in iceland

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This time last year I was jet-lagged, smelling like airplane, and nestled in a tiny cafe eating chia pudding—in Iceland: a pleasant surprise for our first meal in the country, and certainly a comfort to my health conscious tendencies. Though outside Reykjavik, chia seeds became less of a thing and for that week my diet consisted mainly of bread (no regrets), GoMacro bars—I packed roughly thirty. When vegetables felt necessary, we gave in to Iceland's frightening dining costs and splurged on a real meal. But the lack of accessible nourishment didn't matter so much: you can't be mad at a country like Iceland.

I don't think I fully appreciated Earth, or all that it's capable of, before this trip. It's like it decided to put all the most beautiful things together in one spot. The kind of beautiful you can't capture with even the fanciest of cameras (which is why I've chosen to include pictures of my breakfasts here rather than volcanoes). It was a week of being constantly surprised, overwhelmed by nature in the best way. We followed one road around the whole, tiny country. Thinking back, I don't even know how that could be possible. It's become my favorite road in the whole world. 

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Lately I've been wishing for that same simplicity: where my only responsibility was becoming best friends with nature. And sheep. Where my biggest worry was finding a place to pee along those long stretches of nothings, magical nothings. Where walking through fields of purple flowers became a daily thing, waterfalls a regular sight. The texting, instagramming, mindlessly staring at our phones was relatively non-existent. Aside from Florence on repeat, the traveling was quiet. The conversations with others minimal. There was so much to feel and take in that words weren't really necessary. Though when spoken, there was a lot of "wow." Our eyes fixed out the car windows, mesmerized by Planet Earth episode we were living. 

Crouching down next to a stream, drinking the water from my cupped hands, I felt so wild—in my Patagonia jacket and Outdoor Voices water-wicking pants. Overpriced adventure attire aside, I felt a kind of connection to my surroundings that is so hard to achieve at home. With all the to-do lists and societal pressures, stress is constantly preventing us from stopping to look around, being grateful for where we're at in any given moment. 

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After a year of a whole lot of figuring stuff out, fighting with my intuition and listening too much to others, I feel like I've finally reached a spot to rest on this really tall mountain of life. A place to catch my breath, sort through my hopes and dreams, and figure out which one to go after next. And I've climbed a glacier, so I'm pretty confident I can tackle any of them. 

 Also, magic bread and eggs from a chicken that I met and thanked personally: 

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Kelsey Gleason