Klean Ambassador and adventure photographer Elisabetta Piantoni sets out on an amazing trip to Iceland, and learns that the best laid plans rarely turn out as expected. But you can chose to accept the unknown and appreciate the beauty of experiences, with every moment, misadventure, and unforgettable memory along the way.
I had been wanting to go to Iceland for the longest time but somehow I never managed to plan a trip. Truth is, I had seen so many photos of this country that I felt like I had already seen it all. How wrong and naive I was. Luckily, a very important person in my life changed my mind and we decided that it was time for us to go there. As I started planning the trip, I was adding more and more spots to our list. Even though we only had 8 days, our route consisted of over 2300km (about 1430 miles) and many spots along the way, from hikes to waterfalls, and black sand beaches.
The first couple of days were very stressful; as a photographer, I felt I had to see everything and capture every moment. When traveling to such famous and highly photographed landmarks, the pressure is even greater. You strive to look at the scene from a different perspective, to discover something unique and photograph a place in a particular way, different from the thousands of photos already out there, and the harsh weather certainly did not help.
On the third day, while we were driving in the middle of nowhere somewhere around the Southern region, our car broke down. We were 8 hours away from the car rental and three hours from the nearest town. We soon found out that the car was not fixable and someone from the car rental had to come to pick it up and give us a replacement car. I was upset and felt useless, this meant losing over 24 hours on an already extremely tight schedule. Luckily, we found a cottage nearby where they let us stay until the next day.
During that day, we finally had the chance to stop and truly realize where we were. I realized that for all of that time, I was so focused on taking photos and getting to so many different places that I forgot to take a moment to appreciate all of that beauty and experience all of that with the person next to me. From that day onwards, we slowed down. Yes, we still drove to all the places on our list but with a different mindset and pace. I started looking at the scenery with my own eyes rather than via the viewfinder of my camera. We appreciate every moment and misadventure, from our suitcases almost getting lost and getting delivered at a random Icelandic airport a few days later, to sleeping in the car at a freezing temperature, and lots and lots of canned soups. Now, looking back at the trip, my mind goes to these moments; not whether I saw this or that, but to the unforgettable memories of moments that only come once but that we too often forget to stop and appreciate. That sometimes beauty is not only in front of us or in a specific place, but also next and all-round us. That sometimes the beauty of a place is made up of the experience in itself, the adventures (and misadventures) that brought us to that place, and the people that were there with us along the journey."