If I recall correctly, I brought two suitcases, a carry-on and a backpack with me to Iceland.

All bags were stuffed on arrival.

What shoes would I wear?

What clothes?

I brought school books.

Camera equipment.

Chargers. Cords. Charging banks.

Towels.

I purchased a sleeping bag the first day, and wandered about in a daze in Reykjavik before finally shaking it all off.

I’m not really sure how it all spiraled out of control. I’d done the research, taken the advice, and still managed to pack an unnecessarily large wardrobe, too many shoes, and there was no room for souvenirs.

I think an understanding fear took place. This was THE. FIRST. INTERNATIONAL. TRIP.

Time to make it or break it.

If this doesn’t work out – I’m a total failure on a traveling level. Failed writer. Failed photographer.

And I went alone.  WHAT IF I NEEDED ALL THIS SHIT?!

I somehow felt the need to schlepp it all with me, and dignified reasons behind all the choices, and when I arrived, I ended up wearing a select few shirts and pants based on weather and the activities I engaged in.  Nearly everything I wore and used was in tune with what I had read online from different travel bloggers before going.

There was a huge lesson in trust to be had here.  Ultimately there is going to be anxiety surrounding the first trip, certainly doing so alone, and being in another country where you cannot easily access known faces.

I didn’t trust in experienced travelers to give accurate advice.

Even worse, I didn’t trust in myself to handle new experiences and situations.

What if you’re robbed in Iceland?

Welp – what would you do back home?

Call the police…

Bingo!

I almost needed to recalibrate myself.

As my travels have continued on after that first Icelandic adventure, I’ve learned to bring less stuff.  I carry a backpack containing my camera equipment, laptop, and other electronic necessities, and a small suit case that can fit in the overhead compartment on planes and has exactly what I’ll be wearing.  If it’s a longer excursion, I do bring two pairs of shoes in case one gets soaked.  Been there, and it’s really shitty to not have dry shoes to wear.

Going to Iceland again, I feel incredibly prepared to bring a lot less shit.  But, the other nice thing in this particular situation is since I’m not going alone, there are shared necessities we can share carrying and it suddenly lightens the load a little bit from what I’m used to.

I assure you I don’t suddenly feel this is an invitation to bring more stuff than usual – it just feels nice to not worry about keeping track of everything on my own.

I’m excited to go back to Iceland, without a doubt.  I recommend visiting the country to anyone I can.

I feel even more excited to be going as a more experienced traveler, writer, and photographer.  It makes me feel like there has been some kind of progress in this strange mess of a journey to become a full-time traveler.

It’s incredibly hopeful.

Photo taken with Canon EOS Rebel T6s of Seljalandsfoss in Iceland 2016.