Solo Travel and Backpacking Adventure to Iceland

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I decided to go to Iceland on a bit of a whim. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go. I had originally planned to book a flight to Ireland, but when I started looking at flights my mind began wandering.  I eventually ended up at the Salt Lake City airport with a ticket to Iceland in hand.

The flight was long, but soon enough I was getting off the plane at the Reykjavik International Airport in Keflavik and jumping on a bus into the city very late on a Friday night.

And so, the adventure begins. On the bus I began chatting with two guys from Australia and a girl from Vermont. We were talking about our plans and before I knew it, I had made plans to travel to the East along the South Coast with and Australian Surfer/Advertising Photographer, Frenchy, and an Australian Drone Cinematographer, Tim. (The girl from Vermont wanted to join, but only had a short time in Iceland before heading to Sweden and then Spain).

That night, I arrived at my hostel, struggled to fall asleep, and woke ready to explore the city. I jumped on a bike and began making my way around the city. Soon enough, the day was over and I had seen a lot.

Sunday morning arrived and the Australians showed up at my hostel with the camper. I got my things together, brought it all to the camper and we were off.

We started by heading to an area of Iceland called the Golden Circle. It includes a massive waterfall called Gullfoss and an area of geysers that reminded me of Yellowstone. Both of these places were great!

1174732_10151723638757745_2082326470_nWe continued to a place where there are massive fault lines that are filled with a lake. Then we continued through a town called Selfoss to an area called Porkleshofn. Here the two Australians surfed with a local guide company called Arctic Surfers, headed by a guy named Ingor. While they surfed I took a few pictures and walked down the coast to check out a lighthouse.

We hit two more massive waterfalls along the way to a small town called Vik. The area around Vik is great. There is a nature reserve that we checked out above some incredible cliffs with an amazing beach below. These Cliffs that had deteriorated still lingered in a formation out in the water and some including beautiful arches caused by the ocean waves.

The beach that Vik sits on was named the most beautiful beach in the world a while back and the black sand and green cliffs definitely emulated it.

1239722_10151725159192745_158360123_nWe continued from Vik to Skaftafell National Park which was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Here we met up with Glacier Guides. Magnus from Glacier Guides took us out onto the glacier and led us to some amazing spots within the ice fall. We spent a the majority of the afternoon filming shots of the glacier with Tim’s drone.

We then went down to the crevasse area and set up gear for ice climbing. Magnus was incredibly experienced and was happy to let me place the ice screws for our climb. We got the rope ready and I was lowered to the bottom of the crevasse. We filmed as I climbed up and was lowered again and again to get various shots for the guide company’s website.

Here are some shots from the trip. Film Credit to Tim Zafir @ SKYSMITH CINEDRONES

Because we were filming shots for the company, our “tour” was a bit unique, but I watched some of the guides from Glacier Guides taking the other tours around the glacier as well. People of all ages were able to experience the beauty of the glacier, and if you want to take an ice climbing tour, Glacier Guides will provide you with the gear and a solid guide, like Magnus, to make sure you have a fun and safe time.

After the glacier trip, we headed over to the guide’s house and hung out. All these local Icelandic guides are so friendly and Erin, the owner, was super accommodating. We had pizza and watched footage of our adventures from earlier that day.

From here we moved on to the iceberg lagoon. We arrived at the beach as the sun was coming up. I definitely recommend this to anyone going to Iceland. The sun shining through the left over icebergs on the black sand beach is something you may only see once in your life.

1229815_10151726992822745_819045658_nI took a long walk along the lagoon as the sun came up and the tide filled the lagoon and went back out again shifting the icebergs and pulling them out to sea.

We continued to Hofn for dinner and filled up gas.

We decided to return to Porkleshofn to meet with the Ingor and the Arctic Surfers. On our way we stopped near Vik and hiked a little ways to a “hot” spring in the mountains. The rain/snow runoff into the hot spring made it feel more or less lukewarm, but it was still way fun!

When we met up with the surfers, the surf wasn’t looking good, so we slept and returned to Reykjavik.

Over a week had passed since I was in this town, and I decided to do some laundry. Once finished, I walked to the bus station and went north to a town called Grundarfjordur, a small town on the peninsula north of Reykjavik. The Hostel was full and the guest house was expensive so I set up camp in the rain and went to bed.

In the morning, I walked to the supermarket and at breakfast and headed down the road toward the national park with my thumb up. Eventually, a friendly girl name Charlotte from Belgium picked me up. She took me to the park and dropped me off.

If wasn’t long after she drove away that I realized this park was very remote. It didn’t really have anything in it. I waved down a car and asked if there was a visitor center or something. They said that it was in the town about 3km away, but it was closed for winter.

They offered to drive me through the park to the other side and drop me off at another town. I agreed, thanked them, and got in.

581582_10151735041662745_1601257139_nThere names were Ola and Pavel, from Russia. They were super friendly and eventually, we made plans to travel North the town of Akureyri together. We continued slowly along, stopping and taking pictures and eventually reached a town called Hofsos.

We woke early to hit the spa here, but in was closed on Sundays, so we kept going until we reached Akureyri and went to the outdoor spa. It was rainy and windy but the spa was warm. It was very interesting for sure.

We spent the day driving around the city and up into the snow of the mountains before turning back and calling it a night. I stayed in a hostel and Ola and Pavel slept in their car.

That night I ran into Ingor from Arctic Surfers at my Hostel (Iceland is a small place), and we sat and chatted for a while before retiring to bed.

In the morning, I returned to Reykjavik with Ola and Pavel and explored the city a bit more. I spent some time relaxing and reading in the park.

I eventually found myself on a bus to the airport and made my way through the sky back home.

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