Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath. 
–Mark Strand


Day 8 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Monday, September 8, 2014:
Woke with long morning search for cafe. Found it eventually at Visitor Center in Hellnar. Very rainy still. Cups and cups of coffee with updates in the journal . . .
This is where the entries end, as I've never kept a travel journal consistently. We went on a long hike to Glymur later that day, the tallest waterfall in Iceland. It involved climbing down through a cave, crossing a long log bridge, and then scrambling up to the top. And then we visited the sites on the Golden Circle the next day, back closer to Reykjavík, before returning home sick, tired, and happy.

(Grundarfjörður → Hellnar → Glymur → Reykjavík, Iceland)


Day 7 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Sunday, September 7, 2014:
Long, rainy drive to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Ramen in van and venture into Water Museum—pillars of water from each glacier in Iceland. Museum was closed but door was open. Kicked out. Oops! Dinner at Narfeyrarstofa—mussels and fish soup. Left and got a flat tire in lava field outside of Stykkishólmur as sun was setting. Helped Sam jack car and then picked wild blueberries while he put on the spare. Camped in Grundarfjörður.
(Látrabjarg → Grundarfjörður, Iceland)


Day 6 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Saturday, September 6, 2014:
Woke surprisingly not hungover. Foggy drive to Dynjandi (wedding cake waterfall) with stop at Pollurinn later. Asked someone to take our picture and then laughed about it. Geothermal bath hillside with Icelandic family and then to ourselves. Misty. Quiet. Three black sheep came, curiously—very close. Drove to Látrabjarg but it was very rainy. Strange being so near the view . . . with no view. Searched for historic rocks from saga. Walked along beach and found large, curious seal with bobbing head. Walked up and down the shore as it followed. Day of curious creatures.
(Ísafjörður → Látrabjarg, Iceland)


Day 5 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Friday, September 5, 2014:
Woke and drove to nearby farm for the bathroom, water, and seals. Then drove up the east side of the Westfjords—waterfalls and rainbows everywhere. Late start but we made it to Ísafjörður around 5 p.m. Into the cultural center/library for directions to campsite. Woman (who we now know as Helena) gave us directions. Saw exhibition of gridded sketches, botanical book, worn marble floors. Found campsite and searched town for our planned dinner spot. Ended up being back where we setup . . . in a building from the 1700s! Old wooden fish warehouse. Walked in museum portion by accident where Helena also works—small town. Drinks at another cafe and then back to Tjöruhúsið at 9 p.m. Helena snuck us beers as we waited outside. Lights reflecting on the sea. The best food—fish buffet in giant cast iron skillets—wood interior, bottle of wine, honeymoon toast. Another bottle of wine waiting at our camp when we got back. Thankful for our sneaky new Icelandic friend.
(Vatnes Peninsula → Ísafjörður, Iceland)


Day 4 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Thursday, September 4, 2014:
Awoken by police knocking on our van at 2 a.m.—evacuated in case of flooding due to the volcano. Very nice, blonde, smiley officer gave us advice on where to sleep in Mývatn. Arrived in Mývatn around 3:30 a.m. and camped on side of the road. Morning filled with midges (tiny bugs) and tourists and "dog-bowl" hike. View of cute pseudo-craters. Drove on to Akureyri and happened on lunch buffet at cafe. Sat outside in sun, walked to the church, and then drove on to Goðafoss (actually, before Akureyri). Drove on to Skagaströnd for a "cowboy cafe" we read about in the guidebook. Guidebook old. No cowboy cafe. But! Beautiful walk in a nature preserve on the beach and found a box of simple treasures—shells, books, rocks—in a suitcase. Part of someone's art project. Then to the Vatnes Peninsula. Camped at beach overlook near Osar Hostel. Walked along shore near seal colony. Met Belgian Jeremy, ate soup, and drank port outside as the sun set.
(Dettifoss → Mývatn → Akureyri → Vatnes Peninsula, Iceland)


The smallest spark, the most tentative hint of a glow, is imagined in the dense ambience of its absence. 
Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles, and Celebrations

 Happy Winter Solstice—the beginning of light, the beginning of life.


