It’s time to get back to travelling.

Due to the nature of the last two years, I tried to avoid getting too excited about the idea of going on holiday. I guess that was down to having three trips cancelled in the first year of the pandemic. I managed to get a quick city break to Budapest in just before the Omicron variant brought in a whole new wave of restrictions across Europe.

But when it comes to adventure travel, the truth is, I didn’t know when I would next be reunited with my passport ready to put some more miles on my soul.

One thing was for certain, I didn’t expect it to be as soon as February 2022. Even when the clock struck midnight on December 31st. Because, rather excitingly, this trip to Iceland was booked just two weeks before the flight took off out of Gatwick Airport.

Touchdown in Reykjavik

I’d always wanted to visit Iceland. Everyone I know who has been is full of praise for it, even my mum, who isn’t the biggest travel enthusiast, loved it.

Without further ado, let’s see what I thought of Iceland and what it did for me.

Touchdown in Reykjavik

I want to share some facts about Iceland before we get started…

  1. 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers.
  2. Drinking beer was illegal in Iceland between 1915 and 1989.
  3. 1 in 10 people in Iceland publishes a book.

We had a few tours booked for our stay in Iceland, which I’ll come back to later on, but they all departed from the same bus stop across the centre of Reykjavik. Therefore we deemed it a sensible decision to wander towards that end of the city so we knew where it was, stopping by anything that drew our attention along the way.

Reykjavik had a lot of character to it which I really liked. In terms of the cold, we were well prepared with waterproof walking boots and thermal layers. For me, the cold feeling compared to walking around a ski resort after a day on the slopes.

Our hotel was nice and central, meaning everything was within walking distance. The furthest we travelled on foot was to the city’s ‘Perlan’ museum. The museum teaches you all about the geological history of this fascinating country. It has a northern lights show in their planetarium as well as a 100m indoor ice cave before you get to the viewing platform with 360-degree views.

Perlan’s ice cave

Prior to travelling to Iceland, I was constantly been told how expensive it was. And one of the questions I’ve been asked the most is if this is true. The honest answer is it’s as expensive as you want it to be. The day trips and activities are about as expensive as you expect. While beer will set you back £8, if you want to visit for the sake of ‘the sesh’ then obviously it will cost you a fair bit.

£8 worth of Icelandic lager

South Iceland | Waterfalls, Glaciers and Black Sand Beach

This was the first of a couple of day tours we had booked. It was highly recommended to my partner by one of her friends – it didn’t disappoint.

As much as I love a city break – particularly in Europe – I would say my favourite holidays are those surrounded by nature. My Norwegian road trip in 2019, skiing holidays in the mountains, hiking around the Peruvian Andes and the stunning glaciers, fjords and national parks of New Zealand to name a few.

It was an early start on our first full day in Iceland – up at 6:30 for an 8:00 pick up on the other side of the city. After that, we were taken as far as the most southern point of this most Northern country. Stopping at waterfalls, glaciers and black sanded beaches along the way.

I think any words I put here will struggle to do this stunning scenery justice so instead, I’m going to put in a handful of pictures.

It’s been less than a month since this wonderful day in Iceland and it’s already one that I know I will look back on fondly. It was one of those days where I kept thinking ‘now, this feels like proper travelling again’. In a way it felt like I was reunited with an old friend. Similar to when Tobey Maguire walked through the portal in Spiderman: No Way Home.

Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is one of the more popular day trips for tourists visiting Iceland. It was originally included in our Tui package as one of the two excursions.

The day started with another 6:30am wake-up call for an 8:00am start. However, the weather took a turn for the worse and was not ideal. It was effectively a blizzard unlike anything we ever see in the UK. The winds put Storm Eunice to shame. After driving for an hour we arrived at a service station to assess the situation. Sadly, it was out of our control and all tours were cancelled for the day. All roads out of Reykjavik – other than those leading to the airport – were closed.

I wasn’t too gutted if I’m honest. I’ve lost count of how many of these day tours i’ve been and this is the first that has ever been cancelled. Having visited more than 25 countries I can’t really ask for much more.

Another reason I’m not losing sleep over it is because the mini bus we were crammed onto was tiny. I feel like tiny is being generous. It was honestly miniscule and we were all sardined in. Plus there was a British tourist who didn’t fancy wearing a mask. He also didn’t see the need for headphones anymore. I was on this mini bus for 60 minutes and I already heard too many tik-toks played out loud. Suffice to say I didn’t fancy eight hours of it.

We were returned to Reykjavik (much closer to our hotel) where my partner and I reassed our options. Instead of sulking about it we had a lovely day in the capital which consisted of swimming, lovely food and live music.

Iceland

There is so much I loved about my first visit to Iceland. I loved the stunning landscapes the country has to offer. I loved the people, and I also enjoyed the snow. It’s a truly stunning country that has so much to offer.

There are two other things I want to mention that made this holiday so spectacular. The first is how the act of spontaneity played into it. As I mentioned at the very start of this post, this trip was booked just two weeks before departure. The last time I did that was in 2014 for a skiing trip to Italy. Back then my list of responsibilities was a lot slimmer – I was essentially still a kid.

Fast forward eight years, I have a mortgage and other bills to pay, adulting is in full swing and the big three zero is getting alarmingly close. Yet I still managed to book this getaway with 14 days notice.

To be honest, it wasn’t something I’ve given a lot of thought over the years. But I am so glad I live a life where I can be spontaneous like that. Although I’m always preaching the importance of structure and routine to our lives, for me, the ability to be spontaneous is what adds that slice of excitement.

Back to travelling

The final thing I want to mention is something that meant a lot to me – it felt NORMAL.

There were still restrictions in place in Iceland, but they didn’t really affect our plans at all. Masks also had to be worn in shops and on transport but I don’t think that is going away anytime soon, plus, with temperatures below freezing a lot of the time, the mask was actually quite nice.

There were countless times when I had to pinch myself because it felt like travelling was back to normal, which is something I had missed so dearly over the last two years. It is without doubt the thing that has had the biggest positive impact on my mental health, and something I can’t wait to do more of in the future.

I’ll write another post about Iceland in the next few days, which will be a lot shorter. It was one of the few experiences in my life that I would describe as perfect. And something I can’t wait to tell you about – the Sky Lagoon.

Thanks, Iceland
Like what you see? Please take a look at some of my other travel posts below
First trip abroad since the pandemic: Budapest
A love letter to New Zealand
Peru: Four years since Machu Picchu
South America throwback: Bolivia
South America throwback: Brazil and Argentina
Other Links
Mind website
Cork Ironman
Back to travelling: Four nights in Iceland

Jordan Camp


I’ve been sharing my writing with the world since 2015. Back then it was about travel, then I transitioned into wellbeing and mental health awareness. Soon after I was being paid for it as I wrote about sports, politics and, of course, the pandemic. My words have been published in the i, Mancunian Matters and a number of the South West London associated publications. In 2021 I ran my first marathon, for the UK mental health charity, Mind. I currently live in Essex where I am training to become an Ironman.


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