If you want to get away from it all, Iceland should be at the top of your list.
Iceland is the closest thing I’ll ever get to visiting another planet. The views are breathtaking and otherworldly. As soon as you land, the ground looks like I would expect to see rolling across terrain on mars.
But even more than that, the culture was surprisingly separate from the rest of the world.
The people are friendly, yet mind their own business. You can’t help but notice how set in their ways the average Icelander seems to be. The natural, unadulterated beauty of the country makes everything else melt away.
As an American living and working in the age of the internet, I can’t help but know what’s going on in the world. All it takes is a tap on my phone or a staff meeting at work. American culture thrives on activism, information, and expressing opinions in general.
Iceland felt exactly the opposite to me.
Coming from a country saturated in an age of violence, broken systems, natural disasters, and a tumultuous presidential election, the feeling of being so easily and completely cut off from it all was eerily soothing.
I want to go back to that feeling.
But maybe I shouldn’t.
I tend to live in my own little world. I have to force myself to read up on politics, current events, and theology. It usually doesn’t happen until circumstances beyond my control force me to do so (cue the next presidential election year or controversial piece of media.)
I relate all too well to Walter Mitty. It’s easy for me to get lost in imagination and good stories instead of reality. Thankfully, I also relate to Walter Mitty’s discovery. Living your own story is even more worthwhile than the daydreaming.
If I stayed in a place like Iceland, I could see myself getting completely lost in the mountains, waterfalls, and pleasant IKEA-like coffee shops, never worrying about developing another opinion or disagreeing with popular culture ever again.
But I want to be wise. I want to be helpful. I want to speak truth and life into dark situations.
If I’m constantly in my own little world, I can’t be a positive part of this one.
I would love to go back to Iceland someday. I honestly hope to. The people are kind. The scenery is among the most beautiful sights I’ve ever beheld. Its tranquility is good for the soul. I highly recommend it.
Yet, here I am in the United States of America, engrossed in the digital age and media world, learning to stay afloat amidst the chaos, hurt, and inner turmoil, coming face-to-face with darkness of many kinds. And you know what? I highly recommend it, too. It’s an incredible country with a constant store of wild potential and an ever-present opportunity to be a light.
Iceland, I’ll be back. But for now, thanks for showing me the value in engaging the constant struggle between this world and the next.