So i always had this dream in my mind that one day I’ll become a hermit somewhere in nature, enjoying the deep-rooted luxuries of living a simple life and in balance with the world, and being cradled by mother nature. Plus, I think that I’m pretty thick-skinned because I look at life’s hardships as lessons instead of punishment, so anything short of dying just means i’m still alive. However, sometimes my love for living life can be to a fault. haha.
On the winter on 2014, I started having this urge to go someplace cold, isolated and in a way, difficult. I felt like that was an experience that i needed to overcome for my own sense of growth so i decided that i must, go to Iceland that December. In hindsight, i think i what i really wanted was for the experience to mirror what i was experiencing in my mind. Maybe i was subconsciously manifesting my thoughts into real life?
Well, i had this optimistic idea of me and Lee hitchhiking around Iceland, seeing the northern lights, and experiencing the real harshness of winter. For someone who grew up on the equator and is generally quite new with this whole winter thing, it didn’t take long after we landed for me to realise how much i underestimated the things that the local people have to go through with everyday.
There was a lot times when it felt like we were the only things alive. When we tried to find forested areas to camp, i realised that seeing a standing tree is usually more of a privilege than a fact of life, and when the temperatures drops to below -15c, you could feel parts of your body start to turn to ice as your body tries to keep your core warm.
But we persevered anyway, sleeping in abandoned vans and gas stations and i realise that the number one reason for our survival was not my own abilities and strength, but rather it was from the kindness and hospitality of everyone we met along the way. Every single time when it just seems like too much, a helping hand always extends and helps up along the way on our journey. Every single time. And i can’t discount how much easier the whole thing was because i had Lee with me.
And so we managed to beat the blizzard and found ourselves on an island called Hrisey.
On a frozen island, off the coast of northern Iceland, was a little town with a population of about 100, you would think that this would be a miserable place right? Well, i actually felt like the whole community warmed up my heart and in a cliché way, taught me the meaning of christmas.
The sense of community was such a juxtaposition to how barren and cold the place really is. We lived in the only restaurant on the island which was also a its only grocery store, as well as being the post office and a bed and breakfast! They offered us a home, treated us like family and expected very little in return. Everyone on the island was this nice that it’s something i usually think about when i wonder how little i need to be happy.
I have enough sunset pictures for a lifetime of #throwbackthursdays
So after the whole trip, and some time to think about it. I realised that my dream of completely removing myself from civilisation by living as a hermit would not only get me killed eventually, but I don’t think that’s a life worth living.
I love people too much and I love the exchange of love. When I pluck an apple off a tree and eat it i always get that feeling that mother nature will always take care of me but this love might just be an illusion of circumstance. This tropical boy only has always seen the earth as a provider, not a taker. Now I realise that the earth doesn’t directly care if i am alive or not. I am no special than the ant on the floor but that’s fine. I still believe that if we live in balance with our surrounding, then nature will give you all you need and take what you don’t. And plus now, I realised that a lot of my misplaced trust should actually be directed to humanity and the strength i get from people. ❤
In total, we managed to hitchhike a total of at least 920km this trip. Special thanks to the wonderfully hospitable people living in iceland(they are not cold people at all!) anda giant thank you to my girlfriend Lee for going through hell and back with me.