Night that never comes and light that never ends. Summer in Iceland is both beautiful in its full midnight sun glory and in its soft clear day- light that highlights waterfalls, mountains and volcanos. A lifetime of stories told by Icelandic friends and with a dream of seeing into the world so many have photographed in a captivating way, I set off from Oslo.
After the beginning months of the year I left my curtains open in Norway, slowly adjusting to an hour extra sleep here and extra light there. I grew accustomed to sleeping with the beams warming my face the glow turning my vision to ochre. When I got to Iceland I found I could keep the curtains open to wake up to the view of mountains or to photograph in the early hours of the morning as fog rolled over the nearby river.
I stayed on a farm aptly called ‘Spirit farm’, for it surely had all the good vibes to live up to its namesake. A collective of conscious warm hearted people from across the globe gather here to share and inspire one another. Volunteering but also collaborating to not only create a space to welcome Airbnb guests but to share a part of ourselves with each other. In surroundings such as these you feel a part of something bigger, realising that we all share more common than the differences that separate us. I came to Iceland only knowing a small handful of childhood friends, but left with a family.
We borrowed the car, taking to the road for a 12 hour road trip that was so filled with sights and sounds, the ever-changing landscape that had us forgetting which planet we were rolling over, that we lost track of each hour. Stepping from the car, wind battles us making our steps un-easy, making us pull in our raincoats closer, taking photos with hair blowing against lenses. We walk over black sand (Vik), lava fields and point to glaciers that encompass both the elements of the sky and the water surrounding us. My friends lean across the dashboard, ready for the next photo. We sing, slap our knees with the pure joy of joining in the rhythm and the light slowly dips over the mountains as we make our way towards our Icelandic home.
New friends come along with invites. People that want to share the beauty of their country with us, show it to us first hand, fully immersed. Our feet leave the farm, and then from car to boat we arrive at our dinner party on an island inside a river. A cool breeze whips our hair around our faces, a fine mist has the roots clinging to our foreheads. Pausing by the water a young seal passes us by, she takes us by surprise but is not bothered by us as she attempts to swim against the current. On our Icelandic safari we pass by yurts and a traditional building construction to grow potatoes in the darkness of a shaded basement.
After the battle against the weather, our coats that were once pulled tight against our necks are hung over the banister of a small cottage on the island. I at once, feel for the camera I left at home (with the wisdom that comes with already experiencing the wild elements and opting for freedom over documenting). The house is compact, but filled with light and warmth. Walls are clad in wood, light bounces of white surfaces with softness from the late summer sun. Plates are ladened with large spoonfuls of vegan dishes. Warm homemade bread filled with dates and walnuts dipped into everything. I look around the table, catching moments of eye contact and sharing smiles. It feels a lot like a home, one that I’ve chosen to be a part of. After we fill our stomachs, a guitar that once sat in the corner of the room is picked up and together we sing, dance and improvise our way into the goodbye greetings of the evening.