One of the things I love most about travelling is meeting other people who are doing what you’re doing. Enjoying life! Removed from the routine and monotony of your normal every day routine, travelling can make me more open, more daring and more willing to connect with others.
I was incredibly fortunate to not only meet a fellow traveller to share my vacation in Iceland with, but blessed to meet someone whom I not only felt an instant connection with, but on spending time together, I’d felt like we had been close friends for years!
Such was the rare moment when I met Deanna from Los Angeles on a dog sledding adventure with Extreme Iceland in Reykjavik on Thursday April 2nd, 2015. I was the second person to be collected, so De was already on the mini bus. Friendly from the moment I sat down, we got talking straight away and I took an immediate liking to her.
As the mini bus took nine of us east outside Reykjavik to meet the huskies, I knew she was someone I wanted to spend more time with. As soon as Deanna said all she does is live to travel, I was hooked. She has travelled to 47 different countries, compared to my 23. For an American, I was impressed with her tally. Her outlook on life, work and travel was identical to mine. And like me, she had experienced her own life changing event that meant we both valued and understood what really matters the most in life.
The dog sledding venture was surreal. Eight beautiful husky dogs pulled the guide, Deanna, me, and two other Americans in a circular loop under a light snowfall. The landscape was a white out of snow, with the dogs and the sled providing the only form of colour.
The sled moved a lot slower than I anticipated, but any faster and we risked losing our balance and falling off. On the way back, I was given a chance to stand, which gave me a totally different experience and perspective.
My invitation to Deanna to join me for dinner at the end of the evening turned into five days of adventures together. Several dinners spent at local restaurants sampling the local salmon, soaking in Laugardalur, a local outdoor thermal pool East of the city, a day trip touring the sights of the Golden Circle, and an indulgent paddle and pamper in the geothermally heated Blue Lagoon, I felt like I was spending time with a close friend I’d known for years, not days.
So many memorable moments, from running ten minutes back to the mini bus because we couldn’t find it, sharing earphones to listen to music, and a heartfelt hug goodbye at the bus, life and travel is so much more meaningful and special shared with someone who touches your soul.
It’s been a long journey these past 23 months since losing the most important person in my life, quite unexpectedly and tragically. And for the first time since that fateful day, in my first overseas trip, I saw a part of me emerge I thought had died when L did, the part of me that feels excited about life, adventurous and willing to go live it to the full again. Deanna herself said to me she hasn’t felt this alive and happy in a long time. I couldn’t agree more.
Until our next adventure together, thanks Deanna for making my trip to Iceland so memorable!