We reach the top of the first mountain after hiking uphill and scrambling over rocks, gravel and boulders of the first steep ascent. I look across the plane and see something unusual for my ‘it’s still August!’ eyes. Glittering in the sun is a dune of snow.
I have to sprint towards it, leaving Bridget behind. I run my hand over the icy surface, smiling broadly when a memory hits me vividly.
A couple of years ago I traveled to Iceland over my birthday. It was the beginning of March, I was still recovering from a breakup and I didn’t want to drive and stay alone during the 10 days. I decided for a small organized tour around the island with a 4×4 bus and pre-booked accommodation. I ended up in a group of 10 Singaporeans and one Australian girl.
I remember that I was confused at first and irritated by the many stops we did with the bus, each giving us enough time for selfies and the main attraction but too less to wander around and explore this amazing country.
I was frustrated and annoyed by my decision to join a group rather than traveling by myself as I would have normally done. I felt I was missing the real adventures here and the cool stuff. And I didn’t want to be on another selfie which seemed to be the ritual happening every time we arrived at a place, got one by one out of the bus and before the Australian and me could go off on a rushed exploration. She came with similar expectations towards the trip as me, so we joined forces and speed at every stop. She was also the only other one traveling with a backpack, and not a large hard shell suitcase.
Around day four we were driving already for minutes through a surreal world of a beautiful black lava field all around when we stopped and went outside as usual. I did a couple of steps when it suddenly started to snow. I looked into the sky. Very shyly falling at first they grew into a soft but steady curtain of flakes.
I heard some sounds of astonishment, aahh’s and oooo’s, and turned around to see into curious, wide open eyes.
It took me a moment to realize: This was for some of my new friends the first time in their whole life they experienced snowing. They looked around, caught snow flakes from the sky, giggled or just stood in silence and watched. The Australian joined by my side and we couldn’t take our eyes off the scene and the specialness of the moment. A smile lightened up our faces – and my heart. We had to join into the giggles.
With every second the world around us turned more black and white, the air filled with joy and happiness of 12 people in colorful winter and rain jackets running around, throwing small snow balls or making snow angels in the barely enough layer of powder on the ground.
As adults we often forget how wonderful the world around us can be. How magical the smallest things in nature can be.
Sometimes we are lucky and someone will take us by the hand.
We hiked one of our first chosen and found trails in Norway. It was a sunny day and not too many people. We got there by bus and walked and scrambled over rocks for 6 hours. And we saw snow. Crazy what memories your mind brings back due to certain visuals, sounds, smells, contexts.
This was just one situation in which I learned something new from my Singaporean friends during the days together. They spontaneously celebrated my birthday, took pictures of me which I wouldn’t ever have been able to do, shared their food and joy and gave me an invitation to Singapore (which I took, read about it here). They always had an open ear for my thoughts and worries back then since I was still recovering from a huge breakup.
And the rice that came from the rice cooker which was hid in one of the big suitcases was delicious.
I am very grateful for the days together.