Monday, May 20, 2013

Facing Fears: Flying Solo to Iceland

I am not an independent person; I am only adventurous in the loosest sense of the word and I can be a big baby when it comes to traveling arrangements. I'm not afraid to fly, but my muscles tense up when it starts raining and I'm on the Bolt Bus three hours from home. I fear walking through airports and missing connections more than anything else. When I get there, and I always do, eventually, that's when I'm fine.

Packing up three weeks worth of clothes and yarn and heading East without a ticket home was probably the most daring thing I've done thus far. I knew I probably wouldn't be back, but I didn't tell anyone anything. I didn't want to wuss out and return to Chicago in two weeks. I knew I would love Philly, but I didn't think I would still be here and I didn't think I could think of it as home. I may have hurt some people and my mother still guilts me sometimes, but in order to grow you have to leave. Staying stagnant in the Midwest was a fear greater than "what if..."

Now I'm addicted to traveling, even if it's a quick trip to New York City that will be over in a few hours. $50 and 2 hours on a bus each way for a day in Manhattan. But why wouldn't you? I've made it a game (a very expensive one) to see how many weekends out of a month I can spend in a new city. Some months I can even be out of town every weekend and those are the most exhausting and exhilarating of the bunch. I haven't traveled much this month because I taught a class at the Shop and that put the kaboosh on any kind of long weekend I might have had in mind.

So you can blame restlessness on what I did this weekend.

Woohoo! Thanks, Delta

I booked a ticket for a solo trip to Iceland, a place I've dreamed of visiting for years. I booked a trip by myself to a foreign country on a whim and decided that I would figure out the rest along the way. I leave in two weeks and this will be the first ever trip I fund and go on by myself. It's terrifying.

After making Matt click the "confirm" button, I felt waves of terror and relief wash over me. I found the deal around 12:30 on Saturday afternoon and hemmed and hawed over my decision for a good 4 hours before I finally accepted that I could do this. I would be alone for almost a week, but so what? I could see what I wanted to see, make friends along the way and just have a great time. I may be poor as anything when I come home, but I will spend 5 beautiful days in the land of fire and ice. If I really do hate it (impossible?) then it will be over in 5 days and I will be a bigger weenie than I thought.

Now to answer the most important questions: 1. Which hat(s) do I knit for the trip? and 2. PUFFINS or WHALES? Puffins AND Whales? Glaciers OR volcanoes? If you've been to Iceland, dear readers, please share some of your favorite things to do in the Reykjavik area. See, I can spell it right now.

Seriously. How can this be real?

For more breathtaking photos and an awesome introduction to sell you on Iceland, check out the photographer's blog (linked under the photo & here). I suggest you listen to this Sigur Ros song while you flip through. It's an oldie, but still my favorite. And the video is equally beautiful.

Disclaimer: I really am super excited about this trip. I'll try not to let my weeniness interfere with what I'm sure will be an amazing experience. 


  1. You'll have a great time, I'm sure. And I can't wait to hear about it, and see pictures! Go Ashley!!

  2. Thanks Bridget! Most of the nervousness has left and been replaced with giddiness.

  3. wow, iceland? that's awesome! i'm totally jealous! i can't wait to hear about how it treats you!