By Nicholas Love | October 27, 2015
Every year I plan a big trip with my friends. I try to make this trip unique by going places we’ve never been before. For this year’s trip, we had our minds set on a road trip from Indianapolis to all points west. Not completely new for me, but for my girlfriend, she has never been to the Grand Canyon, so that has been at the top of our list for a while. And I wanted to see Arches National Park, so this trip would be a relatively easy way to cross both off our adventure to-do list.
But we also have this much larger long-term list of places we hope to explore “when the time is right,” and these places, like India and South Africa and Iceland, come up periodically as if each adventure is a mythical place we’ll never actually see.
One night during dinner at a nearby Tapas restaurant, we started wanderlusting about Spain, as an adventurer does at the taste of a unique culture… “Why don’t we go to Spain?” Which quickly turned into, “How about a European vacation?” Slowly but surely, the thought of a simple road trip was out the door and we grabbed our phones to scan Google Maps to search for our dream destination, continent by continent.
The way we saw it, let’s do the hard trips now, and then someday when we have no other choice, we’ll hop in the car and drive. After a week of searching, our destination was set. Plans were made for Iceland.
Iceland has always been a far off land of mystery to me. For both of us, it seemed unreachable. But after a bit more research, the more Iceland seemed doable and probably really awesome. It’s only a 6 hour flight from JFK to Keflavík, Iceland (part of which flies over Greenland, whoa) and there are some really great deals on travel to Iceland right now. Our time was limited to 9 days (including weekends) to make the trip happen, but we were determined to make every bit count.
Inevitably we had to request our PTO and were eventually asked by colleagues and family members about our vacation plans for which we started expecting the response, “Why would you want to go to Iceland?” When we returned, someone even told us they had no idea how to go on such a trip. Thank goodness for the Internet these days, am I right?
Yes, we know you can find volcanoes, glaciers, and mountains in the U.S., and even the Northern Lights in some places, but how likely would we ever again have the opportunity to go somewhere as magical as Iceland? We had some money saved up, no kids, and vacation days at work; it only made sense to go now.
We booked our flights just 60 days before the trip and had no plans for where we would stay or what we were going to do, but it was game on. We knew it was going to be a beautiful place and surely the people would be interesting, but to be quite honest, had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Fortunately, we just happen to be the kind of people to quickly say “Yes!” to any adventure, shrug our shoulders, and hope for the best. And it honestly was the best.
What’s holding you back from traveling to your far off dream land? If your concerns start with finances, pick your destination one year in advance and begin working toward it. Making a few lifestyle changes in spending habits might be the key to reaching adventure goals, i.e. less weekend trips, and less Chipotle so that you can have that one massive trip and the ultimate mountain top burrito on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Here’s an article about budgeting for your big trip.
If it’s your job that’s holding you back, talk to your employer and give them a heads up that you’re pursuing a major life goal. I was pretty stressed out about missing a week of work, but when I told my boss that I was going, she asked me why I wasn’t staying in Iceland longer! After all, vacation days were offered by your employer for a reason, ignore the guilt and use them up. My girlfriend’s philosophy about work and vacation: work will never love you back and vacation always will. Simple.
Whether your dream adventure is a road trip out west, Europe, India, or anywhere in between, go for it! Skip out on that beach condo vacation you go on every year and seek that adventure you’ve always dreamed about. And if you’ve been waiting for a sign to tell you when it’s time to go, well, here it is.
Coming up next: Traveling Iceland on a Budget.