Where I’ve Been Lately

So it’s been a few months since I’ve posted last. It’s been an incredible adventure involving climbing actual mountains as well as mental ones.

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In Iceland summiting my first mountain! I’ve done tons of hikes with scrambles, but this one involved some super intense and technical scrambling to get to the rocky and windy top. – http://www.PhotoKirk.net

 

In June it was Germany for my boyfriend’s family celebrations and then Italy where we had delicious Brunello di Montalcino wine, made with the lush Sangiovese grape, paired with freshly shaved truffles on everything. Simply divine!

 

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Freshly shaven truffles made their appearance at every meal.

After being back for a few weeks I found myself in Portland, Oregon. The waterfalls and mossy green surroundings are just beautiful! While I was there, I had a lot of time to think. Things were great, but something was off. I was juggling too many things at once and something had to give. Well, actually it turned out to be a few things.

 

You see, I believe in being fully present. I believe in giving 100% to whatever your current focus is. I also believe in course-corrections. Sometimes it’s harder to explain the change of direction to others than it is to actually make the change itself. And yet, being true to oneself is so very important. After all, it’s your life. Only you can decide what’s best for you.

 

So  I took Oprah’s advice and got “very still.” I asked myself what was it that I’d do if I wasn’t afraid? What opportunity had I thought of that always got shot down out of fear of failure? And then, just as I’ve encouraged you to do, I started. I took one baby step, then another, and then a giant leap! I can tell you I don’t regret it!

 

Shortly afterwards, I hopped on a plane to Iceland with my boyfriend, Kevin. We rented an RV and drove around the entire Island in 17 days. It was incredible! Iceland is a rugged and wild country, with friendly people, majestic waterfalls at every turn, and beautiful horses just waiting for you to stop and pet (read: feed) them. I’m in love! As soon as I got back I started planning our next Iceland adventure!

 

If you like hiking and nature, you absolutely have to go. You won’t be alone, though!  It’s hugely popular with Americans and Germans, but the further from the Golden Circle you get, the more remote and wild it is. If you’re a photographer, what the heck are you doing NOT going? It’s a photographer’s paradise!

 

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About 1/3 into our 16k (~10 mile) hike in Thorsmurk. The best hike we’ve ever done. Super challenging as well.

 

I made sure to plan all our evening stops at the most beautiful place I could find for star/ Aurora Borealis photos. We went in September and every clear night we saw the northern lights! (Of course, it was only 5 out of 17 days…)

 

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The Kirkjufell mountain. A truly iconic mountain in Iceland. We had to take a gravel road here that should have taken us about an hour but ended up taking is 3 hours because it was in such poor condition. We missed sunset here but we got the Aurora!

 

I will warn you, though, that they have changed their laws about camping recently. You can no longer just camp anywhere. However, we found there are a lot of campsites and frankly, if you’re in the middle of nowhere, no one cares, anyway. The closer to the Golden Circle you are, the more knocks you’ll get on the door at 10pm telling you to leave. Of course, midnight is when the stars are out so if you just explain you’re taking star photos and they see all your gear, they should leave you alone.

 

Let me know if you have any questions about driving around Iceland. I learned a lot on this trip and I’d be happy to help you avoid some of the struggles we had. And now, more pictures from Iceland courtesy of my incredibly talented boyfriend, Kevin. (You can find his page and and even order prints at http://www.PhotoKirk.net  All these pictures belong to him.)

 

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Our tour guide put this hat and puffin on my head. What’s a girl to do but go with it and smile! Puffins are so cute!
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I even got to hold a baby puffin! They’re so FLUFFY!
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Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. It’s right on the water and the lights change color over time. The blue is my favorite.
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Iceland is known for it’s hotdogs. Their meat is totally free-range and so good. It’s a blend of lamb, beef, and pork. I love the crunchy onion topping
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Puffins in the wild in the Westman Islands. (Yes, Iceland the island has other smaller islands) They are so clumsy and cute!
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One of the thousands of waterfalls we saw. Seriously, THOUSANDS! This was one of the most impressive, though. It’s called Seljalandsfoss. I was still in the RV sleeping when he took this pic. LOL
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This was off of a horrible gravel road that (non 4×4) rental vehicles are not allowed to go on. We had to park at a farmer’s house and ask for permission first and then walk 2 miles (both ways) to this. It was worth it though. The water is so impossibly blue and we had it all to ourselves! (A rarity now that Iceland is so popular)
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I was driving the RV in the middle of nowhere and Kevin made me pull over when we saw this. Just beautiful!
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This waterfall isn’t very tall but it’s super long. This is just a small impressive subsection of it. The water is super blue here too. It’s called the Hraunfossar.
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Part of the Hraunfossar zoomed in. Fall was just beginning so we saw some beautiful colors towards the end of our trip.
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This was our last evening and our last waterfall in Iceland. It was rainy and cloudy all day but it cleared up just enough for a nice, dramatic sunset picture. I can’t get over how blue the water was here. It looks fake but I assure you it truly looks that blue. It’s called Bruarfoss.
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And because I love it, here’s the Bruarfoss again at a different angle. Truly majestic!

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