waterfall-landscape-iceland

Lost in Iceland

I spend a large part of my life trying to get lost. Lost in creativity. Lost in movement. Lost in nature. When I am lost, I can’t help but be present, intuitive and conscious. Recently, I found myself lost in Iceland.

“Innsæi” is the Icelandic word for intuition, or to see within. When you use your intuition and go with what your heart or inner mind is telling you, you are always exactly where you should be at that moment. When you take the time to notice every living thing around you, life has real meaning.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Origin Agency, each team member was given a stipend and some extra vacation days for an inspiration trip. I have always wanted to go to Iceland, so that’s where I decided to seek my inspiration (innblástur).

My intuition dislikes the thought of planning anything. My inner self is all about breaking free of constraints and finding my way without knowing where exactly the road is taking me. But in this case, I felt a wee bit of planning was required. I planned my nine-day trip to Iceland (Ísland) more than I had ever planned any trip before. I spent a month mapping our route around the Golden Circle and Ring Road with plans to visit breathtaking waterfalls (foss) and majestic hiking trails (gönguferðir). I booked a camper, making sure it had all the luxuries like wifi, a mini fridge, bed, sleeping bags and a heater. I packed two Canon DSLR cameras, my phone, extra battery chargers, 64mp video cards, a car plug for my laptop and an extra hard drive for the 5,461 photos we shot, several layers of clothing, three pairs of shoes, and of course, several pairs of yoga pants.

The Blue Lagoon; a literal hot spot for all tourists traveling to Iceland, where you relax and soak in heated blár (blue) silica-filled waters.

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I encountered fields full of pink, blue, green and white hay bale “marshmallows,” rolling hills and rushing rivers, flowy-maned Icelandic horses and sheep. We were caught between thousands of sheep being herded home for the evening in an “Icelandic Traffic Jam.”

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A little taste of Iceland: skyr cake with blueberries.

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The flora (gróður), fauna (dýralíf) and groundcover in Iceland is like nothing I’d ever experienced. At any moment, you could just lay down in the softest bed of moss, greenery, and flowers for a nap.

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We ascended down a steep hill to find an astonishing valley. Gazing at Earth’s splendor, I was present.

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Jokulsarlon Glacier was extraordinary. The icebergs ascended from frosty waters. We put on our rain jackets and ran to the beach to examine glassy chunks of ice that had washed onto the black sand coast. Climbing under the iceberg the water rushed up from the tide to soak my feet.

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I gave myself time to stop, explore, and leave room for serendipity.

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The morning air was hazy and a bit chilly, but when exploring and experiencing the breath-giving nature of Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabrui, you don’t care. We traversed through crevices and perched atop rocks high above waterfalls. There were no signs, no marked trails, just small paths to walk and explore. Steadily finding my hand holds and footing along the way required presence and intuition.

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Seljavallalaug Pool: one of the oldest hidden pools in Iceland. We trekked about .5 miles to  Seljavallalaug which is built into the base of a mountain, nestled in a slender valley, and gathers trickling warmish water down from Eyjafjallajökull.

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The hike behind the Seljavallalaug pool: walking a narrow path up the side of the shallow cloud-covered mossy mountains was otherworldly. I pictured massive dinosaurs wandering through the canyon.

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I encountered a towering roadside waterfall, traversed the river rocks and slogged up the side to a tiny ledge 100 feet above the base. I’ve never felt so one with nature. Next, I stopped at an insanely windy barren black glacial trough where the doors almost flew off the van. Further on towards Jökulsárgljúfur I noticed abandoned vintage Land Rovers in a field. Did someone say photo op?

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On the last day on the final bit of road to Reykjavik provided me with time for reflection. This was a long, eventful, learning, inspiring, conscious and collaborative trip. It was not dissimilar to building Origin Agency with my incredible partners and crew. We have a plan, but are confident enough to make it a loose plan. We don’t get bogged down in what ifs. We let go of rigid expectations. We are open to exploring and innovation. We seek, play, discover, laugh and learn from each other. We care about our work, our clients and one another. We sometimes make ourselves get lost (glataður) because that’s right where we need to be in that moment.

About Michelle Thomas