After years of yearning and months of planning, I am finally in Iceland. There is always a bit of cognitive dissonance in the last few hours before a big trip; it’s impossible to quite comprehend that this time tomorrow, you will be in a completely different place that so far only exists in your imagination. I am grateful in a way for the almost uniform sterility of airports. Their almost-the-same blandness worldwide creates a sort of purgatory that helps one make the transition from here to there.
It has been something like 15 years since I traveled to Europe, (even now, Iceland only sort of counts) and five years since my last real travel adventure. I am certainly rusty. I had forgotten how much longer everything takes when you don’t know what you’re doing. When traveling east means returning to the familiar, you don’t notice how much worse the jet lag is in that direction.
Yesterday I arrived early in the morning, and managed to stay awake until about 8. I mostly visited places where you couldn’t take pictures – museums with 800 year-old manuscripts and 1000 year-old building foundations. It made it easier to not miss the kids, spending the day doing things they would hate. After I crashed at 8, I was only dimly aware of the live music downstairs in my hostel, and then I woke up at 1:30 am, completely alert. When I finally fell asleep again, I didn’t wake until almost noon.
So I missed the lunchtime concert I had planned to attend, and walked to the mall to find out why my new Icelandic phone didn’t work. Turned out to be something stupid I did. I walked back to the hostel for an interview who never came. Eventually I remembered that part of what is good about travel is being unable to hide your own limitations behind routine, and caught a bus to the suburbs for an interview.
I won’t spoil it by saying too much, but it was an honor and a pleasure to meet Valgeir Sigurðsson, whose name I can’t spell properly in WordPress, but have to copy from Word where I have access to the ð. He was thoughtful and well-spoken and very generous with his time.
Now I realize that I have eaten nothing today but a frozen yogurt and two coffees, and I have another interview in an hour. So I will leave it at that for now and go look for some of that expensive Icelandic food (oh my Lord, things are expensive here). More and better-written updates to follow.