This was one of the most surreal travel moments of my life up until now. And it was completely unexpected.
Here’s the backstory: I fell in love with seeing the world before I had actually seen almost any of it. I became obsessed with reading and visiting the library when I was around 8 years old and would skim the colorful spines of books on the shelves until I found something that caught my eye. Naturally, many of these were travel books.
I don’t remember at what point I read about Skogafoss, but I will never forget how it made me feel. My little fingers traced the falling water on the full-sized page of the book as I tried to comprehend where in the world this was.
Iceland. I had never even heard of it. It sounded so far away.
There were places I knew I would travel to someday, but Iceland was certainly not one of them. I don’t know what it was, but something about Iceland seemed so unreachable. I silently made peace with the fact that I would never see this beautiful waterfall, spent a few more minutes gazing at my book, and put it back on the shelf.
That moment had been tucked away in my memories for so long that I had almost forgotten it completely. Around 16 years later, in 2021, we decided to plan a trip to Iceland with some of our best friends. Naturally, Skogafoss was the first destination added to the itinerary, and I kept telling Mason how excited I was to see it. And just like that, we were driving along the southern coast of Iceland. I was bouncing in my seat as we got closer. The second the car was in park, my door was already open and I was running.
It was so BIG.
My breath caught and I stopped in my tracks as my eyes slowly ran up the cascading water. I felt Mason walk up behind me and wrap his arms around me. All four of us were silent, just staring up at Skogafoss in awe. And that was the moment it hit me.
I made it. I had sincerely believed that I never would. I suddenly flashed back to my 10-year old self clutching a stack of travel books, the one who spent hours dreaming about the future and traveling the world. She never would have believed this. Mason touched my cheek and I realized I was crying — no, almost sobbing. My heart swelled up so big that it was almost overbearing. She would be so proud.
I thought of how much it took to make it here. I had experienced a lot of health problems in the months leading up to our trip, even to the point that I hadn’t been able to walk for almost 2 weeks. I thought of how much money we’d had to save and how much we had sacrificed to do that. I thought of the hours – weeks – I had spent planning every detail of the trip to perfection.
This one moment made it all so worth it.
Everything seemed to come full circle. I tend to be a forward thinker, always planning for the future and setting goals, always looking ahead at the next thing. I’m also usually pretty hard on myself for not accomplishing more or being “further ahead” in many aspects. But feeling that sudden connection with my childhood self and realizing how much I had done between then and now to make it here… I actually felt proud of myself.
So I guess what I’m saying is, make the sacrifice. Take the leap. Life is way too short to play it safe. I have people telling me every week, “I would love to travel like that. How do you do it?” Well, honey, that’s just it. Just do it. Whether your dream is to travel or start a company or build your dream home or move to New York City to pursue a dream career, JUST DO IT. Don’t let yourself live with regrets and what-ifs. You have the power within yourself to create those opportunities and pursue them.
Thanks for giving me the space to be vulnerable and share these special experiences with you. Sending all the love!