Iceland: Journey Around the Ring Road
In 2014, my friend, Yvonne, and I spent 11 days around Iceland's famous Ring Road. Neither of us had a concrete plan on what to see or do, and there was a lot of, "Where next?", "What time is it and does it even matter?", and "Where should we sleep tonight?". It was the freedom and spontaneity bound only by sunrise and sunset which made this trip memorable. This was also the place where I had realized my full love for landscape photography.
Iceland is not overrated. It is as beautiful as everyone says. It is defined by its large-scale ruggedness that is felt when surrounded by the colossal mountains and open ocean air. Waterfalls are abound - they are so common that some are even nameless. Black sand beaches lined with towering basalt columns tell you that the earth manifested this by itself and it has stories to tell. There are a lot of farms, especially with sheep who like to migrate along the highways. One of my highlights was us discovering one particular farm, Bjarteyjarsandur, to stay at along the way - the coziest spot run by the loveliest family.
The country hit its largest tourism boom to date between 2013 and 2017. In hindsight, my brief first visit in 2011 had already contributed to this. It is a stunning place that I am happy people can now access more easily and fall in love with themselves. However, responsible travelling and tourism regulation is important as what makes the previously remote country so beautiful is at risk with the increasing traffic. A quick Google search will reveal Iceland's economic and environmental struggles with risen tourism rates. My wish is those who choose to visit respect every aspect of its natural environment, which appears harsh and resilient but in reality, remains vulnerable with heavy foot traffic over time.