Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

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Monday June 28 –

Travel styles are a complicated thing that must be figured out if there is any semblance of a timeline or a finite amount of time on a trip. Through personal experience, I’ve found that the constant on-the-go style travel doesn’t work for me. As awesome as things are, I get to a point of saturation and start to forget the difference between the East Fjords and the West Fjords. I’m also not one for just sitting around one place indefinitely. While a few days can give you a sense of a place, too long can make you sick of it, complacent in your boredom. For me, the ideal approach is a couple days burning, a day to rest and explore. This allows me processing time and a maximum number of sights I’ll remember.

Each person has their own travel style, and on a trek like this one that can be both a blessing and a curse. With each person added or subtracted the group dynamics and travel philosophies change. So this trip is a solo trip, followed by +Jamie, then +Jamie+Dan, then +Jamie+Dan+Elena, then +Jamie again. That is 4 or 5 vacations in series.

When you have more time, you can afford to slack. But when Dan arrived, we ran back to the hostel, showered, packed up and got on the road. The time spent in town was minimized so we could get out into the country and see the wonder that is Iceland nature. When Elena rolled in, we ended up spending the morning in a perpetual state of 1-more-task. Each leg, up until the last, has a little more urgency to it. The final deadline is getting closer all the time, and the short timers want to get as much in as possible. In order to do this, progress needs to be made at times or at least everyone needs to be on the same page for coordination and maximization of time.

If I have an hour, I will pull out the computer. If I have 15 minutes, I will skim through the guide book. If I have 10, I’ll have a break getting some fresh air outside. Standing in place for an hour thinking you are always about to leave results in dead time and live wires. The key to avoiding stress in travel is being honest with what you want, what you need, how long it will take, how it might inconvenience others in the group, and what can happen next. If everyone is on the same page and knows, then everyone can best prepare and take their own measures for sanity. Such was not the case on Monday morning as we ran to guide centers, post offices, banks, and grocery stores, each stop creating the next, perpetually 10 minutes away from the last task. Such is Bojangling – to amble around in a method that wastes time, either slacking or being very inefficient in work.

From the morning of bojangling we managed to finally, with tensions rising, get out onto the first day of full group sights. Fortunately these were the main tourist path sights – a waterfall, the original Geysir, and Thingvellir – the world’s oldest parliament and 1 of only 2 places on land where a continental plate rift is visible. The last, one name of which translates to “the-all-mans-gap” – which is also a fantastic term for a woman of experience – has the Mesa Verde style. Pretty. Small. Easily viewable from a perch. Doable in an hour. And overrun with tourists. Geysir, the original intermittent boiling fountain, no longer erupts but the spout about 50 m away has taken its place, going off every 3 to 8 minutes to satisfy the short attention span of humanity today. The waterfall, Gullfoss, was phenomenally pretty, but that fact was mitigated by two factors. The first was the number of waterfalls I’ve seen in the past 3 weeks. Dettifoss, Littlifoss, Hengifoss, Skogarfoss, and those are just the ones I remember the Icelandic name for. The second was the sheer hardcore aspect of a photographer on the scene who was set up with black box camera on a stand, head under the blanket. This camera, about the ultimate in artistic photography, made the waterfall, which was not the ultimate in waterfalls, seem comparatively tame.

We ended the day setting up shop in a campsite at the start of our two day trail. As per usual, we rolled in late, ate late, and didn’t get to bed on the timeframe we planned. Such is travel here.

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2010 by in Iceland.

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