Paradise. For some, the word conjures up images of white sand beaches, clear blue water and little fruity drinks. Not me.
For me, terms like ‘white sand beaches and clear blue water’ sounds a little like the beginning of a worn out slogan, the tropical vacation version of ‘order now, operators are standing by’. It may be that I’m jaded by the over-the-top advertising or maybe I just imagine a white sand beach with 5000 overweight pasty Americans overrunning it. Whatever the case, I don’t want the same old thing.
My paradise is different. Since it’s a Honeymoon paradise, the most important element of course, is my significant other. For me, that’s all the people I really need. I want to spend time with my new bride, and share some experiences that are really different. We have beaches and fruity drinks in California, and picking from the top 10 vacations menu seemed like a sure-fire route to sameness. I recoil at sameness and thought I could do better for our honeymoon.
I thought about it. I looked on the web. I talked to people. I had always liked the green feeling of the Pacific Northwest, but the idea of a Honeymoon to Seattle didn’t really captivate me. I had loved learning to ski in Utah when I was young, and have always gravitated towards mountains, but my new bride loves the water (though not necessarily the beaches in the worn out brochure). The elements I wanted to include in our vacation seemed to be accumulating and I didn’t have a plan yet.
When I added something seemingly obscure to my wish list, the solution actually became easier. We had been to Alaska in 2001 on a bicycle ride to raise money for AIDS research and had experienced, albeit at a distance, the Matanuska glacier. We were intrigued by the idea of a glacier in person – climbing it, touching it, experiencing a frozen goliath that seemed ancient. We had an agenda though, and we moved on. The great Matanuska and the idea of a glacier experience was mostly forgotten. Until now.
Glaciers actually brought it together. The mountains, the water, fewer people, open, unspoiled nature and someplace we’d never been were the core pieces. When I added glaciers, something new popped up – Iceland. We wanted something different and exciting and we were going to get it. Yes, it is more than slightly north of the equator, with not so much of the fruity drinks.
There was to be one other benefit for me, too. Among the elements of an Icelandic adventure, I could squeeze in the guilty pleasure of a tour in a Super Jeep, or in American terms, a monster truck. If I offered my new bride a long weekend trip or short vacation stateside that centered around giant SUVs and off-road touring, there would have to be some reciprocal girly trip in recent context to pull that off, or maybe some jewelry. In Iceland, I figured we could do several things and when I brought up the Super Jeeps, she’d probably dig it. …I still stacked the deck by setting up a horseback riding day in advance.
How did it go?
The trip was a hit! From the moment that the crisp, clean air greeted us in Keflavik, we were in another world. We had trailside meals on a quiet mountainside, bathed in hot springs and heated lagoons (we had warmth and a beach, just not in the common way!) and rode Icelandic horses. We spent a little time in Reykjavik too, enjoying the nightlife a bit, but the time we spent outside was the best part of the experience. The trip was otherworldly and left us wanting to return. Fortunately, anniversaries provide a great reason to go back!
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