We yearn to be inspired, challenged, and lifted out of our hectic everyday norm. We want our jaw-drop fueled by unreasonable beauty, not because the guy on the 3 train is clipping his toenails. We crave our stomach drop moments from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, not from unsavory take-out food. It's time to swap rude city traffic for wild "I do what I want" sheep herd traffic.
We need to be plucked out of our fast-paced city bubble and dropped in a culture-filled, hip-and-happenin', oozing-with-wild-beauty destination.
Where can we get a heavy dose of inspiration? Iceland, of course. The best way to get the most of out any destination? Road trip it yourself, duh.
So come on, dust off those sweaters, and prepare to have your mind blown.
Obviously, a key component to any road trip, your vehicle selection for a jaunt around the land of fire and ice will be of utmost importance. If you want to venture off the beaten path (and you should) you'll need 4x4 and ALL the insurance. Whether going the camper van route, SUV, or budget wheelin', there are loads of options. I would suggest choosing a smaller, family run company though, because, sustainable travel.
Now you just need to decide if you'd like to go clockwise or counter-clockwise around the Ring Road and you'll be ready to roll.
South: Selfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi & Skogafoss waterfalls, Svínafellsjökull glacier tongue, Dyrhólaey lighthouse.
East: Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Seydisfjördur, Borgarfjördur.
North: Godafoss waterfall, Húsavík, Hvítserkur.
West: West fjords, Dynjandi waterfalls, Snaefellsnes peninsula, Glymur waterfall.
City: Reykjavík is an all-around cool city. Make sure you take in the interesting architecture.
South: Hike in Thórsmörk and explore some of the more remote areas like the Highlands. View one of the famous waterfalls at sunrise or sunset, the lighting makes an already magical experience that much more, well, magical.
East: Explore the coastal towns in the eastern fjords. Unreal eye candy lives here.
North: Go whale watching in the whale watching capital of the world, Húsavík. I went with Gentle Giants and saw 5 whales, FIVE.
West: Hike to Glymur waterfall. It involves a cave, river crossing, and epic views. A perfect Icelandic trifecta.
City: Try a hotdog from one of the well-known hotdog carts! You're a New Yorker after all.
South: Stay in at least one Airbnb while in Iceland. Each lodging option is unique and it will give you a true local experience.
East: Blabjorg Guesthouse, Borgarfjördur
North: Guesthouse Himnasvalir, Egilsa
West: Stóra Vatnshorn, Búdardalur
City: Hotel Ódinsvé, Reykjavik
Hot. Dogs. Yep, I've said it. You'll feel right at home with an abundance of hot dog choices at your disposal. Iceland is known for their hot dog culture, more likely because of their magical mustard sauces. Here, gas station eats are totally acceptable... encouraged, even.
Fish—it's as fresh as it gets.
Skyr- the Icelandic yogurt is fantastic, and if you stay at a B&B their breakfast will have a choice of toppings that will leave you obsessed.
- Chat with the locals...humans and Icelandic Horses alike. Both are friendly.
- Over-budget your time. Driving places takes longer than you think, especially when you stop every few kilometers to absorb the ridiculous beauty.
- Watch for sheep. They DGAF. When I returned my car rental I received a high-five for not hitting any... something everyone should strive for.
- Pack for every kind of weather. Iceland is super moody and unpredictable, but you'll love it regardless, promise.
Your inspiration awaits you. Go on, git!