When my wife first told me about the town we would be living at in Iceland, I had somewhat mixed feelings. First, because I had to Google it because it sounded like a place no one had ever heard of before, and second because after I Googled it, it actually was a place no one had ever heard of before. I like small towns, but I always have my apprehensions towards them too. I like the quiet, slower pace to life, but the thought of living in them gives me an odd sense of urgency and panic, and that I am going to feel too alone, too bored or too secluded. This town was so small, our Iceland information book gave it the rating: "while you are driving the ring road, there is no need to stop here. Keep going."
We were going to be living in Blönduós. (Feel free to Google it.)
I can't really remember the last time I was so tired. I don't know if I have ever been that tired to be honest. It is only a 7 hour time difference between Alberta and Iceland, which isn't really that bad, but after we landed and started our drive up North, I was delusional. I felt sick and I couldn't see straight. To give myself some credit, I had just gotten back from a week long photography conference in California the day prior to leaving, it was my 12th flight in the month of February, I had only been home for about 6 days in total all month and was scrambling to pack up our apartment for this 3 month journey. Or maybe I'm just a big baby with jet lag, that could very well be it. I felt like I missed a lot on our drive here, Ginni was taking photos out the window the entire way up, but I was just staring blankly 10 feet in front of the vehicle, trying to keep us straight on the ice covered roads.
We did make it here, late into the night. After arriving at the residency (which I'll talk more about later), and a quick tour we threw our bags down and fell onto the bed.
Less than a minute after we laid down and were almost asleep (at least I was anyway) we looked out the window and the Northern Lights were going like crazy just steps outside of our room. Since Iceland is so well known for Northern Lights we debated on just going to sleep and seeing them next time. But you don't travel halfway across the world and drive on pure ice in a blizzard to just sleep through the Northern Lights. That's a bad idea, don't do it.
We quickly unpacked all of our warm clothes, and stumbled outside in the dark. The kind of energy and excitement you get from seeing something like that always surprises me. Almost 30 hours of no sleep and feeling like death, to feeling like you just woke up from a 30 hour nap in a warm blanket in a matter of seconds. Honestly, it was hard to actually get to sleep after that.
But then I did, and slept for 13 hours. In a warm blanket.
The days following our arrival have been good. Relaxing, somewhat slow, and getting to know the other people we are living with at the residency. I used to take a long time to settle in to places and adjust, but the last 6 months of almost constant travel (I quit my job a while ago, I'll get into that more later too) have really helped me feel comfortable in spaces a lot sooner.
Days have been spent napping, reading, going on short-ish drives around the area, making good snacks and looking out the window. I'm fine with all of that, and is honestly what I like most about small towns, and slower living.
Sometimes it just takes me actually getting here to remember that.