It would make a lot of sense to go outside, put a couple of pegs into the ground and secure the tent. But I can’t move. The air inside the tent is so cold, there’s no way I am getting out of my sleeping bag to expose myself to the wind. So I lie and listen to the spectacle going on outside, on the other side of the fabric in the soft light that is the night of Iceland.
What are we searching for out here, far away from the comforts of modern civilization? We know that it is pure luxury to have a choice, to opt for this lifestyle in uncomfortable conditions, for an adventure with an end date. While at home, we are constantly moving in a stream of information, running after what we or others think is a valuable future. Here, we try to stay away from people, while enjoying encounters with individuals that are on a search for something they can’t name themselves.
On this trip, in this endless wilderness where time seems to stand still, every minute of the day is filled with things that need to be done in order to survive in these rough conditions.
An early rise, a cup of tea to warm the body, hot oatmeal or eggs to get the energy for the day. Cleaning the dishes, putting together the tents, getting our packs ready for a hike or ride, loading the car – you want to make sure your toothbrush is in reach and not underneath backpacks and boxes of food, when you need it next. Then we go exploring, the hills, the lava fields, the warm rivers and glacier lakes.
When we get back with our stomachs growling, we cook dinner, put up the tents, and have another cup of tea to stay warm until our body heat has transformed the sleeping bags into comfortable cocoons.
Our days are organized,
but inspiration is everywhere.
We learn to respect the elements, to live with the rain, sit in a dark cave for an hour if necessary and to appreciate five minutes of sun. We sit on a boulder, shoulder to shoulder, looking at the crevasses of a glacier, not speaking for long stretches of time. We learn to put up our tents in wind-protected spots and to wear the same clothes for a week without showering.
Where can we find water for the day? How much food do we need to bring for the next couple of days? The simplest things keep us busy and let our thoughts at peace. With or without us, the natural run of nature will continue. In the big scheme of things, our actions, feelings and thoughts are of no importance. And for some reason, this fact makes us feel more alive than we ever have been.
Pictures. Stephanie Dietze, Lutz Eichholz, Giulia Tessari and Jesper Andersen
Words. Stephanie Dietze
Map. Ángela Palacios