Prep + Packing: Icelandic Road Trip

In a week, we'll head off on our big adventure for 2016: an Icelandic road trip.

Dave's been dreaming of it since he was a kid and I eagerly adopted his dream as my own. Since then been talking about this trip for years. This "kidless/adult/working/healthy" stage of our lives is unique in that we have fewer responsibilities than we will someday, but affording a big trip like this still takes quite a bit of financial and logistical planning.

I saw a quote that said early adulthood was the "time for small paychecks and big memories" and couldn't help but smile and agree. We're so grateful for freedom to explore and the means to do it.

This trip has been on again, off again for over a year, but finally in June we pulled the trigger, bought plane tickets, booked a camper van and dove deep into road trip research. The planning has been my favorite geography lesson. Our google road map is filled to the brim with awesome things. I didn't know about the My Maps function on Google Maps until wishing for a tool like it. Lucky for me, Google had already seen the need and filled it. I have loved building our own customized road map filled with all the fun things we want to see:

So far, the goal has been to be as educated as possible and then go with the flow once we get there. The biggest tip we've received from Icelanders is to "follow the weather" so that's our official plan, everything else could totally change once we get there. 

Another thing we keep reading is that "there is no wrong weather in Iceland, only wrong clothing." This had us a bit worried, as the average temps during our visit will be in the 30s to 50s (˚F) range and we'll be camping. However, after a bit of research and purchasing some long underwear, I think we're going to be just fine. After all Michigan isn't artic, but I think it's done a fine job preparing us for cold weather adventures.

                                |  Parka  |  Hat  |  Hiking boots  |  Swimsuit  |  Sweater  |                        |  Raincoat  |  Down vest  |  Camp shirts  |  Shirts  |  Long underwear  |  Hiking pants  |    |  Snow boots  |  Scarves  |  Mittens/gloves  |  Wool socks  |  Leggings  |  Camp Shoes   |  

Lots of layers and different options for the variety of hikes and sight-seeing we have planned. I'm thinking I might even throw in 1 nicer outfit for when we spend our last night in Reykjavik. We've also waterproofed everything that was a realistic candidate for it, including our hiking pants, boots, vests, etc.

Little side note: the fact that I've grown up comfortable in both Austrian and American cultures has given me a slight fear of looking/acting like a tourist. (Heaven forbid I'm ever caught wearing white tennis shoes as street shoes in Austria! Sure sign of being an American tourist.) I'm mentally aware that there is no way in the world to get around this when visiting a new place, but I still end up with nagging feelings. This can't be unique to me, but I wish I had a better way of dealing with it than just telling myself to stop being silly and trying to ignore the feeling. 

Anyway, I could gush about all the things I expect Iceland to be, but I'm pretty sure I can't even imagine right now. We love adventures and wild places, we're psyched out of our minds to have the chance to experience a true wilderness. We decided to head over during the shoulder season, when the daylight is shorter, but the chance to see the Northern Lights is bigger and the high season crowds have left. Hoping to have many places all to ourselves.