Having a moment over here on this rainy, dark, morning in Reykjavik. Could have something to do with the fact that it’s 3:48am back in the States and I’m running on 4 hours of airplane-sleep, but it’s a moment nonetheless. Something about Scandinavia, too: the unassuming flickering of candlelight around a neutral space punctuated by red spindle-backed chairs and the incredible smells of cardamom and cinnamon.
For those of you wondering what the heck I’m doing in Iceland on a Monday in October when most of my family and friends are being responsible adults that will wake up and commute to their fabulous jobs… (seriously, no sarcasm there, I’m plenty envious of that security!) I’m taking two months to travel before I start work in January. And finally feeling quite validated in that decision right about now.
Two years ago this month, I was studying abroad in Stockholm, and I had a similar moment to this one. I was sitting in a cozy restaurant I had stumbled into in Gamla Stan, called Restaurang Kryp In. I ordered the traditional kotbullar, or Swedish meatballs, with some crusty sourdough and crisp Sauvignon Blanc to accompany it. I sat there and wrote in my journal, enjoyed my dinner, and took it all in. I loved not having cell phone service during these months because I wasn’t tempted to scroll through Instagram or Snapchat to pass the time.
I’m getting emotional this morning (jetlag excepted) mainly because I’m taken back to that moment- when I was finally comfortable enough with myself to have dinner alone, in a foreign country. It’s still pretty weird to most people, and I totally can understand why. But for as much as I love rowdy dinners with friends or catching up one-on-one over a meal, I find eating alone to be such a luxury as well- the food has your undivided attention, and you’re able to people-watch, journal, and just think in peace. A built-out post on this coming soon perhaps. Anyway, point is, that that fall in Stockholm when I zipped around the city on the Tunnelbana to various sites by myself after class and on the weekends, I discovered the traveling style and coping mechanisms I’ve been employing ever since.
So, this trip is shaping up to include the following cities:
DC–> Reykjavik–>Barcelona–>Milan–>Tokyo–>Kyoto–>Hiroshima–>Iwakuni–>Osaka–>Beijing–>Xi’an–>Singapore–>Bintan (yoga retreat)–>Hong Kong–> Vietnam, from North to South.
Totally wasn’t intended to be, but the itinerary is sort of like a lap around the world. Budget airlines and their routes to the smattering of friends and family I have living across Europe and Asia can be thanked for that. I’m literally in Reykjavik for 12 hours and for a split second contemplated staying in the airport for that period of time, but that would fly in the face of everything I’ve felt and done in my travels so far. Carpe every damn diem.
The rest of my day will be spent revisiting some of the favorite spots my dad and I had when we launched our Iceland Ring Road roadtrip here last summer, as well as checking out some new ones. Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog so far- it’s a personal endeavor above all else, but it makes me happy that some of you enjoy reading it occasionally too! Apologies for the brief hiatus, my weeks after I got home from Cape Town were spent freelance college counseling high school seniors, working odd jobs, traveling all over the mid-Atlantic region visiting friends and family, and prepping for this trip. Plenty of posts in the pipeline in the coming months, though 🙂
Happy Monday, friends!