After Africa I decided to stop in Iceland on my way home. I had wanted to bike across the country for about two years and couldn’t think of a reason not to. Luckily flights from Edmonton to Iceland had just started which made it easy for my friend Josh to meet me there. Neither of us had done any long bike rides before, but I find the best way to learn something is to just envelope yourself in it. We were lucky enough to make a new great friend in Iceland who let us borrow bikes and we were set.
We arrived at the bike shop on a Saturday thinking we would quickly pack up our things and hit the road. The thing is, nothing ever goes according to plan, and we found out we had to spend the day changing the break pads and bleeding the hydraulic breaks. (Thank god Josh likes fixing stuff.) After working in the rain till about 4 we were cold and wet, but determined to start our journey.
We travelled about 30 km before we hit a massive hill that lasted about 15km. We were cold and wet, as the rain had not let up, and the temperature was hanging around 5 degrees but we had to keep travelling on as we were still in farmland which didn’t allow any place to camp. About three quarters of the way up the hill I stopped to wait for Josh. After about 10 minutes of waiting I began to shake uncontrollable. I began thinking we aren’t going to survive day one!
When Josh Caught up I devised a plan that we would knock on the door of the next house we saw and ask to warm up. When we located a house I hesitantly approached not knowing what to expect. As soon as I rang the doorbell a man came to the door and quickly whisked us into the house immediately draping us in towels to dry us out. We had luckily stumbled upon the house of the man who created the search and rescue program in Iceland. He invited us to join his family for a beautiful lamb and pasta dinner accompanied with a few bottles of wine. He than let us sleep in the horse stables for the night before we took off again the next morning.
It is truly amazing to experience the generosity of people. (We have unfortunately lost the information for this family and would love to get in contact with them if they happen to read this.)
“I began thinking we aren’t going to survive day one!“
After the initial mishap we became more aware of the weather conditions and tried to bike smarter. Over the next 8 days we biked 70km a day often stopping at the end of the day to hike into a waterfall or another natural phenomenon. It was an amazing contrast to go from the masses of people in Africa to the desolate beauty of Iceland. It was almost therapeutic to have 6 hours a day with nothing but your thoughts and beautiful scenery.
The biking was no walk in the park as we constantly faced strong head winds, hills, and weather. Our lack of experience led us into some tricky situations, but in the end we persevered and I wouldn’t change a thing.
This Journey was an amazing introspective experience. It allowed me to really think about my life and goals. It also gave me a chance to spend 10 days with one of my best friends. In a busy world filled with outside commitments and responsibilities it is invaluable to get that kind of time with a friend. One of my favourite quotes is from Christopher Mcandless who wisely states, “ Happiness is only real when shared.” I whole heartedly believe this and love sharing amazing experiences with the people closest to me.
“Happiness only real when shared”
This whole trip was physically and emotionally difficult. In the end though I enjoy these kind of trips the most as they allow for the most growth within myself. Thanks to everyone who followed along with the blog posts from this trip. If you have any questions or would like more information about anything don’t hesitate to contact me.