Day 3 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Wednesday, September 3, 2014:
Woke to rain and drove through the East Fjords. Stopped in Djúpivogur (man we met in bar a few days earlier's grandfather's brother was a famous giant and lived there—no sign of him) and a few industrial seaside towns. Decided to cut west from Breiðdalur and the weather changed and the land, too—fertile valley with beautiful dappled sun, large lakes near Egilsstaðir, and then over the mountains to Seyðisfjörður—beautiful! Early afternoon of showers and laundry at a hostel. Coffee at Hotel Aldan, eavesdropping on table of artists-in-residence. Sam spilled espresso on his clean pants and I took photos of the mess. House-made beers next door. Walk around town with buildings reflected in harbor and giant ferry to Europe loading. Dinner and backgammon (and exhibition) at Skaftfell Art Center. Drive back over mountains toward Dettifoss. Light rain, pink sky, rainbow, Mars landscape. Hour-long gravel drive to waterfall. Arrive in darkness but hear the powerful water. A little worried about volcano.
(Höfn → Seyðisfjörður → Dettifoss, Iceland)


Day 2 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Tuesday, September 2, 2014:
Wake to sheep near van, tired after a sleepless night but everything was beautiful. Sam made coffee. Drive along stretch of lava fields—austerely beautiful. Hike in Skaftafell National Park to basalt waterfall Svartifoss, then up to glacier view. Ate shrimp salad sandwiches. Drove to glacier calving sites: Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón. Glaciers cracking at the latter and floating under a bridge out to sea—all vaguely boat shaped. Fish and chips and chocolate shake in Höfn. Drove out of town through tunnel, took a right on next road, and drove 2 km. past farm buildings. Are we supposed to be here? Camping spot. Walked a few hours along beach, moss, and rocks. Secluded other than the sheep watching us. Moved to tears with this experience at dusk.
(Vík → Outside of Höfn, Iceland)


Day 1 of our road trip, as written in a tiny journal on Monday, September 1, 2014:
Sam stalled the van twice leaving the rental car agency. First day of sheep, waterfalls, green/black. Hiked to Seljavallalaug pool in mountainside. Sam lost keys for 30 minutes inside of van—found. I laughed. Stood close to Skógafoss, watching mist rounds and feeling the sound. Skógar Folk Museum for turf houses, whale vertebrae, bad taxidermy. Basalt cave and black beach at Vík. Foamy white water. Dinner at Halldorskaffi—bowls and bowls of mushroom soup. Nervous drive north, near Þakgil, with swans and sheep. Dusk walk with Sam. Amazing landscape. Windy, rainy, intimidating first night in camper. Glacier view.
(Reykjavik → Outside of Vík, Iceland)


We were in Iceland for two weeks, spending two days in Reykjavik on either side of a 10-day road trip around the country. Our rental house kept bikes, so we rode along the sea in the afternoons, into the city center to eat waffles and drink coffee. We teetered home at night after having too many drinks, because the occasion called for my favorite excuse—as many occasions do—"it's vacation!"

We rode to a friend-of-a-friend's for dinner, up the long hill to see the famous Hallgrímskirkja, and past the lake Tjörnin at night with all of the city lights reflecting back on our cold- and wine-bitten faces. One night, we rode home through the wind and rain only to decide to venture out again for a night swim at Laugardalslaug. And we woke early the next morning to rent the van which was our transportation and home for 10 days.

The trip was beautiful. It was recorded on film, as iPhone videos, and in shorthand in my journal. The shorthand's interesting to me because it's hard to describe a country like Iceland with statements and facts—a place so otherworldly and emotion-inducing—so, the writing comes across as very matter-of-fact and sometimes comical. I'm going to share it here along with some film photos. It feels representational of the dichotomy of traveling, the dichotomy of experience in general—all at once so light and heavy.


Sam and I talked about traveling to Iceland when we were broken up in 2010. I bought a travel guide and read a little each day of that winter.

We married this year and took a honeymoon, Frommer's Iceland 2011 in tow.


Samuel and I married on May 16 at my parents' farm in Missouri, in the same barn that I grew up feeding cattle in. It was a team effort of friends and family: Anjali took the photos; Molly made the ceramics; my mom arranged the flowers; Sam made the beer; Danielle baked the pies; Ally painted signs; I designed the invites; our family hung lights and branches, built an arbor and a dance floor, and arranged straw bales for bonfires—the list is exhaustive. Pizza was ordered, midday beers were had, and by the time people arrived there was still dirt under my fingernails.

We had a small ceremony on Friday and then a big party on Saturday night, but my favorite memories of the weekend were in the work and lull of preparing. My heart was full in those moments—not just with romantic love for Sam, but with what we have built together, with our people.

All photos above (except for the first) and many, many more by my very talented friend Anjali Pinto.