farewell letter to the arctic

Images & Words Alexander Kopatz-

I am leaving. I thought this day would be much further in the future, but I am leaving the Arctic. After seven years of living and working at almost 70 degrees North it is time to say goodbye to the Arctic. I feel sadness at the thought of leaving and I wonder how I will cope with not being in the environment that has impressed me and resonated in my soul and heart more than anything else before. The Arctic is so special to me because it helped me discover something I thought I did not have, my visual creativity.

After finishing high school in Germany I struggled to find out what I really wanted to do in life. I was torn back and forth by the choices of doing what most people thought would be best: finding “a good job”, which meant to go into business or law, or pursue my interest in science and study biology or chase my passion for design and architecture. In the end, as I believed I was not talented enough to get into art school, I went and got a degree in biology.

During my studies and later in my job as a researcher studying brown bears I moved from one place to another, never being too long at one place. With every move to another place I had to leave a part of my life and, sadly, also friends behind. But I also made new friends at the new places, keeping busy with getting to know everything, going to parties, having what is commonly referred to as a “social life”. And then I moved to Northern Norway and my life changed drastically: all of a sudden I was at a very remote place with little possibilities of “going out”. And the remoteness was not the only thing that was extreme, there were also the extreme conditions in nature. The sun does not rise above the horizon for two months in winter and in summer, it does not set for two months. Temperatures may vary hourly, depending on season, and cover a scale of minus 30 degrees Celsius in late winter and less to plus 30 degrees on a few occasions in summer.

First, I was a bit afraid of settling that far North. But when I arrived in the Arctic, with the Barents Sea in the North and Russia right at the doorstep in the East, with only about 70,000 people inhabiting the county of Finnmark, Norway’s largest county, larger than the Netherlands, I discovered that it is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The light and the landscapes of Arctic Norway immediately blew me away, cheered me up and rewarded me with beautiful views when I was working in the field to study brown bears. The distinctive landscape was probably the first thing I noticed when I started to explore the surroundings. On the one hand, there are the refuge areas of forests with their short growing pines and birches, on the other there are the coastlines and alpine areas dominated by rocks. And although I struggled during my first winter up here, I found the polar night strangely attractive. For two months there is no sunrise. Light and darkness are out of balance. But the remaining light often creates fantastic ambient light with colors of pink, orange or blue dominating.

All these impressions stimulated my senses and mind. After I shot the Northern lights for the first time with my camera, I was hooked trying to capture the wild beauty of the North. Getting outside into the Arctic constitutes a stark contrast to the office nature of analyzing data I have to do in my job. In the solitude of the forests and the tundra, I discovered my creativity, something I thought I did not have. I still would not consider myself an artist, but being in the field with my camera has become an important part of me. To me, it is like meditation.

Life means change, but while I am sad to move to another place, I can leave with gratitude and with a smile. I was very privileged to live and work that far North and I can truly say that the Arctic and the people I met here have left a deep impact on me and in my mind a part of me will be there for the rest of my life. It is here, where I found my inner creativity and developed my style. Fortunately, I will stay in Norway and my move will only take me to below the Arctic Circle. Other, spectacular landscapes and a different kind of nature await me and will do their turn in influencing me as a person, push me further on and frame my style.

This drastic change of my life makes me recognize that I’m combining my two passions: science and photography, I never thought of this possibility. I thought I had to chose one option, instead it’s possible to live both. I hope to link my interest in science and nature conservation and my passion of photography further and to document and help to save the Arctic for future generations to experience. I will not change the name of my website go70north.com, as it represents what has influenced me as a photographer, a guy that experienced nature and life for seven years at „70 degrees North“.

