So 2016 is speeding by in a blur of travel and epic scenery and exhausting deadlines. My seven-week Iceland trip was as glorious as I had hoped, and has me plotting a return for some winter solitude and snowy adventures.
This was my third research trip to Iceland in four years (first in 2012, followed by 2014). Each visit, I wonder if this trip can possibly live up to the awesomeness of the previous trip – and each visit, the country and the locals go above and beyond, and I fall deeper and deeper in love with the place. Highlights of this year’s trip were many, and included cheering on the Iceland football team’s surprise victories at Euro2016, kayaking among glacial icebergs, puffin-watching under the midnight sun in Borgarfjörður Eystri, scaling cliffs on the tiny bird-filled island of Drangey, a helicopter flight over the spectacular central highlands, and walking gingerly on the country’s newest lava field (Holuhraun, which was created during a volcanic eruption in 2014-15). And a continuing array of lovely interactions with superbly warm and welcoming locals, many of whom have become my friends.
So I’ve recently wrapped up all the Iceland work and have turned my attention to what’s next – and it couldn’t be more different. Tomorrow I head to Broome in northwest Australia and begin a one-month road trip south to Perth, via national park gorges, tiny coastal towns, and breathtaking, near-empty beaches. The coastal highway gives a distance of 2350km, so there’ll be plenty of driving: wide open skies, music cranked loud. I can’t wait.
And here’s a few favourites from Iceland, so I can savour cool temperatures and icy scenery before WA’s desert landscapes fill my line of vision…