Have you ever fancied visiting Iceland? This small island located in the North Atlantic is often referred to as the land of the midnight sun and has the most breath-taking scenery. How do I know this? Well, unfortunately I haven't experienced the beauty that this island has to offer but Toby did back in June/July this year on a volunteering trip, whilst celebrating his 30th birthday! I decided to do a Q&A with him so I could find out all about his trip and share it with you.
Why did you choose to visit Iceland?
I decided to do some volunteering because I wanted to give something back and create some balance in my life. With Iceland known for being one of the most beautiful places in the world, I decided to look for voluntary opportunities there and use it as a chance to tick a few things off my bucket list! I took part in a project in Thórsmörk where I spent two weeks camping in the middle of nowhere, building and maintaining new trails for visitors.
What was your favourite part of the trip and why?
I spent my 30th birthday in front of Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. It was an incredible thing to experience and I felt so lucky to be there. It's not everyday that you get a chance to do something like that.
What was your biggest challenge during the volunteering?
Getting up in the morning at 7am everyday, following 9 hour days consisting of 25km of hiking up and down mountains whilst carrying logs, tools and food for the day. It also doesn't help that I'm not a morning person either!
What was your biggest achievement?
I'd say the biggest achievement was that I helped build steps on a trail that will be enjoyed by thousands of people for years to come. We had to carry 30kg slabs of rock up a mountain, so it wasn't an easy job and I feel pretty proud to have been part of that.
What was your most memorable moment on the trip?
It's hard to pick only one but I'll narrow it down to two moments. Whilst using the 'luxurious' bathroom facilities (ie. hole in the ground), I felt out-of-place and a slight sense of insecurity as I was stared out by an arctic fox approximately 10 metres away! It was quite a surreal moment haha. The other amazing moment was watching the moon go down within a matter of ten minutes; it's something that happens every night, a moment we don't normally pay attention to or appreciate, yet it was such a magical thing to witness just sitting there it solitude on the soft, mossy floor.
What are the top essentials that you'd recommend taking on a camping trip to Iceland?
- Camelbak water bottle that fits in between you and your back pack - I had an Osprey one. It has a straw that loops around for you to drink from
- A good camera/Gopro to capture the scenery
- Gorilla Tape Camo in case of any rips or tears on your tent and bags. The wind was 65 miles per hour on some days and this ripped our tent, plus as our bags were that heavy, the straps on our bags snapped. The Gorilla tape came to the rescue and solved all our problems! I just wish I had more of it. The tape was strong enough to withstand the strong winds and hold the tent together.
- Sealskinz socks which are waterproof and breathable
- A good quality cooker as the one I took was cheap and broke
- Lots of snacks because you are basically in the middle of nowhere
- An inflatable mat to sleep on and keep you off the hard floor
- A microfiber towel
- An eye mask to help you sleep! If you visit Iceland between the months of May-July it's daylight for 24 hours.
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Declaration: I was gifted Gorilla tape products to test out, so I gave them to Toby for him to take on his trip and review. All comments are genuine, honest feedback and I wasn't paid for this post.