Why Iceland was the Best Holiday I’ve Ever Been On

Yellow Zebra Safaris has challenged me to write a blog post about my favorite vacation of all time for a chance to win my dream vacation.

It was a really hard decision but in the end I just had to choose Iceland.

Why Iceland?

Well, I think what makes travel so memorable is being in a place that is so unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

It’s opening your eyes to a whole new culture, a beautifully different terrain, and new way of life.

When we were in Iceland, my husband, Harrison, and I got to really explore the country for nine straight days.

Nine days of exploring waterfalls.

Nine days of endless mountains.

And nine glorious days of driving in an otherworldly landscape.

That time we got lost in Iceland

One of my favorite stories from Iceland was when we got lost trying to find Fagrifoss waterfall.

We were driving inland trying to reach this stunning waterfall.

Our GPS was limited to an exact map from our starting point to Fagrifoss.

We drove for 30 minutes on a gravel/dirt road through the most stunningly green terrain, and followed our map… all the way up to a rushing river.

Our map wanted us to cross the river to get to the other side. The adventurer in me said “go for it!” but the level-headed money-conscious side of me said “no way!”

If we weren’t in a rental car, we probably would’ve forged through the river to continue to the other side.

But being in a rental on an already expensive trip, we knew we couldn’t afford any potential damages.

So we decided to head back the way we came.

Just one more problem… our GPS wouldn’t show us the map anymore.

So there we were, surrounded by nothing but open space and mountains, with a dirt road that diverged so many times with no street signs.

In that moment we became more than just travelers but explorers and navigators. Landmarks and sheep that we remembered passing became our guides. (It was kind of hilarious trying to identify if we had seen random sheep before or not.)

We eventually reached the main road and our GPS started working again.

Of course, we never reached Fagrifoss, but the neatest thing was the lesson we learned.

Being in the middle of nowhere, with no other souls in sight and no wi-fi or data, is absolutely exhilarating.

We also got to see some wild, beautiful landscapes (like the one below) on the way, so didn’t feel like we missed out on anything at all.

The very essence of wanderlust and travel was encapsulated into one epic trip that changed us for the better.

We got to experience a completely different lifestyle, meet people who call Iceland their home, and see the country through their eyes.

It changed the way I view the simple pleasures of life. These days, it is so easy to think of possessions as the ultimate thing that satisfies. But in my opinion, more possessions can easily lead to more stress.

And though we find joy in our faith, visiting new places brings us so much happiness and quenches our wanderlust– until the next trip I guess!

So all in all, Iceland was simply the best vacation we’ve ever been on. But what is Yellow Zebra Safaris, and what do they have to do with Iceland?

I’m glad you asked.

Yellow Zebra Safaris actually doesn’t have much to do with Iceland, but has everything to do with their blogging competition that I entered. This competition could enable me to check off another one of my bucket list items: going on a safari in Tanzania.

Why Tanzania?

Ask anyone who knows me- they can attest to the fact that I literally say Tanzania is my dream vacation.

If I could go anywhere right in this moment, it would be to the Serengeti.

At the top of my bucket list is an overnight safari in the Serengeti.

No joke.

Tanzania has been a dream of mine ever since college, when I learned that a friend had visited and fallen in love with it.

She described its people, its colors, the wild ruggedness of being out on a safari, seeing animals up close.

I pictured it for myself and just like that it become a dream.

My freshman year of college I actually taught myself some basic Swahili in preparation of visiting Tanzania one day. Very elementary Swahili, but I love to speak it nonetheless (just ask my college roommate!).

Though the Serengeti was the ultimate goal, I had always wanted to visit Africa, and we did for the first time two summers ago when we spent two weeks in Rwanda.

So you might be thinking- isn’t Rwanda enough of Africa to see?

To that I’d answer most assuredly- no!

I fell in love with Rwanda but it is so different from Tanzania, even though it is next door.

For one, it’s known as the Land of A Thousand Hills, so it’s terrain is quite unlike what you picture when you think of Africa.

For another, it doesn’t have the full safari experience, which is what I’m dreaming of. Instead it has a smaller day safari game drive through it’s national park where you can see zebras, wildebeest, and if you get lucky, a few giraffes out in the distance.

Its real claim to fame is mountain gorilla trekking which is another experience that is out of this world.

But if I’ve been dreaming of safaris, why didn’t we visit Tanzania instead of Rwanda?

Well, we went to Rwanda with a clear purpose- to visit the girl we sponsor there, Sonia. She’s the most precious girl and we wanted to meet her!

We had limited vacation days, and knew that traveling to another country would take time that we didn’t have. So we spent our time exploring Rwanda to see all it has to offer!

It was a dream, but it didn’t check off my top item on my bucket list: an overnight safari.

Safari Dreaming

When I think of partnering with Yellow Zebra Safaris, I think of the stuff my dreams are made out of.

I’m serious about this being a dream. These might seem silly, but to show you how serious, here are two fun facts about me:

  1. One of my favorite movies of all time is the live action version of Tarzan. The landscapes in this movie just blow me away (if you haven’t seen it, it is more than just jungles).
  2. My favorite music video of all time is Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams because it is the most romantic safari video I’ve ever seen.

So there you have it.

If you came to this post hoping to plan a trip to Iceland and leave it wanting to plan a trip to Tanzania, I apologize for changing your plans!  But you can’t go wrong with either place!

Of course, I say that having never been to the latter country, but hopefully someday I’ll get to go and see it for myself. Then I’ll be back with all the travel tips you’ll need!

If you do want more information about going on a safari in Tanzania, check out the Yellow Zebra Safari Tanzania page here!

Happy travels!

Jasmine

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3 Comments

  1. November 5, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    “Well, I think what makes travel so memorable is being in a place that is so unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

    It’s opening your eyes to a whole new culture, a beautifully different terrain, and new way of life.”

    I SO AGREE WITH THIS. This is how I felt when I moved to the Dominican Republic for two months. It was utterly shocking, in the best of ways. Exhilarating. Different. The very essence of adventure. Jumping off of waterfalls, riding around on motorcycle taxis, learning an entirely different culture.

    Northern California — like the very tip top northern where there’s hardly a sole in sight — was also like this for me.

    Iceland is on my bucket list! And the Faroe Islands. Have you checked those out? TALK ABOUT ISOLATION. Lonely Planet doesn’t even have a guide book on it!

    Thanks for sharing your travels! I love looking at them — inspires me endlessly!

    • November 7, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      Lauren, thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m so glad you agree!!

      I haven’t been to the Faroe Islands but I’m adding them to my bucket list now! Same with the Dominican Republic- it sounds like it was absolutely AMAZING!! Northern California too!

      And yes- you simply must visit Iceland!!

      Safe travels!! XO

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