Monday, February 24, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter M...Me!

After viewing an acquaintance's trip to Iceland on Facebook, I got extreme trip-envy. Iceland OMG! Right, seeing the aurora was totally on my bucket list and yet I'd done nothing about it since December 2012 when my girls German K, Hong Kong P, and I were in Tromso, Norway and missed them by one night (still a point of sadness for me, because they saw the best of the season literally the night after we left).

Fool of a Took! I should get on this now, while the sun's polarity is still doing outrageous things and sending more magnetic something something to the earth, making more Northern Lights for everyone.

And so I messaged all the people I had gone on trips with or would like to go on trips with: German K, Hong Kong P, Churches, Two, Olive, Books, and even American J. 

"When can we go to Iceland and who's with me!?" was basically the gist of the message.

I got a surprising response: Two and Olive were on board right away. Two mentioned how she'd just talked to Olive about it that day and now our dreams could come true together! So they were a yes and yes.

American J had mentioned to me previously that if I was ever going to Iceland I should tell her because she'd come no matter what. I didn't really believe her at the time (since many people say these sorts of things), especially since it's so far away for her (coming from San Diego), but when I messaged her the answer I got was immediate: YES, just tell me when and I will be there.

And so we had a starting trip of people going to Iceland. American J and I immediately discussed dates (since hers would be the most difficult) and decided on a weekend at the end of January that would conflict with nothing in the schedule. This was about two months out. It also happened to be a time when there was no moon, which means better chances of catching the aurora.

I passed the dates around and started researching flights (I do this quite frequently, regardless if I have a trip in mind or not - mostly I'm just curious to see how cheap it would be for me to fly to x place and check off my next adventure). Flights were kind of expensive, but this was supposed to be a once in a lifetime type of trip - auroras, dog sledding, weird meats! All the things I want in a trip.

Then I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Churches after the Christmas holidays.

It was incredible. I think I've already blogged about it...but even if I haven't, the general summary is this: most inspiring film I've seen in a long time and Iceland is now a must (it playing a surprisingly large role in the movie). This was the last straw in telling me this trip would be special, something different. I was completely and utterly onboard.

I suppose not so surprisingly was how long it took to plan things. We four started talking and buying flights and soon after Two and Olive's friend Actor wanted in and introduced his roommate, NonSequitor. As soon as we were all buying flights, they were onboard and bought flights with us. So we'd have a group of six.

Groups of six are difficult to plan for, especially when we're all different in our travel planning ways and in different parts of the city (or different time zones). Plus the added value of no one having met everyone in the group (this was the same situation as the Worldly Ladies dinner). It was kinda great because then everyone got to know one another while planning the trip then during.

All in all these were the personality types that emerged:
American J: keen on researching and finding the greatest places for us to stay and things to do.
Actor: keen on researching all the best food and more things for us to do.
NonSequitor: debating back and forth in a funny way about how he'd like to maybe do something or maybe it was too expensive.
Two and Olive: agreeing that everything is cool and they're easy.
Me: booking everything and getting stuff into the day planner we'd set up.

The research that both American J and Actor did was incredible. Our trip was a complete success because they did so much planning and decision-making. After I turned in my graduate school app, I was all for setting down the plans and making them real. We even met for dim sum and coffee after (those of us in London) to sketch out the last details and divide the action points. Got everything done on time and that was that.

And then it was time to leave! Several weeks went by and we were all setting off. Great stuff. The plan was set and we gathered at the airport.

Our Iceland adventure was about to begin. And how magnificent it was.

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