Saturday, January 30, 2016

10 Things About Iceland

[Well, Reykjavik, specifically.]

There was a lot to like about Iceland, even in January. More than enough for me to want to go back (even in January!).

1. Icelanders are unfailingly polite and very kind. And they all speak better English than many native English speakers, which I always find impressive.

2. Barren landscapes are stunningly beautiful, especially when the weather is awful. There is just something about deserts and tundras that are so very simple, and so very beautiful because of it. And Iceland has a lot of barren landscapes.

3. Reykjavik is so small it's the easiest European capital to get around I've ever visited. Even in winter weather, walking to everything was super easy and nothing was further than 15 minutes away.

4. It doesn't take long to hit wilderness. Everywhere outside the city offers something for nature lovers. In fact, it might just offer everything for nature lovers. I didn't find anything that isn't available in some part of the island! That's not bad for such a small country.

5. If you love fish, you'll love Iceland. Everything is very expensive there, but fish is actually decently priced and ALWAYS fresh. How can you go wrong?

6. The tea options are good, but the coffee is even better.

7. It's really close to Europe. Comparatively. And cheap to fly there.

8. There are dozens and dozens of museums and they are all worth a visit.

9. It's very expensive, but like most places that are expensive, it's also exceedingly safe. You can walk down a city street at 2am and not worry and I appreciate that in a travel destination.

10. This country is worth a visit 365 days a year, and it's hard to say which of those days would be better than others. I think they'd all be brilliant.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Plans within Plans

So it's 2016. Last year was going to be my Year of Awesomeness, but then my viva happened and it ended up just being another year of my PhD. Whatever. I'm over it.

[I'm not.]

Instead, I shall move on to 2016 being my Year of Awesome Things. It's looking good so far. There's quite a bit of travelling planned, including to new places. There's scuba diving again, and hiking, both things I've missed. There's a museum internship and potential for research projects. There's a book review and peer review for academic journals. There is one novel finished, and two more to complete this year. There's the very scary process of finding an agent (next step!) and hopefully getting a book contract. There is a definitive plan to move into my own place (or at the worst, move in with a friend). There is also a still dream-like plan to get out of dodge completely and jump ship to another continent. This probably will not happen until 2017, but if it does, I'll be planning and setting the stage this year.

There are also the less tangible things, like stop apologizing so much. Stop regretting things and go out and do them instead. Stop feeling guilty for having bad days. Get my mental health into a much better place (I feel this will probably always be a work in progress, but making progress this year would be a good thing). Being better at seeing friends (and new friends!). Socializing more, but not so much it makes me miserable. Enjoy winter more (and get outside in it). Stop feeling ashamed of many things that are not my fault and that I in no way should apologize for, because they are not my fault. Embrace a new lifestyle and stop living like a student.

Take each day as it comes - and if something happens I didn't expect, go with it - be spontaneous, break the mould (and the schedule), try new things, meet new people (and don't freak out), love life a bit more.