© All pictures Alexander Kopatz with kind permission

More of Alex and his spectacular photography in our Volume 1 NORTHLETTERS MAGAZINE. And more about Alex here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner


Words & Images: Michael Schauer –

There are a few places in this world that look so surreal, you are unable to process that they actually exist just like this. Places that come with all the bells and whistles of a meticulously planned A-list movie production – lights, fog and all of that, yet they… just are. Perfect in their own right.
Iceland is known for its wonderfully surreal nature – be it the volcanic landscape, the enourmous glaciers or the hot spring trails – hence it served as a backdrop for many movies and shows. Game of Thrones, Interstellar to just name two of them.
The black sand beaches and waterfalls alongside the ring road in Iceland tell a thousand stories of beautiful moments and memories with every day the sun sets and rises anew. Yet they have been seen so often.

It might come off as ironic that the road leading up to one of the most unique and surreal places starts right where one of Iceland’s most iconic natural tourist attractions lies. Right next to the famous Gullfoss waterfalls a barely noticeable road – the F35 leads the way to Iceland’s cold and barren heart, to a radically different landscape. A few miles into that road, the lush green quickly dwindles and the colors of the land begin to take on earthen tones, a familiar but fascinating dress allowing a glimpse into what is yet to come. It is sparkled with sapphires as we pass the lakes Sandvatn and Hvitárvatn while the wind is getting harsher and temperatures begin to drop under the zero degree celsius mark making it all too clear that this is a different Iceland than the one we left behind at Gullfoss. A few miles after that, the road vanishes. All that you can follow now are the gravel tracks between the piles of rocks left and right which barely leave enough space for two cars to pass each other, let alone the enormous Arctic Truck models with wheels taller than a grown adult.

After entering the gravel road a gauntlet of bumps and potholes begins, a challenge for every car and driver but reviving and a more than welcome relief from the always straight and always crowded ring road. For two full hours there is nothing but the gravel on the road and the dust left behind.
But then… it is there. Kerlingarfjöll lying right before the eyes. The most surreal landscape leaving an impression never to be forgotten. Sulfuric steam boils out of the countless hotsprings, clouding the place in an everlasting fog and the same earthen colored gravel hills but now smoothly polished from a receding glacier, divided by rivers, paths and a small bridge. It is a painted world. You are alone in wind and silence. It is exalting.

© all pictures Michael Schauer with kind permission

Michael Schauer is an outdoor and aerial photographer, hailing from Munich, Germany. His work revolves around the rugged landscapes, people and stories of the scandinavic regions. Studied in sociology and with a clear aesthetic vision in mind, he sets out to understand and document what lies in front of him, displaying it in inspiring visual tales that ewoke heartfelt emotions and the desire to travel. More about Michael here.

More of this outstanding series can be enjoyed in our Vol.1 print edition this autumn! Take care! Melanie Kettner

living on the edge, life in estonian winter

Words & Images by Kristoffer Vaikla


Winter is different. Winter is special, in every sense. You see it approaching when the birds begin to gather. It will be even closer when the trees turn yellow and red. You know that it is not far anymore when the birds fly up, and the same once colored leaves turn brown on the ground. You wait for it on the bleak days when the trees swing in the autumn storms. You are waiting for the white carpet to cover the somber land, to grant relief whilst the dark days. And then one day, you wake up and see the first snowflake falling down from the clouds and you know that winter is here.

The Estonians consider themselves a Nordic country. This is also confirmed by the fact that winter here in this small part of the world is generally cold and harsh. This little Nordic soul has always had a place in my heart. Already as a kid, after our short summer I started to wait for Christmas. It symbolized the begin of winter and snow. Santa Claus always came along with the gifts when the land was white outside. At least I remember it that way. After Christmas, however, winter was not over, it was just starting. The time for snowmen, snow castles, and snowball fights began. As I get older, there were less snowball fights and less snow castles, but a beautiful memory of it remained.

Now, besides simple joys, I am able to value everything else around me. One of the top events that I am looking forward to every winter is a trip to my summer cabin. As the daily life in the city and working pace are fast and nerve-wrecking, going to a small island on a winter trip will turn you off of that rapidness. At least for a moment. There is only snow, ice and silence. The small island of Vormsi, where about 200 people live, concedes me moments of peace. In wintertime it is a challenge to get there. It begins with a ferry ride: There are no other cars, just yours and one local resident is drinking tea in the ferry’s cafe, and then you know that you are going somewhere where there is nothing beside peace.





