Get Ready To Learn About Iceland

The winner of my trip contest is MAS, who correctly guessed that I’m starting my next trip in Iceland. I was surprised that he got it at only the tenth comment, so I asked him about his strategy. His response:

I recently saw a bus ad for Iceland Air. It said something about being a layover for other European sites. Your question made me think of that bus billboard.

I picked Iceland for one main reason: it’s the polar opposite of my South American experience. Everything about it is different: climate, culture, food, language, and women. Yes, I know that it doesn’t have the prettiest Scandinavian girls compared to Sweden or Finland. I know the people are “weird,” and I know it’s going to be cold with only four hours of sunlight a day, but I’m not looking for a vacation. I want an interesting experience, and as the only tourist dumb/smart enough to go to Iceland in winter, I have a feeling I’ll get it. (As for the weather, it’s just a little colder than Washington DC’s winter.)

My plan is to stay there for a month before moving on to the European mainland. Here’s a list of countries I’m most interested in (as of today):

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

I’m going to narrow this list down by at least half so that I’m spending more time in fewer countries—I have little interest in racking up more than a handful of countries and flags. Instead I want to dig deep with these new countries like I did in Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, and that’s hard to do that while backpacking in hostels. In fact, I’ve ditched the backpack—I bought a huge piece of luggage with wheels to hold both summer and winter clothing. My former Danish roommate said Scandinavian guys have ten times more style than American guys so I’ll need the extra space to pack a collared shirt or two.

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