expensive. Very expensive. It’s easily the most I’ve ever spent in a 10 day period. Having said that, I spent a lot less than I thought I would. Let me break it down for you (all prices are in USD, and I travelled with 3 other people):

ACCOMMODATION   =   $690 total (average of $69 per night)

You can definitely find accommodation for cheaper than we did – hostels do exist in most of the country, but I simply cannot stay in dorm rooms anymore. Since I knew we would be having very long days, I wanted nice places for us to relax and sleep at the end of the day. We mostly booked Airbnb apartments, but we also had a couple guesthouses, which we booked on booking.com. I will detail some of my favourite places we stayed in future blog posts. I spent 10 nights in Iceland, 2 of which were on my own (single rooms), 2 of which there were 3 of us and 6 of which there were 4 of us splitting the cost. I spent a total of $690 on accommodation for myself.

Our gorgeous accommodation in Höfn, Iceland

Our gorgeous accommodation in Höfn, Iceland

FOOD    =   $186

We went grocery shopping once and got supplies for the 4 of us and we spent $83.92 ($20.98 per person). We got things such as: granola & protein bars, pasta & sauce, rice, chick peas, toilet paper, bananas, apples, fig newtons. This lasted us our whole trip! We were very proud of ourselves.

Side note: the smallest pack of TP we could find consisted of 9 rolls – we never opened it! I had tissues with me and nature only called twice when we weren’t near a toilet.

We ate a LOT of hot dogs. They are truly delicious, and at $3 – $4 per hot dog, they are by far the cheapest food option in the country. We also ate a lot of petrol station pre-made sandwiches (tuna!) and they were quite nice. If you’re road tripping around Iceland, the N1 petrol station will quickly become your favourite. After only a couple days, it felt like home!

My love for N1 knows no bounds

My love for N1 knows no bounds

We ate out more than I thought we would, but never anywhere even slightly fancy (way too expensive!). I ate at Subway 3 times and we ate meals out such as: noodles, burritos, pitas and burgers.

I bought Skyr (an Icelandic dairy product that is supposedly cheese but tastes very similar to Greek yogurt) every day.

CAR   =   $1,420.49 ($355.12 per person)

We had the car for 7 days. This price included a GPS, Internet-to-go, as well as the best insurance we could buy (gravel insurance, sand & ash insurance, etc.). There were many times on the gravel roads that we were very thankful we purchased good insurance!

PETROL   =   $205 ($51.25 per person)

Our car (a brand new luxury Opel Insignia – thank you Sixt!) got excellent gas mileage. We fully expected to pay MUCH more than we did for fuel, especially considering the fact that we drove an impressive 2,100 miles!! P1130113 ACTIVITIES  =   $437.85

Whale watching: $68

Katla SuperJeep tour: $178

Inside the Volcano: $291.85 (but I redeemed $100 from rewards on my credit card)

I will be detailing these wonderful adventures in future posts.

EXTRA TRANSPORT (Taxi, Bus)   =   $76.50

MISC  =   $90

I went to Vodafone and bought a SIM card and we bought a car charger for all of our devices. I also bought postcards & stamps which were CRAZY expensive! ($13.76 for 4 stamps and 7 postcards) – etc., etc.

= bringing the grand total to $1,856.47 (minus flights)!

In summary, we travelled around Iceland mostly on a budget, except for accommodation. It is possible to go to Iceland without a fortune! This took lots of planning, but can be done.

Is anyone else planning to go to Iceland any time soon?

In case any of you are wondering what I spent on my flights:

FLIGHTS    = €215 (Euro)

I flew WOW Air (a budget Icelandic airline) from Dublin and got a very good deal. I booked it at the end of March for €125 round-trip. Of course, since WOW is the most strict airline I’ve ever flown (much more strict than Ryanair), I did end up paying a lot extra for luggage – €90 extra to be exact. This was partially my fault and was avoidable for the most part. When I booked my flight, I paid the additional €28 to have a heavier carry-on bag (since they only give you 7kg for free) – because at the time, I planned on travelling carry-on only. As time passed, I realised I wanted to bring a daypack and since I (very sadly) do not have the handy Tortuga daypack yet (it REALLY would have come in handy on this trip!), I needed to check my handy dandy Tortuga V2 in order to carry my daypack on the plane. They are very strict and only allow 1 bag on the plane with no option to purchase a personal item to carry on. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Side note: The currency in Iceland is the króna and cash isn’t needed in most places. They accept credit cards just about everywhere – even for a small purchase such as a hot dog. The only places I had to pay cash were a couple guesthouses and one of my tour guides.

Beautiful June

June was the best month of my life – I had the most beautiful time with my family. They came to visit me in Ireland and it was our first time together outside of the U.S. My sister was here for 1 month and my parents were here for 2 of those weeks.

As a family, we did a bit of sight-seeing in Dublin, ate lots of nice meals, spent time with a few of my friends, hired a car to spend a day in Wicklow and travelled to Galway and the Aran Islands and stayed in a B&B on Inis Mór one night. My sister and I went to lots of places together – among the highlights: Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Cork, Blarney Castle, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast and we even spent 3 days in Amsterdam. It was an extremely busy but extraordinarily beautiful month. Seeing how much they also love my “home country” literally meant everything to me and completed my love for Ireland.

Dún Aonghasa - Inis Mór, Ireland

Dún Aonghasa – Inis Mór, Ireland

I now genuinely feel like I am going through the worst breakup/heartbreak of my life. My sister was the last to leave yesterday, and ever since then, my heart literally feels like it was shattered into a million pieces. I am so thankful for the time spent with my family, but it is so sad to be alone after I spent every second with my sister (/best friend) for a whole month.

