Finding Freedom in Iceland

 Unpack This Place
Danielle LaPorte has been giving away her materials right, left and centre during this holiday period. I’ve managed to snag the audio book of The Desire Map, along with the e-book (which, to be fair, I had already bought years ago), a ten dollar coupon (which I redeemed against her diary and journal currently at my friend Mary Sue’s place in New York), some digital images and the pièce de résistance, her Conversation Starter app.

This app is a beautiful piece of kit. Whenever Brett and I venture into a little cafe or restaurant I flip it open, press shuffle and ask the question. A big conversation usually follows. I, for one, feel myself unraveling in these conversations; like I am unpacking myself (along with this place) and getting to the heart of the matter.

Today, over a cup of coffee and an ice-cream I had an aha moment. A realisation that bubbled up, once I was able to get real, get honest and own my desires.The truth is, I like a relaxed pace to my travel. I like to bed-down in a new city and plant some roots, however temporary they may be. I like a couple of early nights and a few leisurely baths. I like time to read my book and meander around town, stopping in the local shops along the way. I like deep and meaningfuls with my beloved…and writing postcards and emails to the people I love and miss. It’s a luxury I don’t always allow myself, because I am a traveller now and I have a world to see.

All this started because of a Facebook comment (isn’t it always the way?). I was tagged into a request from a lady wanting to know what trips to book in Iceland (where I am currently staying for a week before hitting New York for New Years, Park City (Utah) for January and Fernie (Canada) for February). I mentioned that I didn’t love the super jeep tours everybody raves about but did love the tourist hotspot of the Blue Lagoon, which most people don’t. I had taken a super jeep tour of The Golden Circle with another couple. It included a snowmobile ride on the glacier. Someone asked: “did you enjoy the snowmobile?” The truth is, I decided not to do it. It was -17 degrees outside and we’d been driving around in the super jeep in the national park for an hour waiting for everyone else to arrive (most of the other super jeep drivers got stuck in the snow, so our driver had to go around getting them all out). When it came to doing the snowmobile ride I thought “I can’t be arsed.” Also, I had just come from Switzerland where I could ski on a glacier, so whizzing around on the snowmobile didn’t really float my boat. So, much to the surprise of the super jeep driver and the other couple I said “nah.”

I didn’t want to admit this on Facebook. I was afraid it would make me sound boring.

You see, lots of people have recommended lots of wonderful things to do; a super jeep tour of The Golden Circle, a night out chasing the Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon, the volcano, the South Island, the snowmobile ride on the glacier, the Cathedral, renting a car and getting out of Reykjavik, finding the thermal spas where the locals go, the waterfalls, the geysers. Many of them I have done, and the rest I have felt guilty for not wanting to do. I swapped a night in for a night out chasing the Northern Lights (the forecast wasn’t favourable and I felt it was a bit of a wild goose chase). I swapped the snowmobile ride on the glacier for a cup of coffee and a beautiful view.

Then I realised that, as a full-time traveller, I can take a slower, steady pace because I don’t have to pack everything into one week. There’s talk about coming back to Iceland for a year or so and plans are being made for a ‘chasing the Northern Lights’ tour in October, bringing Sweden, Norway, Finland and Greenland into the mix and taking around a month start to finish.

My core desired feelings (CDFs) in Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map are: Rich / Daring / Free.

I’m trying to live in line with my CDFs. Doing things that make me feel the way I want to feel. I’ve structured my life so that I can go wherever I want for however long I want, whenever I want. I can take my time and see the world at my own pace. I can stay longer if I like it or call it quits if I don’t (just as I did in Switzerland recently). That’s the beauty of this new, nomadic lifestyle. For me to live it in line with a list of self-imposed ‘shoulds’ is madness.

Being rich, daring and free is being able to say ‘nah’ to the things my head thinks it should be doing, but my heart doesn’t feel called to…and knowing that skipping the cathedral for a coffee and an ice-cream is absolutely okay…because I can come back and do the cathedral whenever the mood takes me.

Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map can be accessed here.

    • Thank you Kerri. It’s what you’ve been teaching me for years now (at least two…ever since I started my longer-term travel, that started with one month in New York. Remember?) It’s been liberating to live it on this trip. I’m sure your coaching around the work / life balance on the road helped…and as you always say, it’s not only okay, it is necessary. x

  1. I think that is the best way to be!! I do a lot of research into what there is to do so I can make informed decisions about what I would like to see/do and if I choose to skip something that others recommend for whatever reason at least it’s my choice – I hate missing something as I didn’t know about it, but then again, my nomadic lifestyle hasn’t kicked in yet and I have visited places on holiday trying to see as much as I would like but it is also lovely slowing down the pace, stopping for a hot chocolate and chat or getting an early night to read a book – I have been guilty of trying to do too much in the past! Xx

    • Hey Angie, thanks so much for your comment. I love the way you travel. You always have such great recommendations. Thanks to you I have done and seen things I would never have thought of (including Iceland – and I loved the place). I feel different about my travel now the nomadic lifestyle has kicked in – there’s always a sense of each trip being a bit of a reccy and if I like it enough I can come back for longer. I didn’t feel that when I holidayed. I would always be at the airport thinking “grrr, I wish I had had another week to do x.” I must admit the slower pace is suiting me, but as with all these things, you only find out by trying it out and seeing what works. I’m excited to do a trip just focussed on chasing the Northern Lights though. Did you manage to see them when you guys were in Iceland? x

      • My apologies for not replying sooner – how very bad of me!

        I was unfortunate not to see the Northern Lights when I was in Iceland although we did go on a trip in search for them. We did, however, see them when were in Lappland for our wedding 10 years ago so I have witnessed their phenomenum. Did you get to see them? xx

        • No, not really. We got a glimpse…but nothing spectacular. I’ve decided to plan a ‘chasing the Northern Lights trip’ where I might go to a few countries…with that one mission on the agenda!

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