When everyday can be an Odyssey in Iceland

We are so used to have a quick access to all we need that sometimes we forget the effort that there is behind the simple actions. If we need to go to the supermarket we know exactly how much time we need to get there, buy the stuff and get back, ready for what is next. We control time. Most of us have busy agendas filled with thousand of activities, so we need time to reach everything. We put the focus on the destination. On the supermarket. And not in the journey. It is not very interesting because you know how and when you will get there. By car or maybe by bus..and in 20 minutes. Where is the excitement of this journey?

I remembered my routine used to be like that, even though I tried to enjoy the journey while going to work or to the university, to do different things everyday, talk to different people and try different ways to get to work. But still. I controlled the time. I needed to get there, the destination was the most important thing.

Since I am spending more and more time in Iceland this has changed. I don’t control time anymore, or at least not that much. I only know for sure what time I start working so that’s the only thing I have to control. But everything else is just about the journey. I don’t have a car so I only depend on my legs basically to go wherever I want to get. And I want to get to a lot of places and explore the country when I’m off…

However, my intentions are only a small piece of the whole thing, because even if I want to go to that little town North, one hour from where I live, I have to check what’s the weather like at the same moment, pack some survival stuff (water, food, waterproof cover for my bag, tissues…), head to the road and trust to Life. Hitchhiking is my way of transportation so I totally depend on others to get where I want to get. It is not very nice to stand under the rain in the middle of nowhere, so there are some variables that I have to consider before starting the journey. It is all about patience and trust.

I feel like everything is not as easy as it can be in the city or in my hometown, where I know all the schedules of the public transportation or I can ask friends or family to give me a lift. Or I can walk easilly to the supermarket because everything is near. Not here. I am 12km away from the town so if I need to get to the supermarket I take my big bag and go to the road while I look up at the sky and ask for a car to stop. And there is always someone. I talk to a stranger, enjoy the views from the car and feel that satisfaction inside. I buy everything I need before the supermarket closes and then I hitchhike back again.

Every little trip is like an odyssey! It makes me realize that everything has an effort, it makes me enjoy the journey way more than the destination. I don’t know what can happen in between and paradoxically I am more relaxed in this way, because everything is out of my reach. I just need to trust and be patient. I don’t know the person that will drive me to my destination, I don’t even know if I will get to my destination! But Icelandic landscapes are so beautiful that I don’t care, I could just go on the road and head direction nowhere.

Last week I set a destination on my mind, I knew it was only one hour away but also that not a lot of cars went that direction. I knew it would be difficult. But I left home anyway. I made it half of the way so I was only 35 km from my goal. It started to rain so I thought that it would be the end and that I should get back, but at the last moment an old Icelandic man stopped and agreed to give me a lift. But what a surprise, he wanted to stop first in his house for one moment and then keep going. So there we were, in a remote house in the middle of a valley, waiting for him to do some paperwork, trying to understand each other with my little Icelandic and his little English and smiling a lot. How could I have ended up in a place like that if not hitchhiking to a remote place and trusting people? No way. That was one of the most authentic experiences I had hitchiking. We finally head to Kópasker, my destination. But once there, I didn’t even know why I was there…I just wanted to keep going and be in the journey again…well, it took me more than 2 hours to leave that remote town because there was a crazy storm. Luckily I stayed in the only shop/café of the town..waiting for someone that went my direction by car. And yes, again, after 3 hours two men gave me a lift…and the sun shone again.

That trip would have lasted around 3 hours in total if I had had a car. But it lasted 6 hours. I met like 10 people, talked to strangers, learnt some facts about the area thanks to the drivers and visited a super authentic house of an old man. Not bad…What’s the point of always rushing? Of always controlling time? Let Life be a mistery sometimes…and take the first step into the Unknown. The Uncertain.

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Driving with the old man through lupinus fields towards Kópasker, North East Iceland

 

 

 

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