The barge breaks through the frozen sea, ice pieces clattering on the metal body. An hour-long ride in summer can turn into a 5 hours challenge in this tough wintertime. However, if it happens to be a real Nordic winter, then it is not rare that the ice road is open. 10km drive on the frozen sea creates an unforgettable experience. You’re excited but at the same time also scared. Everything you see is an empty field of ice that extends to the horizon. You know that under your feet there is a meters deep sea, but you only think of what is in front of you. When you arrive one way or another, your breath in deeply and feel the relaxation, all your daily troubles are left behind the frozen sea.



© all pictures Kristoffer Vaikla with kind permission

Excerpt from Vol.1 NORTLETTERS MAGAZINE print edition, available this autumn.

More about talented young Kristoffer here.

Happy easter dear readers! Take care! Melanie Kettner

The snow dancing in the wind

Words & Images Morgane Erpicum

I woke up before dawn, awkwardly ensconced in my sleeping bag and our many blankets. I wiped the condensation from the car window and looked out, eager to start the day.
The night was a deep royal blue over winter’s thick blanket of snow. The silence was absolute, save for Doug’s quiet breathing next to me and the gentle stream flowing close to the car.
The wind suddenly picked up, blowing away the dark colours of the night and the cloud cover. I sat there, intently watching the sky turn to lavender, then to the softest of pinks.
“How is that for winter light?” He said, sitting up and tucking his messy hair behind his ears.
“Everything I could have hoped for”, I replied, grinning.

When my husband and I first started telling people we were moving to Iceland, the reactions it triggered were quite extraordinary; they ranged from utter amazement to horror. Amongst the raised fears (and a good load of misled preconceived notions), one issue seemed to arise more often than not. “How are you going to survive the winters? You do know you will be in the dark from October until February, don’t you?” they asked us, their eyes wide with shock.
While we appreciate the fact that their questions stem from concern and love, we have always approached the issue serenely. Fair enough, neither of us are used to living at such latitudes, but we both do come from the greyest and wettest areas of Western Europe. We have spent several weeks in Iceland, both at the beginning of winter and in the midst of it. Every single time, we were struck by the quality of the light and the uncanny realization that we had had more sunshine over the course of one week in Iceland than during the entire length of winter in Belgium.

“Shall we move on?”, he asked, stretching his lanky body as much as the confines of the car would allow him. I acquiesced while putting on the many layers that would help me brave the icy wind. We quickly packed up the back of the car, hopped in the front and started driving.
By then, the sky was painted peach pink and vermillion orange. It was February, and the sunrises and sunsets glow beautifully for incredibly long stretches of time at this period of the year. Sometimes, it almost seems like the sun wants to take full advantage of the shorter daylight by showcasing the most incredible kaleidoscope of colours.
We cruised along the snow-laden Ring Road, westbound through the Fjords, taking in the scenery and its many powdery nuances.

We soon reached a pass, climbing further and further into the mountains and the clouds.
As we took a turn, we got engulfed in fog, which submerged us in a milky mist indistinguishable from the snow. We slowed down, mesmerised by the white slivers streaming across the asphalt.
“Are these plumes of steam coming off the road?” he said, focused on driving.
“Nope”, I said, in awe, “it’s the snow dancing in the wind”.

© all pictures Morgane Erpicum with kind permission

excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MGAZINE print edition Vol.1 available this autumn!

More about Morgane here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner


Words & Images: Michael Schauer-

Whales have been my favorite animals for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was very, very little their slow and gracious movements, their seeming calmness and their otherworldly singing kept me under their spell and every time I see a video or an image of a whale, I get this curious feeling that I had when I was five years old and saw a blue whale for the first time in my life. In our home television.

