The first day traveling to and then being in Iceland was a great experiment in letting go. Over the years I’ve felt a greater need to control my surroundings, resulting in needless anxiety and as a result, added difficulty when traveling. This is a far cry from when I used to be a traveling pro as a teenager. So with a month long trip to Iceland in my midst, I vowed to return to the adventurer I once was, and try to let go of my expectations.
Michael and I arrived at SFO to find that the first flight of our journey would be delayed for so long that we would miss our second flight. Instead of freaking out, I decided to immediately ask the Delta Air help desk for, well, help. All of their flights in and out of JFK were delayed due to weather, but luckily they were able to put us on another flight that was supposed to have left already, but was delayed long enough for us to board. And board we did!
Once we landed at JFK it was a lengthy taxi until we reached the gate. I checked my watch (so old school, I know) and observed the minutes ticking away, reducing the time we had to get from where we were to the international terminal. Instead of convincing myself that in switching terminals we would have to go through a time-consuming security process again, I let go of those assumptions. Of course we arrived to the next gate with plenty of time, no extra security needed.
The second flight was a breeze, and we arrived in Iceland on time – with all of our stuff to boot! In choosing to not be a victim of anxious thoughts, I was able to relax and enjoy the journey, none of which I could control anyway, rather than get caught up in what ifs. And in relaxing, I was able to act on solutions to the problems that did arise rather than be overcome by them.
We celebrated our happy and safe arrival with an immediate stop at Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon, a hot spring resort that lies between the airport and the capitol city, Reykjavík. Swimming in the resort’s hot mineral water was the perfect way to relax after all that travel.
Later that evening I looked forward to eating a meal I had here last time: soup in a bread bowl. We showed up at Svarta Kaffi to discover that they had run out of bread! Oh no! So we went to the 2nd choice option, an awesome burger restaurant in the back of a bar. But they were closed! Oh no!
The dreaded things-outside-of-my-control had reared its ugly head, but instead of becoming upset at the changes, I went along with it. Before I knew it some random guy in the bar got up and walked us to a restaurant around the corner where we could get an even better burger, and he was totally on point. Even though I fell asleep during my meal (it was 11pm by that point), it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.