A First Introduction to Amsterdam

First of all – my backpack is bigger than I am. How is it so full? I’m seriously questioning that right now too since I tried to pack as light as I could… But the first mental image I give you for today is of me, 5foot6inches fall, hobbling down the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam, struggling to carry a 3foot long bag in my feeble attempt to figure out where the hell my hostel was.

Second of all – once I finally found my hostel, it turns out it is literally right in the middle of the Red Light District. Whats worse – it is a Christian-run hostel that absolutely forbids drinking, drugs, or really enjoying any of the things around us. (I’m using this as my motivation not to go into a coffeehouse and forget to leave in two days.)

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The Golden Circle and an Attempt to See the Northern Lights

Today was one of those days where I had to act like a tourist. At 8:30am sharp, I boarded a bus with the travel company ‘Reykjavik Sightseeing’ and set off to see one of the wonders of Iceland – the Golden Circle. I would go into a ton of detail about all the cool sights, but I have a flight at 7am in the morning and I skyped my father earlier today, so today’s post is just going to be a series of selfies:

A Selfie between Two Continents: Standing between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
A Selfie with the Drowning Pool: Drekkingarhylur.
A Selfie with the Original Geyser: Geysir.
A Selfie with a Glacial River Waterfall: Gullfoss Waterfall.
Up close and Personal with Gullfoss.
A Selfie with A Explosive Crater: Kerið.

The Northern Lights tour got cancelled tonight due to bad cloud coverage, so no cool photos of that for this trip… Oh well, it just means I’ll have to come back!
P.S. Dad – I’m still alive. With photo evidence this time.

Iceland Weather

Iceland weather is surprisingly similar to Vancouver’s weather. A few days before I arrived, a huge storm rolled through, which has meant rain, wind and cold ever since.

How the other travelers are responding: “OMG its so cold, we should rent a car and travel around in the warm.”

Me: “Crap, Vancouver weather followed me here 😑”

Suffice it to say I still feel like I’m in Vancouver, minus the whole not-being-able-to-understand-the-local-language (though there are so many foreign languages in Vancouver, sometimes I felt that way there too.)

Above: Iceland’s Olympic training center, located a few blocks away from my hostel. Found while wondering in the rain before I could check into my hostel.
P.S. Dad – I’m cold, but still alive.

The Beginning

It has begun. As of 3:55pm on today – October 19th – my 2 month adventure has begun.

Today started like normal. I was lazy and didn’t want to function, so I skyped a really good friend for the last time in the foreseeable future, then finally mustered up the energy to go run some last minute errands and chores. Which was going great. Until it wasn’t.
Now, if you know me, you know I hate doing laundry. Like fully despise it. But since I’ll be gone for 2 months, I knew I couldn’t leave the clothes I’m not bringing dirty for that long, so I gave in and started a load of laundry. The only problem? I forgot soap. 30min later I finally realized what I had done and had to completely redo the load…. This was the beginning of my end.

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My Father Thinks I’m Going to Die

When I first started thinking about backpacking Europe for an extended period of time, an important question came to my mind – Would I actually like being by myself for very long? My hypothesis was yes – I had always enjoyed being alone with my thoughts, I’m sure that wouldn’t be different while I was traveling. But could I manage it for 2 straight months?

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The Second Tattoo: In Memorial

Throughout everyone’s lives, we have all made at least one resolution that we swore we would keep only to cave in eventually. That first night you experience tequila: “I’ll never drink again” – then two weeks later you get twice as plastered as before. Or the common “This holiday season I’ll be careful what I eat!” Two months later, you’ve still gained the holiday 15lbs. I had a similar situation with my first tattoo. I had wanted a tattoo for years, but once I got my first one – “This will be my last, I don’t see myself as the type of person with more than one tattoo.” Five years later, I got a second one.

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The life, thoughts, and travels of an adventurous ginger.