Words & Images Gunnar Freyr Gunnarsson-
I get an undefinable feeling when seeing something utterly breathtaking for the first time. My mind is blown away, and there is no way of replicating this feeling by revisiting the exact same place again. This happens frequently in Iceland, even this day today, but as time passes, you have to search further and further for this type of experience. Often the change of colors and seasons do their magic to an extent, but there is nothing like that grand feeling you get the first time.
The desire to be free (like a bird) is something that has followed me throughout the past couple of years. Throughout my entire life, I always sought to make the safe choices and doing the right thing. That included things like choice of education and job. But after a while working in a corporate job where I often had to ignore my inner voice and suppress the stress signals my body was sending me – I realized that it was time to make some changes. This led me to quit my corporate job in Denmark, sell all of my belongings and buy a one-way ticket to Iceland to seek out my Icelandic roots and live the dream as an adventure photographer. It has taken me some time to get to where I am today, but what has been a continued driver is my passion for exploring this incredible country, the never-ending need to create a better photograph and to keep on building my skills as a person and creator. There are a lot of ups and down along the way, but the ability to be out there and live the dream of travel and adventure easily makes it all worth it.
Listening to your inner voice is one of the most important things you can do and maintain your focus. When I first started on Instagram, nobody in my closest circle believed in or understood what I was doing – but the positive examples set by other adventure photographers and their inspiring stories helped me believe that it actually was possible. Surrounding yourself with inspiring and creative people is surely one of the best things you can do in terms of removing those limitations that we tend to put on ourselves – either due to fear or lack of awareness of the fact that it’s is possible to do things differently and live life outside of the 9-5 schedule.
There is something very peaceful and calming about these waves. Looking back at some of these photos, I can almost hear the ocean roaring and smell the fresh salty air. It’s a nice way to unwind sometimes when things get a little too crazy.Home is where the heart is. It’s amazing how you can find such a feeling of belonging in place that looks like being on another planet. I can’t get enough of these lonely houses found around the country. I’m intrigued by the story they silently tell – and by their peculiar yet somehow simple beauty.
One of the most amazing things about this rugged little island is there always is something new to discover. Like the other day when I stumbled upon a highland road on Reykjanes – where for one hour, I felt like I was on an entirely different planet.
Wanderlust is about heading out into new adventures, exploring new places and finding parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. But it stretches to more than just getting out there. It’s the process of researching and finding news places to explore, planning your adventures, figuring things out – and every so often, it’s what gets us through a day full of obligations and commitments. And even if we try to plan as much as we can ahead, there is nothing that fully can prepare us for the unexpected things that we find along the way – something bigger and more amazing than what we could have imagined – and it’s what keeps us hungry for the next adventure.
New perspective: Living in the hustle and bustle of a city makes it easy to forget how powerful nature really is. When we loose sight of the elements that are so vital to our existence here, we often loose balance and don’t get the right reference point. I love getting out there in the wilderness to remind myself where I, as a human, am in this world and how grateful I am for Mother Nature, bringing these incredible sights to us.
It’s no surprise why people decide to travel from all around the world to visit Iceland – and every day I am grateful for being able to live in a country with countless natural pearls and where adventure is luring around every corner. It’s a dream come true being able to visit remote places like this on a regular basis – and I know that many people, just like me, find it incredibly difficult to be away from this wild landscape for too long. Iceland does something to you, for better or worse, and once you’ve first experienced it, there is no going back.
Winter: That winter light… I’ve spent most of the day outside in what seemed like one long sunset. It’s incredible to imagine that the day now only is about 6 hours long. People keep asking me if it isn’t difficult to cope with this shortness, but I’ll repeat my answer; the light is less but the quality is so much more. Not only do you have this beautiful glow most of the day, but you also appreciate the light in a different way when you know it will be gone in just a few hours.
Finding the way: Don’t worry about failures, instead worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. Break the rules, even when its uncomfortable, if that’s what it takes to do the things you believe in and gets you closer to living your dream… As tough as it sometimes seems, I try to remind myself about this whenever I can. Bombarded by input from our surroundings, opinions, advice, praise, judgement and basically everything in between – it can at times be difficult to navigate in a manner that is true to our hearts. Those days, it can be good to slow down and just close the eyes for a moment and let the heart be your compass.
© text and all pictures with kind permission Gunnar Freyr Gunnarsson