I knew something extraordinary was looming when I couldn't sleep on the plane to Iceland. I sleep on every plane, no matter what time of day or circumstance, takeoff to landing. I'm a champion sleeper. A skill that may someday find me robbed on a train, or at least missing my stops from time to time; but something I hope never leaves me.
I tied one on harrrrd the night before my flight, and so much that I uncharacteristically hurt for hours the next morning. When facing 25 days of vacation, it seems only logical to rally your best friend and celebrate as soon as you walk out of the office. It's not often that you have that moment: standing at the intersection, waiting for the light, walking away, the building quickly shrinking from sight and mind.
The reality fully sank in after a trying day of tying loose ends and situating my workload. After ten months of anticipation, ten months since booking the flights, it was suddenly there in front of me, down the block (on a beach), and worth toasting a whiskey or four. I would sleep on the flight the next day, after all.
While sobering up at the airport, I was overwhelmed with good vibes and I had a tough time keeping my shit together while waiting to board. Any airport sees its fair share of tears. But I was weepy with wonder and excitement. What would the next three weeks look like? Whom would I meet along the way?
Wonder is the best.
In my unusual state of flight consciousness, I chose to watch one of the dozens of films that IcelandAir offered. And then, something out the window caught my eye. With a furrowed disbelieving brow, I gazed across the horizon of clouds; and in front of Orion and the near-full moon, saw the Northern Lights dancing. I immediately shut off my in-flight movie.
I checked the progress map and we were just west of Greenland. I witnessed those crazy lights boogie across the sky for nearly an hour, before watching us fly over the moonlit glaciers of south Greenland. How is anyone supposed to sleep during this shit?
And so set the tone for my time in Iceland. I flew out of that majestic country four days and seven total hours of sleep later. Ready and raring for a relaxing night in Munich...
*** to be continued ***
Met this fantastic solo-travelin' gentleman from Stuttgart in the Lebowski Bar (yes, that).
He smokes American Spirits, was born on the same exact day as my best friend, can kill a man with his bare hands, and I think I convinced him to visit Chicago on his first US trip, rather than NYC.
A lil' aurora borealis action out the plane window.
I was also treated to the mesmerizing northern lights the following night, as I soaked in the Blue Lagoon for four hours. A hot geothermal spa, cold beers, light snow falling on my head, and then the lively night sky.