From this day on, whales would become my spirit animals, as some of my friends would say, and every book, movie and documentary about whales was just inhaled by my young and insatiable mind and somehow… they became a part of me and who I am and what I photograph. I am especially fond of slow and cinematic sceneries. Sceneries that extort a subtle sense of power but power beneath the surface. Power which is collected in calmness and which radiates graciously through the landscape. Therefore, whales resonate deeply with my work and who I am as a human being as their collected and calm aura has something inspiringly stoic about it and their singing of songs cradles me in a soothing drone. Yet, at the same time, they are full of life and contagious joy when they play. I get this feeling of celebration of life and livelihood through a calm and slow catalyst and that is what I like to find in my work as well.

Iceland in September of 2017. I drove all the way up to the Eyja fjord where there is the small village Hauganes, which is about thirty kilometers north of Akureyri. In Eyjafjörður there are humpback whales, they told me, and I am determined to see them.
Twenty minutes on the vessel and the zodiac speedboats zip past us- a film crew armed with serious gear- they spotted something we did as well. Fins and spouts in the distance where the school of humpbacks surfaces to take a deep breath before going on yet another seven minute dive. We are closing in on them and the next thing I hear and smell is the explosive sound of a humpback breathing out right next to the vessel. They are almost in touching distance as if they greet us. Them and the crew surely are old acquaintances.
Kindly, the captain allows me to launch my small drone from the rear of the ship and what I see cannot be described in words. I tried but I can not find anything to justify the endless beauty and grace of whales seen from above. Only ear to ear smiles, sometimes turning into laughter, and a bright and exalted blue in my eyes.

© all pictures Michael Schauer with kind permission

More about our contributor Michael Schauer here.

Take care dear reader! Melanie Kettner

a glimpse of the world…..

Words & Images by Elmoon Iraola-

I grew up in Northern Norway in a little town named Kirkenes, which is only a few minutes away from the Finnish border. Kirkenes is surrounded by a beautiful nature and flourishing wildlife. The winter there is long, and at times harsh to be honest. The days feels shortened due to the absence of daylight. Despite this, there is a beauty in the serenity and peacefulness winter brings, unlike anything else. And let’s not forget about the northern lights, the captivating aurora borealis. Seeing the lights high above your head dancing with such grace almost makes you believe in magic. This reveals how beautiful the world truly is.

Spending my youth up in the North gave me unique experiences and treasurable memories, but this would just be the starting point, as my hunger to discover the world increased with the years and I moved to the capital city, Oslo. I was honestly curious about urban life which gave the feeling of “rush” in the daily life. Shortly after, however, I began yearning back to nature and its calmness. I firmly believe that the landscape of my hometown had a greater impact subconsciously than what I initially thought. I had sincerely developed a higher appreciation for being out in the wilderness than ever before, but my studies forced me to stay in the big city. This is the reason why I’m inspired to explore new places, in Norway and beyond.

So I decided to discover more of the vast landscapes in the West of Norway, that is known for its many fjords, and that’s for a good reason. Glaciers, the creators of the deep and captivating valleys carved out these creations through erosion over several decades. After experiencing everything from the mesmerizing fjords, the powerful Vøringsfossen and to the turquoise waters in Lovatnet, I went on to explore Lofoten and Senja in the North. Standing before the mighty Segla in Senja and the mountains in Lofoten left me in total awe. There is nothing more powerful than to stand amongst these giants. The overwhelming feeling of humbleness is almost addictive to put it mildly. Nothing makes me feel more grounded, calm and connected to nature. But the most powerful experience so far is without doubt my visit to Iceland and the Faroe Islands last year. The first visit made such an impact that I simply had to return shortly after. The raw, unique and fierce landscapes stole my heart away and left me completely speechless.

Witnessing Drangarnir in the Faroes for the first time was such a surreal moment for me. On the day of the hike it had been pouring rain all day with fog so thick that you couldn’t see much of the surroundings, and there was no stopping the wind. My friend and I concluded to venture on with extreme caution. I found the last part of the hike to be somewhat sketchy as the trail was extremely slippery. The view we were rewarded with was inarguably worth the difficult hike. Finally, seeing that place with my very own eyes was a special moment which I find challenging to describe. The emotions I was experiencing standing there before Drangarnir are inexpressible.

