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June 22, 2012
Iceland: What the Earth provides
A few years ago, I was flying home from Tanzania, and I looked down at one point and said, “Oh my god, where are we?” The water was pristine, aqua blue, and just beautiful. As it turned out, we were directly over Iceland—and I knew right then that I wanted to add it to my list.
In the summer of 2010, along with my family, I got my chance. Compared to the flight I was on when I first glimpsed Iceland, the trip from Boston was a breeze—but the pure natural beauty of the country felt like another world. We went on a whale watch, stood in a field filled with thousands of lupines, walked behind a waterfall, and rode snowmobiles across a glacier. We rode horses, too, which I found interesting because there really aren’t many land mammals in Iceland. Those that live there all serve a distinct purpose: horses for transportation; sheep for wool, food, and fertilizer; reindeer for food; cows for food and milk.
The people of Iceland really do make the most of what the Earth provides. Because gas is so expensive, more than 80% of their electricity is generated by hydropower. Wood and stone are sparse, so homes are made from corrugated metal. When we were out in the countryside, I mused that it must get really lonely here, with no friends for miles and no restaurants or shops to walk to. But our guide smiled and said, “No, we have our families and our animals.” I found the people to be very independent and self-sufficient—very much a product of their homeland.
Given this observation, I’m interested in the novel called Independent People that traveler Alison Lockwood recommends in this month’s traveler story—I may need to add it to my list. I definitely recommend you read Alison’s story, since it beautifully summed up the excitement of visiting this unique country with OAT.
Where have you traveled with OAT lately? I’d love to hear more of your stories. We’ll be featuring a sample of our Africa and Southeast Asia adventures next month in Harriet’s Corner, but I welcome tales from all of your adventures. Tell me about them in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your thoughts in the comments section.