Transatlantic Tuesday

"Hi my name is Sigga and I'm 26 years old mother of four children from the age 2 to 13 years old. We live in Iceland. Iceland is small nation, a beautiful country that many people dream about because they want to see our beautiful country. I think if people want to visit Iceland now is the time :-) because the currency is so cheap now, it has been falling down fast and I really don't think he is at the bottom yet. This is going to get worse. The currency is still falling and our nation is on good way to be bankruptcy..."
- from Iceland Says (bold + big added by me)

That really was the catalyst for the entire trip. That, and a lack of solid Thanksgiving break plans. Because, well, yes, I did want to visit Iceland -

And what if I just WENT?

So that was the seed planted in my head, and when I found out that I could get to Iceland and back for only about $800, it started growing.

I really don't do things like this usually - take off to a foreign country on a couple days' notice - which is what made it all the more appealing. What if I did more than just imagine it this time? I had a seriously hard time sleeping with that thought in my head!

I talked to a friend of mine who is few years older and asked for her thoughts. She said two things that stuck with me:
- that international travel is the kind of thing it's nearly impossible to regret
- that I should pray about the decision - and then wait and see if doors started opening

So I did. And within a couple days, basically all the important doors had swung open.

I had spoken to my professors about missing classes (I would save $300-$400 on airfare by coming back the Wednesday after Thanksgiving rather than that weekend), and they had responded positively.

Airfare had not gone up since I had first looked at it.

I had obtained my parents' blessing - and let me tell you, I did not expect that.

So that's where I was when I posted about it for the first time, with this outrageous idea become a real possibility.

And obviously, I decided for it. :)

So Monday night, I packed a duffel and a borrowed backpack, and the next morning, I set off by train to the aiport. I flew from Chicago to New York, where I had the agonizing experience of being within sight of the Manhattan skyline but unable to leave the airport.

The arrow is pointing at the Empire State Building.


I amused myself by photographing the laptop camper by his outlet. I think he noticed me, in spite of my stealth.


Then when he left I took his outlet for my iPod and its decrepit battery. Ha. These are my boots. They liked Iceland a lot too.


Once I checked in with Icelandair, I killed some more time in the international terminal (which was disappointingly small, by the way). I was a wee bit terrified once I started seeing real Europeans. Aside from my having forgotten how hot they can be, they were real people, not just ones existing in my head playing out imagined meetings in an imagined city. It only took a couple raggedy-hot boys with their skinny-jeans-and-big-Nikes aesthetic to make me seriously wonder whether my hopes for a good trip were riding purely on fantasy - maybe that doesn't make sense, but that's how my head works.

Traveling alone has (in my very limited experience) a way of teaching you to trust yourself, but I forgot that that happens because sometimes doubts and worries crowd around you and you have to push them away or be paralyzed.

Am I really up to this? I wondered. Well, there was no other, more able me whom I could pick to send to Iceland - I was however much I was, and that would have to be enough. So I sat at my gate, gawking at the blondest of my fellow travelers and listening to what I could only assume was Icelandic. I tried to take some deep breaths in my journal, writing to myself about a pretend certainty that the trip would be good, about the faith I wasn't sure I felt in myself and my abilities, and in God and his presence with me. And they were a little less imaginary when I pulled my nose out of my journal.

That evening, I boarded a plane run by Viking stewardesses, and flew through and out of the night. I landed in Iceland at Keflavík International Airport early on Wednesday morning.

14 comments:

odessa 12/07/2008 9:45 PM  

oh cuileann, my heart was beating really fast while reading this. because like you, i also have 'a thing' for europeans and i can only imagine how surreal it must be surrounded by the hottest of them. i'm waiting in anticipation for the next installment! :)

Nerd Goddess 12/07/2008 9:55 PM  

Oh, wow, so cool! I can't wait to continue to hear about this trip. It sounds like it was awesome. :)

Cassandra 12/07/2008 9:56 PM  

Laptop camper and I have the same laptop. ^_^

YES. Hot Europeans?? I hope you got stealthy pictures of them, too...

Breathlessly awaiting your next update! :D

mermaid 12/07/2008 10:03 PM  

forgive me for being totally out in the dark, but how exactly did the entire country go bankrupt?! that is horrible. the people of iceland will be in my heart and on my mind.

i hope things take a turn for the better.

oh - and this is awesome!!! i can't wait to read more.

Summermoon 12/08/2008 3:35 AM  

I love hearing (reading?) about this and cannot wait until the next installment!

wilsonian 12/08/2008 3:56 AM  

It is so fantastic that you did this!! I think we tend to regret far more things we didn't do than things we do... so good on you for going for it!!

sparkleandglitter 12/08/2008 5:31 AM  

Wow, I agree with what everyone else said, it's brilliant that you did this! I'd thought about I'd miss too much work so it wouldn't happen practically.

What a marvellous trip though, I'm so glad you had the oppertunity and decided to take it!

Q 12/08/2008 5:47 AM  

This reminds me how much I need to get a passport.

Tree Rat Girl 12/08/2008 10:11 AM  

So cool! The only international trip I get to go on is to Mexico, which is like a seven hour drive and a passport. That sounds so awesome.

MismatchedSockGirl 12/08/2008 1:40 PM  

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

This is SO exciting!!!

*waits eagerly by computer for the next chapter in Cuileann's Great Iceland Adventure....

Countrybelle 12/08/2008 4:38 PM  

those boots are awesome!
planning a trip and actually doing it on a moment's notice has to be one of the most thrilling feelings in the world. i hope this has given you the taste for it for the rest of your life. can't wait to hear more...

Sarah Louise 12/09/2008 6:07 AM  

You are my hero. I did wonder, WHY ICELAND. Very cool that you just did this. Excited to read more.

xo,
SL

Erin 12/09/2008 9:29 PM  

I got chills reading this.
You are my hero.
I want to be you when I grow up.

cuileann 12/10/2008 12:20 AM  

Cassandra - Sadly I don't think I did capture any hot Europeans on film...sorrow. :(

mermaid - I don't understand it that well myself, but I think the trouble was due primarily to all three main banks failing due to trouble refinancing debt. I don't know the story much further than that, though.

Countrybelle - Thanks! And oh, it definitely has!

You guys make me so happy. :)

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