Another unforgettable moment which made me appreciate the blessings I’ve been given, was in Iceland:

It was early in the morning and still dark, and as we opened the door we were met with a snow blizzard. Our car for the trip was completely covered in snow and we could feel the coldness creeping in. As we drove towards our first destination, Black Sand Beach, we didn’t dare drive faster than around 40 km/h. The snow was gushing on our windshield and made it difficult to see clear of where we were driving. We drove onwards with great caution and made it to our destination safely. We sat in our car awaiting for the weather to improve, and I remember feeling discouraged about the weather conditions. Any hopes for decent shots just sank straight down. However, to my big surprise it turned out to be one of my favorite moments from that journey. The adventurous feeling of striving our way through the total whiteout was a true adrenaline rush. It made me forget about all about hectic life. There was a tranquility to this blizzard which is rare to find these days; I truly felt alive. I mean, aren’t moments just like this what life is all about? Life is easily filled up with busy schedules, and we’re always on the run. We tend to either plan days ahead and live in the future, or dwell too much in the past. Living in the present almost becomes a rare treasure. I believe we can do our bodies, souls and minds a favor by taking a pause more often and embrace the smallest beauty and goodness there is in life and nature.

As a photographer I learned that there is so much more behind the scenes than just taking a good “shot”. I´ve been given the chance to meet so many interesting people and creative minds. I´ve had the opportunity to exchange and share ideas, happiness, peacefulness and incredible moments with amazing people from all around the world – and for that I´m forever grateful.
Photography has shown me the importance of living in the present, appreciating nature and not taking life or our earth for granted, in other words, a life- changing experience, without a single doubt.

© all pictures Elmoon Iraola with kind permission

Dear readers. Hope you are all doing well! Learn more about this young contributor of our print edition  here. Take care! Melanie Kettner

vittra – the scandinavian light

Words & Images: David Hjortsberg-

She comes and goes as she pleases. Luring me into comfort and then ripping her beauty from under me when I least expect it. She lingers on too long and appears too suddenly, catching me off guard and full of wonder. She is a singer and a song, a painter and a canvas, a dancer and the dance itself. She transforms and restructures even in her absence. Me, and everything around.

I have been following her all of my life. Sometimes knowingly – with a childlike curiosity. Sometimes – as a silent passenger alongside her. But always with a certain fascination; however subconsious it might be. She plays a part in all my childhood memories. Setting the mood, amplifying the details, acting as the storyteller in what I am trying to recall.

When I close my eyes and think of home, of places that genuinely make me feel at peace and harmonious, she is the ultimate bearer of truth. The maternal caress. Everything she touches connects me to this place and the men and women that walked here before me. She has a certain class and grace that is unlike anything I have seen in this world.

She brings me back to the places I love, again and again, showing them to me in new ways every time. Always soft to the touch, with just enough strength and warmth to invite in new ideas to the familiar scene. She holds my hand and keeps me company, never letting me feel alone in the dense forest and the cold vast landscapes. Her presence smoothes out the sharp edges of the city and her radiance drenches out the noise of the busy soundscape.

Her fabric shapes my thoughts and my sentiment. She picks me up and she brings me down. Keeps me calm and gets me excited. Lets me reflect and look for answers to questions deep within. We are one and the same. We dance together in joy and in grieving. And when she goes into hiding for long periods of time, as do I. Only to emerge when the nights grow shorter and the days longer. She is the healer and the protector of life, and the comforter of the weak.

© all pictures David Hjortsberg with kind permission

More of this poetic essay in our print edition Vol.1!

