If you ever have the opportunity to sleep in a camper van with 3 of your best friends in the middle of the most interesting, diverse landscape – do it and you won’t be sorry.
When I booked my trip to Iceland, I had no idea what to expect. I’d read dozens of travel blogs and watch so many videos, but nothing can prepare you for what you actually experience.
This country is like a whole different planet. I never knew colors could be so deep, or that landscapes could be so devastatingly beautiful while also being eerie. I didn’t know my breath would be taken away continually because I was so in awe.
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When we first planned this trip, we were only expecting to do the southern and eastern parts of the Ring road, the road that allows you to span the whole entirety of the country. But after getting our trusty and powerful camper van that we nicknamed Olarfoss, we ended up pushing through so much land in so little time that we did the entire circle around the Ring road.
Let me tell you – that was the best decision we made all trip.
I loved seeing how different each area was. Just when we got used to crashing oceans and cliffs, we were suddenly in meadows of green. Just as I drove through snowy mountains, I was on flat, never-ending land. Iceland is a never ending puzzle that keeps you guessing and leaves you wanting more.
My favorite part of the trip was the moments I experienced with the 3 girls I went with. We all have known each other since high school and randomly decided to take this trip after we all graduated from college. I hadn’t seen these girls in months because I had just moved to another city. And being able to reunite in a country like this made everything so much more enhanced and beautiful. We laughed for hours and stayed up so late in that camper van, saw sites some people never get to experience in a lifetime, and challenge each other to adventure in the most intense and wonderful way. At one point in our trip, the wind in Iceland was at a hazardous level and we could barely walk forward without it blowing us away. But for some reason, experiencing it with these girls was almost comical and made the trip more interesting. Or other times, when things we planned didn’t necessarily go our way – we still managed to make the most of the situation. Traveling with people you love and feel your most self with allows you to open your mind that much more and be flexible.
I’ve tried for hours to write how it felt to be there, what the scenery was like, and how unreal the road trip around the Ring road was.
No offense Iceland (you’re truly remarkable and without a doubt – you belong on a different planet) BUT I can guarantee if you google ‘Iceland travel’ you’ll find 5,000 other sites, videos, essays, etc. showing and saying the same thing: Iceland is really cool.
Now I’m not saying my Iceland feature below is any better or any worse or any more or less travel-y. But I’m not going to sit here and type up every stop we took and all my advice on how to travel there – because, in my opinion, the best part of being on this trip was that every second was so unpredictably beautiful. I would hate to mess up those moments for someone else because I felt the need to push my itinerary on them.
Take a step back, and let this country plan the trip for you.
I WILL, however, share some of my favorite ramblings from my journal during this trip. I wrote down all the weird, wonderful, imperfectly perfect memories I experienced. Partly because I want to re-remind myself how happy those moments made me but also because the best part of being shoved in a camper van with 3 girls you’ve known since high school is that things get hilariously weird, great, and overall amazing.
- Our fearless little dude in the shape of a camper van – Olafarfoss. The camper vans of all camper vans that stuffed all 4 of us through glaciers and ocean and moss covered lava. By the end of this trip, our van was coated in black sand, chip crumbs, and probably a million other disgusting things that come with outfitting 4 unshowered ladies. I fell hard for this guy and still wonder what he’s up to now.
- If you have the opportunity to spend a day in a lukewarm/on the verge of cold natural pool surrounded by mountains – DO IT AND NEVER LOOK BACK. Best day of my life, swimming around with girls that constantly make me laugh at how insane our surroundings are. Puts the biggest smile on my face just thinking about that day.
- Our first night sleeping in the camper, we stopped at these waterfalls and decided to just sleep with this view in front of us rather than keep moving on to the next spot.
- Sitting in the backseat with my friend Kelly dancing and laughing next to me, with all our stuff laid out on the floor. Most of the time we had no idea where anything was and it made me feel right at home.
- I’m continually amazed by how unpredictable and unreal our great big world is. But this place… it was on a different level of unreal. It took my breathe away.
- Side note – the west coast of Iceland was my favorite part.
- We stood behind a waterfall… I mean.. COME ON.
- Waking up and eating semi-cooked oatmeal and lukewarm tea that has been stuffed in ziplock bags for days. And meeting a couple from Brussels that have been married for 40 years and that have traveled all over the world together. And watching these 3 girls from outside our little camper’s window and thinking – damn I am the luckiest kid in the world to see this place with equally curious minds.
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