Our next story comes in the form of a travel diary. Jacqueline is from Brazil and has been living
in England for the past year. During this time she has had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe
and shares a particularly memorable experience of a trip to Iceland with friends, reminding us to
remain calm and stay in the moment, especially when things don't go quite as planned.
I remember once reading this quote from Into the Wild on a horrifying moment during my trip to Iceland. We were in the car, it was somewhat past midnight, and it was darker than any other kind of darkness I had ever seen. Through the right window were the mountains, and nothing but ice – except that it was all black because there were no lights on that road. Through the left window was the sea, and the land ended in an abyss. We couldn’t really see it but the GPS was showing it so we knew it was there. It was raining and snowing at the same time, that heavy snow that makes it almost impossible to see the road. We were all so tired, so afraid, and yet trying to keep calm and to be hopeful that we would get to the hostel safe.
We ringed the hostel, which was in Hofn (in the southeast coast) and told them that we would arrive very late. They said it was fine. At that time we had been driving for more than 8 hours. It all happened so fast that day, because we were for at least 3 hours in one of those thermal baths in those beautiful lakes in the mountains. It was called Myvatn Nature Baths, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had; I had never felt more peaceful than in that thermal lake, so it's easy to understand why we spent much more time there than we should have.
So we left the lake at 6pm, and we had 8 hours driving until getting to Hofn. We drove so much that night, non-stop. But when we were almost getting to Hofn, we saw a sign on the road saying “Hvalnes closed”. I knew what was going on, but my friend who was driving thought that maybe it was referring to some touristic attraction. As worried as I was because I knew something had happened, I got online on that website which shows the weather and road conditions. And then I saw it. There had been an avalanche on the road we were taking to get to Hofn. The avalanche had just happened! Our hearts stopped for a bit. We told the other cars that were with us to stop and turn around, and that we needed a new plan because we were probably homeless that night. So, we figured we should go back to the last town we passed through, which was called Djupivogur (I’ll never forget that). Well, we managed to go back there, but there weren’t any hostels or any place we could stay the night. After driving a while, we found an hotel, but it was closed and seemed really expensive. We started honking and shouting to people, so a woman came to the door and let some of us in. She was really grumpy and impolite and almost sent us back to the street. We paid the equivalent of 30 euros for one night, and some of the people with us preferred to stay in the car. Well, after all that night I managed to sleep well but as we woke up in the morning we knew we had a dangerous journey to face. I drove that morning, and when we were passing we saw huge rocks and unbelievably large piles of ground and snow being taken off the road. It was so scary. Well, we continued with our trip safely but it was one of the hardest and longest nights ever. Despite it all, and despite almost getting killed in the middle of nowhere, on top of the world in the coldest country ever, I miss that spirit of adventure. That night was when I read this quote from Into the Wild because I had to comfort myself, and I had to remind myself that it was ok to get in trouble if the purpose was bigger. By that time our purpose was to live life to the fullest…
and we did it.
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