Generally speaking, I like planning and organizing. In my twenties, I was so obsessed with sticking to my routines in and out of the office, I would become totally frazzled if something wasn't "perfect." However, after spending more time on the road, I've learned to let go of rigid schedules and find joy in the unexpected moments. Of course, for every incredible memory and photograph, there is at least one total bust of a day, and today was that day for us. Translation: I didn't shoot a single photo (the snap above is from last night) and I haven't had a proper shower in 72 hours.
But would we appreciate the special moments if we didn't have to struggle just a little bit to get there? And what if, despite the frustration at the time, we could look back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all?
This morning we hiked out to a geothermal pool with the hope that we could start the day off with a leisurely soak, but after dipping our toes in the scalding hot water, we realized this was not going to happen. As I struggled to get my pants and boots back on, it started hailing. Hard. I yelled a number of expletives, but after realizing this situation was far beyond my control, my girlfriend and I took a photo, because well, what the hell else do you do? You stop cussing for a moment and laugh. You're alive, and you're fine. And when you look at the crappy iPhone photo some years later, you'll laugh again, because you remember how cold and pissed you were, and how your best friend was probably feeling all the same things.
Team Sailbus gave up on a morning rinse off and made its way to the southern coast to chase waterfalls -- and what we thought was a patch of good weather. We stopped at Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, and though I gave it my best shot, the combination of rain and 40mph winds made it absolutely impossible to take photos. I'm not one to give up easily, but my lenses and filters were covered with precipitation seconds after I took them out of the bag. I was very disappointed, but then I thought about it for a second. Most photos I've seen of Iceland's major waterfalls are taken during the greener months...and there's probably a very good reason for that. Then it dawned on me: I MUST come back this summer!
Anyway, back to our main mission: Finding somewhere to bathe. We're all good friends, but after a few hikes we were starting to feel pretty gross and the van was starting to smell pretty ripe. Google told us about a hot spring called Seljavallalaug, but we soon discovered that we had to cross a raging river in the rain to get to it, so we decided to turn back. And it's probably a good thing we did, because we later learned the water there was barely warm enough, and we would have been hiking back in the dark, totally defeated.
So we're in Vik tonight drinking and eating all sorts of unhealthy food, because that's what road trips are about sometimes. Sure, social media may show you jaw-dropping landscapes and tell you tales of summiting mountains, but the reality of travel often involves finding the beauty in failure, being stinky and ambling around in soggy clothes. Those are the things that make the good times shine even brighter, so perhaps we should all learn to embrace them a bit more...