In 2016, a team of four visual creatives + I executed the trip of our dreams to Iceland. It was going to cost thousands, and our first plan of attack was to fundraise through Kickstarter. After successfully raising $30, we decided it wasn’t gonna work. Instead, we worked our tails off that whole year to cover all the costs.
With a broken camera in hand, I was ready to tackle all that is Iceland (like, seriously–I manually focused every single photo). We spent two weeks road-tripping Ring Road, Iceland’s famous highway encircling the whole island. This is our adventure, and how it impacted my life.
A few months after returning from Iceland, I found myself sitting on the dock of my childhood home in Minnesota.
I let my toes dangle into the water, just as I did when I was young, sitting on the dock in solitude. The wind gently caressed my hair as the beautiful sound of the lake in summertime surrounded me.
Slowly I realized I wasn’t sitting there alone, but rather next to the spirit of myself as a little girl. I felt One with her in a new way, as she remained forever on that dock, and I moved along.
Two years ago, a team of four creatives + I took to Iceland in order to let art flow, in all its directions + wildness.
We didn’t have an objective. I was fresh out of college + felt the need to just let creation exist in timeless space.
I never wanted to let go of the free little girl inside of me. And that was a year of holding onto her while the world shoved me in a direction of things unknown, unapologetic, and unkind. I grappled for her with everything in me, holding onto moments in time.
But it was time to exist outside of those memories.
I’ve become a different woman since this time, as my experiences have brought meaning to my creation. Like wildflower petals + herbs soaking in hot water to give it flavor, these vivid moments gained flavor as the days have progressed.
We are bound to time, a creation of man, to define so much of our lives. But in letting go of timelines with this project, I found a new way to give art meaning. I let it soak in time to bring out the flavor, paying no attention to what process came first or last. Art just seeped out of me as a result of feeling, treasuring, relishing–I learned a new way to live.
All of these moments combined in one beautiful, uncontrolled moment, creating the finished piece.
Two years ago, I learned I needed to release my grip on that little girl. I cannot always be her, as much as I want to remain a childlike spirit. If I remain her, I will be free. But like a child, I will grip onto whatever I can find to depend on, needing protection, nourishment, direction, provision.
I will be the victim of afflictions. I will be a powerless actor in a playing field of transgressors. I will be innocent, but I will be ignorant.
If I let time carry me on to grow, I will still be free, but I will also be fierce. I can remain light in the heart, messy in the details, and uncanny in the daily.
But I am the one with capability. I am the voice that speaks power for myself when offenders do not see my worth.
I am the strength that carries myself through darkness.
(Thank you to Redden Wood + Kyle Rassmussen for the shots of myself)
Since finishing school, the only world I knew, to graduate + begin my own business, there has been a transformation in that woman. She became okay with not knowing the answers, with trusting herself, and believing she could pursue her dreams. She even returned from this trip with a negative bank account, and would probably do everything differently–BUT it changed her.
OUR ROUTE OF ADVENTURE
This land is a playground for adults, with what I believe are the most bizarre + awe-inspiring spots to explore in the world. I included the route we took + the places we stopped along the way, because this trip was incredible. It took ten days, and we stayed one or two nights at each stop. If you wanna plan a trip to Iceland, take a look at these locations along Ring Road:
1.) Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital
MUST SEE: The Blue Lagoon
MUST SEE: Barnafossar
3.) DAY TRIP: Kirkjufell
MUST SEE: The spot Ben Stiller skateboard through in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
MUST SEE: Geysir Hot Springs Geothermal Field
MUST SEE: Goðafoss
ON THE WAY: Craters + Sulphur Springs
ON THE WAY: The Old Harbour
EAT AT: Sægreifinn
ON THE WAY: The Icelandic Seal Center
MUST SEE: The Waterfront
*this elopement is styled + Kyle is actually engaged to Carissa, the woman he’s kissing above.
ON THE WAY: The famous abandoned farm
MUST SEE: Vatnajökull National Park + Ice Caves
ON THE WAY: You just may run across some fellow travelers with a flat…
MUST SEE: Kvernufoss + Skogafoss
MUST SEE: The abandoned DC plane on Sólheimasandur
MUST SEE: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
ON THE WAY: Eldhraun Lava Field
We then looped back to Reykjavik, where Ring Road begins + ends. I hope you get to experience Iceland, to dive into an otherworldly place that allows you to explore your story.
Hair Stylist–Carissa Buhl