A journey through the elements
A winter adventure in Iceland - story by Norris Niman.
In the midst of Iceland's turbulent beauty and ever-unpredictable elements, there's a saying that embodies the spirit of resilience and adaptability: "Þetta reddast.". Meaning something like “it will all work out in the end”, this simple yet profound Icelandic phrase is a testament to the unwavering determination to face whatever challenges come for the people living here.
It’s almost impossible to plan an event, a wedding, photo project or a trip out in the wilderness in advance. The sub-arctic storms might come bashing in more often than not, volcanoes can pop up out of nowhere, or the coast might flood, taking your plans with them. If you are trying to plan for the future here, you better roll with the elements or get ready to face them when they come.
This saying shines through in every way on this little island. Embracing "Þetta reddast" in Iceland is not just about surviving; it's about thriving in the face of adversity, finding beauty in the unexpected, and forging a deep connection with the land. It's a reminder that, no matter how fierce the storm, there's usually a way to get through it. But until then, it’s best to just enjoy what we have now.
Camping in Iceland is for exactly those kind of people. While hotels and guesthouses are getting more and more over-booked, plans have been set in stone way in advance, and most tourists just come over to squeeze as many sights as they can into a few days of driving around, simply to check off their Iceland-bucket lists, there is beauty and reward in taking it day by day, just follow the weather, see where you end up and find a campsite whenever you get tired.
Waking up in a tent allows you to sleep until the early afternoon without having to worry about check out times, set out on a hike in the evening to greet the midnight sun on a peak, bask undisturbed in a hot spring in the early morning hours, go to bed when the crowds are just waking up, and repeat.
This doesn’t come without its challenges though. As the weather can be a real drama-queen, you need to gear up. I have woken up floating on my mattress in a collapsed tent after an unpredicted storm, sent rolling down a hill inside my tent by gale force winds, slept wet for a week, and spent nights eating volcanic ash blowing through the gaps in previous tents. Even though the Heimplanet tents might not be lava-proof, and you should still follow the weather carefully to make sure there is no mini-storm between 4-5 am to blow your badly secured tent away, these tents can stand up to the elements, act as a sanctuary in those storms, and make the Þetta Reddast mentality a little easier.
In those moments when the wind is your only companion, and the rugged landscape is your sole witness, you become acutely aware of the bond that connects you to this land. It's more than just the survival; it's about the resilience of the human spirit.
And every now and then, when you’ve fought your way through the storm and made it to the peak with your camera, overlooking what seems like half the island, the wind stops, sky clears, everything slows down, and all that is heard is the sound of your shutter echoing across the lands.
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