Iceland: The Beauty of Inconvenience
"To unpathed waters, undreamed shores... For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move."
When our lives get too easy, they also get too empty.
I truly belive that a certain sort of inconvenience really does enhance our expereince of the world.
We are living the age of convenience. Inconvenient things are not necessarily beautiful but the most beautiful things are inconvenient, such as giving birth, marriage, handwritten letters, hiking, film camera, wax sealing, good & healthy food, printed books, living as a decent human being, traveling the unbeaten roads...
We just came back home from Iceland where we spent over a week exploring and fulfilling our souls. An unforgettable journey and we are still in awe of what we have seen. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. The feeling of the grandeur of nature surrounding us.
The journey itself has ended but the the spells of euphoria and magic that Iceland has put on us hasn't still ceased to exist.
We drove 2300km along the southern & northern stretch of Iceland's Route One, the 830-mile Ring Road following the coast line that circles this stunning country. We were being spoiled by scenery. Roaring waterfalls, great geysers, glaciers, geothermal hot springs, gorgeous village towns, icelandic horses, lava fields, northern lights, volcanoes, reindeer, lakes, national parks, sea cliffs...
It’s difficult and almost impossible to describe and convey what we felt standing there, with our own senses. My words and photographs failed doing Icelandic landscape justice. The country is visually captivating in a way I’ve not seen elsewhere and ever seen before. Lurking around every bend a stunning new landscape reveals itself. We are powerless before the mother nature.
We kept driving into the night, into the greatness of Icelandic scenery, over the lonely back roads, and once we transform the loneliness into solitude, the sense of peace never gets separated from us. The ultimate quiet made the peace of our mind and everything crystal clear. The immensely deep and largely untapped reservoir of brilliant creativity within us flew freely.
We met ourselves. We grew ourselves. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
Diving deeply in the vast ocean of thoughts, we came to the realization that Icelandic people are the silent, unsung heroes. In contrast to jaw-dropping landscapes, every man made things lay back humbly, insignificant, almost non-existent. It retreats into the backstage to make room for the nature shining the main spotlight.
Only a few roads have been built: small, plainly simple two-land roads or mostly offroad paths with rich colors of dust that we are probihited from driving with automobile vehicles.
Rustic, wooden road signs immersed in the smells of fresh grasses, earth and sheep dung.
Wooden houses and farms using green energy blending in at the base of mountains.
Unpretentious yet solid wooden bridge with a washed-out look as if it was built by the icelandic farmers' hands.
All of that, they are not screaming for attention and we can only spot its existence really up close.
The priority of all infrastructure plans doesn't revolve around us, but the nature itself.
Iceland is ranked in 2013 as the 13th most-developed country in the world with GDP per capita of $51,262 and population of 329,000 - they have more than enough resources to build fancy things along the line to attract more tourists. But they don't. To protect the otherworldly nature of Iceland from further depletion due to human and mass tourists activity.
Recently there has been a massive tourism boom in Iceland. There is at the moment no infrastructure in Iceland to deal with a million tourists each year. With the Icelandic currency plummeting after the bank crash in 2008 it suddenly became much cheaper for us foreigners to visit this beautiful country. But many tourists don't respect this land and its own people by spoiling the nature like off-road driving, picking up moss, leaving garbages behind, vandalism.... Nevertheless, Icelanders are very proud and protective of their nature and I hope they will stand strong with the state of mind of a true earthling, protectors of the earth.
Because true power requires modesty and empathy, not force and coercion. Because the test of humanity strength lies not in our ability to oppress the nature, but in our power to protect our very home.
2016 © Anh Tu Nguyen // +49 176 5650 8077 // Am Vorgebirgstor 13, 50969 Cologne, Germany // firstname.lastname@example.org