Blog : Travel

Over Mountains and Under Water

Over Mountains and Under Water

We drove over 1300 miles, our car with teeth that bit into the ice sheeted roads.

Iceland is every bit as magical as you can imagine. You look up to the sky of dancing lights, you look out to the mountainous horizon and you look down to the snow and lava fields that crunch beneath your feet.

On the road in Iceland
                                                                                  

   The city of Reykjavik has a strong arts culture/community and we happened across the Winter Lights Festival, where all the art museums and swimming pools were open for the weekend and creative happenings were located throughout the city. We managed to be at the opening of the festival, where Icelandic Artist Ingvar Björn, projected volcanic eruptions on to the Hallgrímskirkja church whilst orchestral music played in the background.

Hallgrímskirkja church

After a long day out exploring the golden circle we were driving back to our accommodation when we saw the green shimmer of light in the sky. It felt so sudden and easy, to stumble across this phenomenon. We chased it to a well known spot and sat in awe for over an hour watching the lights play in the sky.

Northern Lights

The little island, Videy, near Reykjavik, gave us stunning views of the nearby landscape. The grass shone golden and the sky sat moodily with heavy rain clouds.

Mountains from Videy

We walked for an hour over snow to the D3-Plane Wreck, which sat alien in its environment. Tourists clambered over, under and in the plane to get the best photo.

D3-Plane Wreck

A storm hit on our last day and we spent three hours in the Blue Lagoon being blown around the warm pool. The sheltered spots were a welcome rest from the prevailing wind.

Iceland has a rugged beauty with a stark, harsh environment.

Tourism is starting to take hold of Reykjavik. Whilst the locals try to preserve the culture, there is a tension between the rise of tourism-based buildings and the fall of community-led space. We spoke to one of the owners of a co-operative art gallery, who told us that their gallery was soon to be torn down for new tourist accommodation. We wished her luck and walked out into the high street of Reykjavik.

Even though there was an apparent creeping in of American influence, there was still a real beating heart in Iceland’s capital city. The art within the Winter Lights Festival was full of young and old blood and had an amazing energy that we had happened to walk into.

The Icelandic humour was very apparent and dry; little signs would catch you by surprise and make you smile.

Bus stop

I look back on this adventure with a real mix of feelings, a little sad but most of all with a sense of respect for the people of Iceland who brave the cold, harsh climate and dark hours with a persistence and humour that can teach us all about not taking life too seriously.

Till next time, Iceland.

jess in iceland

The First Step

The First Step

I am an introvert at heart, and filming allows me to meet people and visit places without me even realising that I am pushing myself into being an extrovert.

I guess it’s a subconscious pattern I have created that allows me to live and expand myself in the world.

My latest self-funded project is definitely allowing me to stretch my skills and personal goals. Last May, I asked myself, ‘How do people go on adventures’? Is it a childhood dream, a stumble across an explorer’s journal, or a push from someone friendly?

What if the thought of adventure has never crossed your mind, no pages of that book read, or you have never met that pushy person – then what?

But maybe you don’t need to go on an adventure – what would be gained? What if a small step outside the ordinary meant a little achievement, an inner tiny celebration that you could cherish and sit with, cupping in your hand to pull out when the ‘hard thought parade’ marched in to say you weren’t good enough?
The knowing that you did something to stretch your mind and body.

What is there, when you wake up in the middle of the night dreaming big about snowy mountains, or when you sit sipping tea looking out the window at the sea’s horizon?

How do you go on adventures? The organisation of it all, the time, the money. The: ‘Oh give up! Don’t be silly. Who do you think you are? You’re no adventurer, explorer, walker, hitcher, camper, sailor. You can’t do this. Pah!’ Go back to dreaming.

Dreaming, dreaming, head  filling with ideas – but where to start?

Trawling on the Internet for inspiration, connection, the mountain, seems massive. The kit, the: ‘Oh my gosh I am so unfit, how am I ever going to do this?’

‘How am I ever going to film this!’

I start with a bump, grabbing at an opportunity to travel and film. Maybe I will film an explorer? Yes that’s what I should do, and then she can do the adventure for me. I can tag along.

After tagging along and taking a big step outside my comfort zone, I realised that following was not enough.

So let’s do things differently. I know myself, I know how scared I get, how much I worry, fret, lose sleep. I will tread softly this time. Take small steps, I want to talk and listen.

So I ask friends and they lead me to friends of friends who have done adventure, been adventure, seen adventure. I email them, and enthusiastic emails bounce back. This is suddenly easy but still terrifying. Do I know how to interview…. Uh… I know how to talk, and especially if I like what we are talking about. Let’s try that.

Now talking and listening and answering and recording – and checking the camera is still on – was a quick learning curve. One that I was told I would pick up.

I realise I am tricking myself into adventure. If you ask me, this was the plan all along. But a big part of me is still happy with the naïvety of it all and really I am just filming stuff so all is completely safe and for the greater good of my filming career.

I know it won’t all be easy, it won’t all be safe, it won’t all be naïve – but it will all be an adventure.

The first film in the series, ‘The Space Outside’, has been released.

Over the next 6 months my journey will be to trawl the internet, talk to and visit people to get to grips on how to go on adventures, big and small. Like any journey I have no idea where I will end up and who I will meet but all that really matters is that I stay authentic and keep curious.

I have already made friends from the first film and I hope some of them will join me in this next film.

The amazing founders of the Women Adventure Expo, Rebecca and Tania Hughes, have come on board to be assistant producers in the future films. I am very humbled and excited at this prospect.

This film was never mine, the journey is mine, but the film is yours to have and watch when you feel frustrated about being scared to take a step outside your comfort zone.