What travel teaches you? When visiting beautiful places across the globe you can´t help but notice how everything you experience keeps changing you. But there are countries that were created for these walks with nature and moments of self-reflection. Iceland is definitely one of them. Therefore, after I finally got back home, I´ve started thinking of everything I lived during this intense week and what lessons my trip to Iceland have actually taught me.
What travel teaches you?
But before we get to the topic of Iceland, there are a few travel lessons I´d like to wrap up for you. If you´re a traveler, you might find yourself in between these lines as well. If you simply want to travel more, this is why you should find a way to make your dreams come true, because honestly, you can win from seeing the world in so many ways. So what travel teaches you?
1. Life is a journey of self-discovery
Society constantly puts pressure on us “What do you want to do for a living?”. You´re supposed to come up with a permanent decision by the time you graduate school. But what if you don´t? Or what if your career plans are a constant work in process?
Traveling shows you it´s ok not to have everything figured out. Because even if you feel like you do at some point, the world around you keeps proving there´s always more to the story. Every place you visit is constantly changing you as I´ve already shared in my San Francisco post: you feel the energy of the place and it´s either hit or miss, either you are disappointed or you become a part of its heartbeat. But you´re never the same person afterwards.
Also read: The Ultimate New Zealand 2 Week Itinerary
So, there´s no reason to stress yourself about the stereotypes if you do what you love and enjoy every minute of it. I deeply believe that no one should be defined by one single thing. Try. Dream. Discover. You never know where your curiosity will lead you.
So let´s make it about the journey and embrace every chance and twist of fate because they make you YOU. Like one of my favorite travel quotes states: “Travel. Because you have no idea who you are until you experience yourself through different people and realize how we’re all the same.”
2. It´s all about the details
Even when your sightseeing plans are intense and there´s no time to get bored, you should try to press a pause button every once in a while. Don´t rush yourself into doing as much as you can if you feel like having a laid-back moment with a cup of coffee in one of the local cafes.
The best way to enjoy a new place is constantly trying to find those slo-mo moments you ´d want to last forever. Are you reveling in one of the most beautiful sunsets around the world? – Take time to be present, to be grateful and to really absorb what´s happening around you. Try to remember all the smells, sounds, and feelings, because this is what really makes any experience memorable. It´s only worth it if you´ve done your best to enjoy every second.
3. Keep your mind open
I´ve recently read somewhere a funny phrase “Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open!”
So before you judge someone or state with all certainty “I´m never gonna do this!” Ask yourself: ” What if?” or “Why not” The most life-changing experiences normally arise from something we never thought of doing – a small step out of our comfort zone. Always say yes to new opportunities, these will end up inspiring your self-confidence and lead you to new adventures. Bungee jumping in New Zealand, a helicopter flight over Hawaii, whale watching in the rain – you´re capable of doing more than you can currently imagine.
4. Choose experiences over things
Material items can never be that permanent as those unique experiences that become a part of our heartbeat. This is one of the most important lessons my parents have taught me. I was raised in a middle-class family and like most of the people on this planet, I didn’t have an unlimited credit card to take me around the world, get a good education, and fill up my closet at the same time. But when you start prioritizing you can always make the most of what you currently have.
Because, the best things in life are not things, they are moments. My inner shopaholic is still there, but when I really want to splurge on something I always choose experiences.
5. There´s always something new to discover
You know that the last few years have slightly gotten in a way of my blogging career and exotic travels. As a mom of two toddlers and a passionate traveler, I´ve often felt trapped in my current status. Even despite the fact that I travel with my kids almost every few months, plus constantly go somewhere new on the weekends. But it´s 2 of them close in age, which is very different from traveling with one. So you really give a second thought to every far-away bucket list destination you might have. Plus there’s no comparison with solo traveling here- you need to take into consideration the best interests of your little ones as well.
Also read: The Legend of Bride´s Jump in Navajas, Spain
But what I realized after these few years is that there´s always a solution. I´ve started traveling more locally in Spain because I simply had fewer international options. But it resulted in a whole new blog section – Undiscovered Spain. So even if you have financial or geographical limitations, there´s always something to explore in your neighborhood. Just keep looking for it
Let´s be honest, when you stop and look around – this world is pretty amazing!