I will go into details in my next blog post, but I felt I was very overdue to publish at least a small update! I pretty much unplugged for this past month and it was lovely.

I am tired and am very deserving of downtime and “me” time. It’s only June and this has easily been the busiest year of my life thus far. From the 2nd of January until the 5th of June, I was literally slaving away on assignments for my Master’s degree. It felt like it was never going to end! 3 major essays, a group presentation, a massive portfolio and my dissertation proposal and I finished it all just in time – the day before my parents arrived in Ireland. I have one more portfolio to complete before the end of August but other than that, I finally have a break until year 2 begins in September. Before then, I am really in need of a sun getaway where I can spend a few days in the sun doing absolutely nothing! Though we are currently experiencing a heat wave in Dublin and I am roasting!! It’s rough without air conditioning!!

In other news, I simply cannot believe I returned from my round the world trip exactly 1 year ago today. Funny timing since my sister ended her travel journey exactly one year after I did (I left Lima on the 27th and she left Dublin on the 27th).

This past year has flown by – much faster than any other year. I am now preparing for my trip to Iceland! I leave in less than 2 weeks. Though I must say, planning this trip is more stressful than planning my RTW trip was, which I did not think was possible! I am hoping the exquisite landscape will all be worth it, and I am sure it will.

My Top 3 Travel Bucket List Destinations

It’s tough to choose only 3! These are the ones at the top of my list, the new destinations I think about more often than others. My top 3 travel bucket list destinations are…

1. Iceland (Road trip in summer)

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I’m happy to say I am officially going to Iceland this July! My trip is booked! I will be there from July 9th-19th. 7 day road trip, 3 days in Reykjavik. I will be driving the whole Ring Road and am hoping to also get off the beaten track a little bit. I want to see the incredible greenery around the island, the impressive waterfalls and the Katla Volcano. I’m also ready to experience all four seasons in one day! I already experience that here in Ireland quite often, but have heard that it’s even more extreme in Iceland. I still haven’t planned any of my specific activities/day tours while I’m there – what activities do you think are must-do’s? Snorkeling/diving under the midnight sun? Whale watching? I’m up for anything! Also, other than hot dogs, what should I eat?!

2. Japan

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I have always had a fascination with the Japanese culture. I want to see the amazing diversity of Japan – the bustling, bright cities and the gorgeous countryside. I want to go “all out” and really get into the fashion (kimonos!). And let’s be honest, I want to eat the best sushi in the world! It would also simply delight me to be able to visit my Japanese friends whom I met on my round the world trip last year.

3. Northern Lights in Scandinavia (Sweden/Finland/Norway/Denmark)

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Who doesn’t dream of seeing the Northern Lights at some point in their life? For those of you wondering, I will not see the Lights in Iceland this year because they are not viewable during summer. I’ve always wanted to see them in Scandinavia anyway. Doing a husky safari has also been at the top of my bucket list since I watched Balto as a child, and I’ve heard that Finland is one of the best places to do this once-in-a-lifetime activity. Scandinavia is a region of the world unlike any other and I want to experience its beauty!

P.S. Yes, I am aware that Finland is not an “official” Scandinavian country, but it is in the region and I couldn’t miss it while in that part of the world!

Runners-up: New Zealand, Antarctica, Tuscany (cooking classes, sun!, riding a bike through the rolling hills, vineyards, ultimate relaxation), Backpacking South America

My competition entry for #TransunLights @Transun

Summer 2015 Goals

As of Friday, I will officially be half-way finished with my Master’s degree. I cannot believe how time has flown by. Since my summer is about to begin, I need to hold myself accountable for my upcoming goals. In order to attempt that, I need to write them down.

My goals for summer 2015:

– Improve my Spanish. Whenever someone asks me if I speak a second language, I am highly embarrassed to have to say no. I am sick and tired of it. There is absolutely no reason why there are so many bi/multi-lingual people in the world and I can’t be one of them. I took 4 years of Spanish (2 in high school and 2 in college) and at the time didn’t actually want to learn, I only enrolled because it was a requirement. When I went to Peru last June, everything changed. I really want to speak Spanish fluently so am going to enroll in lessons this summer. After I master Spanish, I want to learn Italian.

– Volunteer and gain work experience. I need to make myself more marketable so I’ve reached out to a few organizations to gain some work experience this summer. I want to help the long-term unemployed (including the homeless, early school leavers, etc.) find work.

– Work more hours. I need to start earning some money!

– Figure out what topic I want to do my dissertation on. This is overwhelming but is a must! My dissertation proposal is due in September, at the start of the term.

– Travel. I’m looking to book my trip to Iceland this week. I’ve already booked a trip to Amsterdam with my sister. I’d also like to return to Italy this summer or early fall. I’m hoping to return to Paris with K at the end of summer where we will simply eat ourselves to happiness. I would also like to finally visit Kilkenny.

– Eat healthier and start an exercise routine. I said this in my New Year’s post and have not started yet. I had some health issues that prevented me from starting an exercise routine before now, but there is no excuse for the unhealthy eating. I am tired of feeling like crap on the inside and want to lead a healthier lifestyle. If anyone has any nutrition tips that helped you get started, as obvious as they may seem, please do share. I’ve done this before but feel like I am starting over.

– Be outside as much as possible and enjoy the gorgeous summer weather that Ireland has to offer. Growing up in Florida, summer was always a dreadful thing and never anything to look forward to. It’s the complete opposite here in Ireland.

What goals do you have for the summer?