It’s been over a month since I returned home from Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Over the past many months, the idea of a trip to Iceland went from dream, to wish, to risk, to reality, to memory, and my heart swells thinking of the incredibly journey that I traveled to this mysterious country and within myself on either side of it.
In my last post, I mentioned how my experiences with anxiety have heightened significantly over the past year, and without going into too much detail, it was very much true of my life and experiences this winter. And yet - I had caught the travel bug last summer when B and I traveled to Montreal in July. The experience of going there changed me and built in me new desires to “go” that I wasn’t totally familiar or comfortable with in many ways. And yet. The idea of going to Iceland this year came to live in my mind. And of course, I followed the amazing Helene Magnusson for many years (she is THE Icelandic Knitter for goodness sakes). When I casually mentioned her and we talked about Iceland this spring, my amazing partner immediately responded “You have to go. That’s what you have to do.”
So on my birthday in February, I gave myself by far the biggest birthday present I had ever given myself and we pressed the button to book the Spring Knitting Retreat happening in mid-May in ICELAND. My heart was beating so fast. It didn’t even feel real to do it! But the closer and closer we got, the busier that I got at work this spring, the more I told people that I was going to Iceland in May by myself the more it felt real and the more I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to get to go. Actually, at this point, I was equal parts overwhelmed and terrified, if we’re being honest. I had spent a day in NYC alone, had done day trips outside of Durham, but flying across the Atlantic by myself to meet up with a group of total strangers in a country to which I had never traveled? Oh goodness.
The week that I was set to go was, of course, also one of the busiest weeks of my whole spring. There was so much going on at work, and in preparation to be gone for 9 days, that I barely had time to think, and I ended up packing my entire suitcase the night before. The day of my flight, I triple checked everything, went to work in the morning, and then came home to drive to the airport. My 60L backpack, full for the first time, weighed more than I anticipated and I almost fell over, adjusting to my center of gravity. I checked EVERYTHING one last time, my heart physically pounding, and got in the car to go. I was hot from the many layers I was wearing, preparing to go from 80 F to 40 F in the span of only 12 or so hours, and I nervously chatted with my driver the whole way. Of course, I ended up at the airport much too early, but I was on my way.
I was on my way!