Traveling to Iceland
From all the places I´ve been to, there was one full of walks with nature and unique experiences. And here is the funniest thing – at the same time, it was the most uncomfortable trip I´ve ever had. Cold wind, freezing weather, eternal rain, lack of fresh fruits&vegetables, little sleep and lots of driving, overpriced hotels and rare moments of sun. Nothing was good and yet everything was perfect.
Despite all, I can´t stop scrolling up and down every time I see my own pictures from Iceland, blinded by its natural wonders. Every time I open the folder “Iceland” on my computer, I feel like I´m living this travel story all over again – having another photographic journey to this Land of Ice and Fire.
Therefore, I thought of the most special and unique moments I had during this trip to Iceland and what they have taught me. Our lives are full of ups and downs, but one thing that really matters is the knowledge we gain from every experience. Despite quite a few life-lessons travel has taught me over these years, there are out-of-this-world places like Iceland that simply deserve a separate talk.
Lessons I learned in Iceland
1. Symmetry is everything
The most beautiful and eye-catching symmetry is the symmetry of nature. I´ve never really thought of how sensitive to symmetry a human eye is. There´s no shortage of symmetrical things we find visually pleasing: water reflections, wings of the butterfly, vaulted ceiling in a beautiful cathedral… Well, the Icelandic landscapes will definitely not disappoint you here.
2. Always something good
The sun shines not on us but in us: no matter how bad the day looks, there is always something good in every day.
Ruthless Icelandic weather is a huge contrast when you live in Spain. That day was not an exception! It was raining since we woke up (around 7 a.m) and raindrops on my window was the last thing I saw at night before I fell asleep. It was so hard to drive, do the sightseeing and take pictures… Nevertheless, we had quite a plan for one week in Iceland and no time to lose. Somehow, by the time we arrived at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, one of the places I wanted to see the most, the sun unexpectedly came out for 30 min, making the glaciers shine bright like diamonds.
One of the most beautiful moments of our trip happened during our worst day in Iceland. And going back to it now, I can´t even say it was “the worst day”, I remember only the shades of blue and the melting glaciers.
3. Living in harmony with nature is possible
Always in groups of 3 – the so-called mystery of Icelandic sheep. But what impressed me the most was the fact of how free they were. While in most parts of the world animals live closed up with a unique goal to serve human needs – in Iceland, you understand that there are still places left where animals, humans, and nature all co-exist in harmony.
4. The black&white world is more beautiful as we might expect
Iceland might not be worldwide famous for its paradise beaches. With +10°C in August, you won´t be soaking in warm waters or floating under the cloudless sky. But believe me, in Iceland it really doesn´t matter!
How about some wild and dramatic beauty?! One of the best beaches in Iceland, Reynisfjara should be your ultimate stop in the search for some black&white magic.
If I´m completely honest with you here, I was skeptical about it at the start. Especially after visiting the black-sand beaches of Hawaii and the Canary Islands, I felt like nothing could surprise me at this point. But once I saw Reynisfjara – I simply couldn´t get enough… White waters of Atlantic provide some major backdrop for the volcanic rock formations surrounded by the inky sands. And those powerful tidal waves!
No wonder Reynisfjara is often listed between the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the whole world. Seriously, could a black&while world be that beautiful?!
5. There is no rainbow without rain
Another rainy day in Iceland exploring its stunning waterfalls and a surprise rainbow spotted at Dettifoss. The photo looks like a drawing, don´t you think so?! If it was not another rainy day on the road would we even be able to take a shot of a rainbow in action?
6. This world is full of places that are completely out of this world
Despite all the Fairy-Tale Places and magical castles that make us all time-travel across Europe and epochs, Iceland is an unmatched location in terms of natural beauty. So if you ever watch a few inspiring travel documentaries and feel an urge to explore some wilderness locations on our planet – simply set your eyes on Iceland. This country is full of unbelievable natural wonders.
7. You never get tired of sunsets
Icelandic sunsets prove endings could be beautiful too. This magical country will show you some of the most beautiful sunsets around the world. Icelandic sunsets are epic. Have you ever lived a surreal-pinch-yourself moment?! – Get ready to have quite a few of them in Iceland, and make sure to enjoy every second. You will never be in this exact same moment ever again, so make it count – this is what travel teaches you.
For more Iceland travel inspiration check my Pinterest board Iceland.