There are lots of places I’d love to travel to. It’s easier to list the countries that don’t interest me. But every now and then, I come across a place that just hits me in the heart and soul.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I’ve been planning a trip to England and Egypt. I also wanted to spend at least a weekend (maybe a long weekend) in another country as well. I was pretty much set on Venice, because flights from London are super cheap. But then, everything changed.
I started looking at cheap transatlantic flights, and Icelandic Air was always on top. The only problem was, they always seemed to give you a long layover in Iceland…and why would I want to go there? I hate winter. I hate cold. I hate snow. I kinda hated Iceland, just for having “ice” in their name! I certainly didn’t want to go there. Wasn’t there a flight that would give me a layover someplace I actually wanted to be?
But just in case, I started looking at Iceland. Surely, there would be something there I would be interested in, if I had to spend a layover there….
Turns out there is. The whole, entire country.
As soon as I started investigating, I was instantly, completely captivated. And not in the ‘oh I’d like to go there sometime’ sort of way, like I feel about India or Italy. No…this went even beyond love-at-first-sight, and into what I call soul recognition. Iceland is a land I recognize. It feels like home, like part of my soul has always lived there.
And I couldn’t figure out why for the longest time. Why Iceland? Sure, it’s spectacular, but so are lots of places. It’s not the culture, because I’ve never been particularly drawn to Norse or Scandanavian history or myths. It was something primal about the land, itself.
And then I realized why. The Lord of the Rings films might be filmed in New Zealand, but Tolkien was inspired by Iceland. Iceland is Middle Earth. Once I saw that, it was so obvious why I was drawn there, to that land. In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Middle Earth has always been one of my places; no wonder I recognized it so viserally the instant I saw it in the real world.
So, needless to say, I am taking Icelandair up on their (completely brilliant) free Stayover program. Are you kidding me? Of course, I’m going to Middle Earth! So the new, and probably the final plan, is Iceland, then England, then Egypt. I’m ready to start buying tickets, as soon as the company I’m using for Egypt lists tour dates for Sept 2015. Everything else has to be planned around that.
Right now, I’m trying to figure out where exactly I want to go in Iceland. I know I’ll be riding an Icelandic horse.
I also want to go down inside a volcano. Yes, Iceland is the only place on Earth where you can go inside a volcano!
I can’t wait.