Well, as many will know, the trip to Iceland was postponed. I’ve been having a bit of a sulk about it for a couple of weeks (hence no posts), but as it was entirely my decision to postpone it I shouldn’t be too moody about it. However, whilst I feel like I let myself down a bit, it does appear that it may have been a good decision to wait.
There were a couple of reasons for postponing the trip. First: The cost. It was going to come in at just over £3000 for what amounted to 19 days, including international travel. Whilst Antarctica was well over double that for a mere 13 days Iceland doesn’t fall into the ‘once in a lifetime’ category. Not that it isn’t a stunning place to visit, but rather it is a place I could go several times.
I knew from the start that Iceland is on the expensive side, and I’m not one to shy away from spending money, but when I spend it I have to feel that I’m not wasting it and it was this feeling I was having trouble shaking. I eventually traced my concerns down to the itinerary and my plans to drive around the whole country. I use Google Maps a lot when planning trips and you can probably understand my concern when you see where I’ve tagged key points of interest.
As can be seen the majority of points are down along the southern coast. There’s an important cluster up toward the northwest – important as it includes Dettifoss and Myvatn – but other than that I would be travelling large distances for only single locations. It just wasn’t a good split of ‘expensive’ time and it was too late to change hotel bookings.
The second point that kept niggling at the back of my mind was it’s a lot to take on by oneself. I’m certainly no stranger to solo travel and often prefer it as it allows me to spend time setting up shots and exploring angles. But, Iceland is very capricious and should something happen and you’re out of cell coverage then you’ve got a problem. I had been taking steps to mitigate risks, of course, but one thing my day job has taught me is that you cannot project plan every eventuality. Coupled with this is the fact that a lot of the sense of wonder in landscape photography comes from a sense of scale. This is something Iceland’s vistas have an abundance of and so much of showing the vastness of its landscapes come from including a convenient reference point – and what is more convenient than a handy human?
So, with the above in mind and despite the kill date being passed, I cancelled the bookings. In the end I lost around £200, but compared to £3000+ I would have spent, I could accept that and the rescheduled trip in 2014 would be more focussed, less grandiose, and more productive. And, of course, I can always go back if I miss anything.
Now, as with many things in life, good things can come out of grim situations. In this case, an unexpected message on Facebook from someone I’ve known for many years. He’s a keen rock climber with a love for the outdoors and he’s very interested in going to Iceland. Now this has several benefits, not least the cost drops significantly. It’s also safer travelling with someone should the worst arise. The other benefit here is that I know nothing of rock climbing and so to have a subject that not only lends a sense of scale, but does it in an adventurous way -and in a way I never could – is a real benefit.
There’s lot of planning to do. My schedule is largely out the window as with two people to consider it’s all about accommodating both wish lists but, given that the reason he wants to visit is going to make for some great photography, I really see this as a benefit – certainly more entertaining than my original, somewhat stuffy, plans. As I said it is early days, but I do hope we can come to an arrangement.