Iceland: Halfway Through and We Still Can't Pronounce Anything by Cassy Nedelisky

Well, when we originally began our excursion to Iceland I planned on writing a blog post daily... Yeah, that failed. Things have been crazy and we're moving all the time, time slips away. Excuses, excuses.

So here we are, 10 days in and still not sick of each other! Want to really test a relationship? Take it on a two week road trip! You don't really KNOW someone until you've pulled over to the side of the road so they can pee or until you've seen them unwashed for 4 straight days or, in Jaci's case, sat out in the cold to boil the water for their soup. 

Our phones are our lifelines, dare we ever miss a text from a cute boy? and we would've been so lost if not for the handy little wifi hotspot we picked up with the rental car. We carry it with us everywhere, Jaci even used it to make a FaceTime audio call while lost in a lava field. Also, how else would we find good coffee if not for google maps? Believe me, you don't want to see either of us pre-coffee. 

Also, where would we be without our sturdy, protective, ever faithful, Rex? He reminds us to buckle our seat belts, makes flatlining noises when you ask him to go through water and powers our electronic devices. If you haven't guessed, Rex is a car. Fun fact of the day, in Iceland, no matter where you park your vehicle it looks like it belongs in a car ad. Shoutout to you, Rex.

We've seen a lot these past 10 days: Reykjavik, waterfalls with incredibly hard to pronounce names, incredible gorges, gigantic glaciers, the northern lights and a large selection of vegan cheese. Most of these I'll just show you instead of describe... They say a picture is worth a thousand words, also I really can't remember everything off the top of my head.

But first, a little Q&A with me and my better half, Jaci.

Things we could not have lived without/what we are glad we brought:

C: Cliff bars, camera, cellphone, wifi hotspot. Being honest here.

J: Base layer, down blanket, cliff bars, wifi hotspot.

Things we wish we had brought:

C: Air mattress and wide angle camera lens.

J: Camp stove - thankfully we found a place to rent one.

Things we found to be useless:

C: Hot plate. 

J: Kettle, my power inverter, hot plate.

Best things to bring on a road trip: 

C: Jaci!.. and cliff bars and wifi hotspot.

J: Wifi hot spot, camp stove and water bottles.

Favorite things so far:

C: Harpa in Reykjavik, Asbyrigi gorge and the northern lights.

J: Reykjavik and hike to Svartifoss, Gljufrabui falls. 

What was overrated:

C: Seljavallalaug swimming pool, beautiful but cold as all get out. Quite a few of the popular waterfalls, we have a lot of waterfalls at home so they weren't all super impressive and a lot of them were crowded. Some of my favorite waterfalls were the random, unmarked ones on the sides of the roads.

J: Glacier Lagoon

Best memory:

C: Watching the northern lights with Ollie and Boll (some guys we met from New Zealand).

J: Meeting Ollie and Boll and seeing the northern lights, hiking up to Bljufrabui falls and jumping the turnstile to use the bathroom for free.

What we are looking forward to:

C: Sleeping in a real bed, eating a real meal, seeing elves and unicorns, I know there around here somewhere.

J: Getting back to Reykjavik, having a glass of wine, Myvatin and Glymur falls.

Things we’ve learned:

C: When you walk this much daily you can basically eat as much cheese and Nutella as you want.

J: Always use the free bathroom, be on lookout for free showers, double check the route to hot springs and buy all the vegan cheese!

Top tip for living on the road:

C: Bring wifi and a mattress.

J: Find ways to make it normal. Wifi, hot food, wash your face in warm water and enjoy the part of it that is wild.

 

The Quarter Life Crisis by Cassy Nedelisky

Oh, hi! Here I am, turning 25 in exactly 11 days. 12-year-old me thought that by now I'd have graduated from a great college, be married and have the job of my dreams... and probably 5 or 6 horses. Well, I work at the front desk of a hotel and have a cat, we love each other very much and I work for some really great people but 12-year-old me would be thoroughly unimpressed. In fact, almost 25-year-old me is pretty unimpressed. Shouldn't I have everything figured out by now? I'm an adult... aren't I?

The more people my age I talk to the more I realize that the majority of us aren't where we'd thought we'd be by now. Yes, there are the lucky few living the dream but even the few people I know who actually have jobs in the fields they went to school for seem to feel like they should be further in life. Weren't we all supposed to be ruling the world by now?

It took me an ungodly amount of time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and now that I have I realize how behind I am. There are talented people who have been doing this much longer than me and have had some sort of, if not extensive, formal training. And they're good, really good. It's a bit depressing and it's easy to let it get me down. So what's the alternative? I spend forever working in hotels, hating my job and being resigned to the fact that this is "as good as it gets"? Tempting, but I know I'm better than my current situation and I refuse to spend forever in it.

I guess my point is, we all have to pay our dues. We're all still kids who have no idea what we're doing, but we're working towards something. Right now we may be in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. but we're not there forever (okay, maybe some people are but I'm optimistic and going to assume that you are hardworking and driven and have some sort of plan for your life).  We're doing what we have to to survive. We pay rent, eat $0.70 meals, steal toilet paper from work and take any opportunity, paid or unpaid, that we can to further our future careers so that someday in the not so distant future we'll be where we want to be, someone that 12-year-old us would be proud of.

2015: Becoming More Intentional by Cassy Nedelisky

With the beginning of a new year it’s only natural to think about resolutions. I don’t know about you, but for me resolutions have never really stuck. I lose momentum somewhere about halfway through January… so I stopped making them. But recently I came across an idea that intrigued me. I read about a woman who instead of making resolutions, decided on a theme for her year. That way, there’s no way of failing and you’re not tempted to just give up. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I had subconsciously created a theme for myself last year, it was to “Do”. To make a conscious effort to go places and do things, adventure and travel to new places. I succeeded. I went on dozens of hikes and trips to various places in Oregon and Washington and, of course, the highlight of my year: traveling to Italy with my best friend, Jaci. 

So what would be my theme for this year? After deliberating for what felt like an eternity finally it came to me, when I wasn’t looking for it, which is exactly when all good things come to us. My theme for this year is to be more intentional. Intentional. So, what exactly does that mean? I guess the first place to start would be to take a look at the definition of the word itself, so I stripped it down to it’s root form.

in.tend

verb

1.   have (a course of action) as one’s purpose or objective; plan

2.   design or destine (someone or something) for a particular end or purpose

Ultimately I want everything in my life have a purpose or direction. Now this can be as big as deciding what I want to be when I grow up but I plan to focus more on the everyday, little things. Like the things I put into my body, where my money goes, and how I spend my free time. All 10 seasons of “Friends” are now on Netflix, does that mean I have to binge re-watch them all? Well, yes, you have to have somethings in your life for no other reason than that they make you happy, and who doesn’t love “Friends”? Okay back on track now. It means being intentional with my photography, the books I read, the words I speak, and the company I keep.

What about you, if there’s anyone out there reading this, did you make resolutions this year or some kind of equivalent? What were they?