More about David here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner

in the deep north is a place

Words & Images Linus Bergman-

In the deep north is a place. A place very different from others. This is a place where rock formations, hundreds of meters high, meet the sea.
It’s a place where nature almost feels untouched.
In summer the sun never leaves, in winter it never shows. Blizzards of snow. Rain running wild. Foxes playing in mountain corners. Deer carelessly walking man’s road.
Some people call it home, some people call it a dream.
This is the place known as, Lofoten.

It was once known for its fishing. Nowadays the biggest income is tourism. Which is not surprising, cause it doesn’t matter how many times you travel to this place.
The tiny red cabins, with the snowy mountain peaks as a backdrop. With four seasons in a day.
It will make you speechless.
Every time.

I visited this place many times in summer, experienced the serene beauty of the midnight sun, before deciding I wanted to know what’s left when the tourists are gone. What I noticed through the years, is that the place has lost its empty roads , as they are often too crowded with cars and tourist buses even in winter.

Lofoten is still a place that is distant but not unknown to people throughout the world. In a way, it remains mysterious. Lofoten has not yet been a part of commercialization as much as other parts of the world. I hope this stays that way.

Not that I mind and don’t want people to experience this beauty, but I have a belief that we need places like this, that are not yet “normalized” and explored fully. Land that can be a part of one’s fantasy. For young people to still be able to dream of exploration like I did in my younger years, to realize that the world is still a place for which questions can be asked. This may be its greatest value for the generations to come.

I grew up imagining our world as still unexplored. I loved to hear stories about adventurers and places untouched. I used my fantasy to travel to distant places. As I became older my thoughts went from Tintin to explorers like August Andre, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and thinkers that made me realize that the world within is just as big as the one “out there”, like Lao Tzu.

Recently while writing in my journal, I got an understanding of why I choose to travel to this far away places, why I sit in the car for 30 some hours alone. It’s stillness. It’s silence I’m looking for, and not the silence you imagine while standing alone on a mountaintop, but rather the silence and stillness within oneself. Even though one can find it anywhere, I noticed for myself that these trips to Lofoten and places similar give me a chance to experience myself.

Oslo, big cities are common at this stage of life. Music, cars, people, advertisement and phones are all a part of our daily and usually hectic life. While they are useful, it’s easy to switch on autopilot, forgetting that moments in a room alone while doing nothing, or standing in nature with no thoughts,  are necessary for our souls. These moments let us become a bigger part of ourselves. As the Nordic paradise has done for me.

So the “Nordic Paradise” is a project for which I hope people can take a break, maybe for minutes, maybe for hours, to experience silence for a brief moment.

© all pictures Linus Bergman with kind permission

More about Linus here.

Stay tuned dear readers regarding our print edition Vol.1!  Take care! Melanie Kettner

norway: fjell og himmel

Words & Images Samuel Han-

Travel has been a deeply engrained part of my life since I was born. My family and I moved around constantly, never really being able to settle down and put our roots somewhere. It was hard growing up but as I got older, it became an immense benefit to my future, because I loved to travel. As a photographer to see new places doesn’t always mean having to travel to new countries, but I was blessed with the opportunity to move to Sola, Norway for over six months volunteering at the YWAM Rogaland base.

Norway was a different challenge than I had ever faced before, I had never seen a fjord and had hardly heard about it. So getting to photograph the mountains, sea, and sky was a perfect combination, harmonious. I admit, it may be quite gloomy in the winter, but the winter gives you such a gratefulness for the light. To cherish the limited amount of light you get, to explore and be outside in a serene and sublime landscape. To wake up with the sunrise overlooking a fjord covered in snow and just barely being able to spot the houses of villages below. Sunrise and sunset seemed to last a lifetime as I drove around mountains and through tunnels.

There is a certain reverence for nature that I see in Norway that is difficult to see in many parts of the world. They live with the nature, and the nature isn’t a place that you take a vacation to go to. You live and abide in it.

With the world constantly expanding and trying to find new ways of living, preserving the very thing we come from is becoming more and more essential. I don’t photograph landscapes to give myself pleasure or others pleasure, but to show that these places are beautiful only if preserved. We as humans could easily destroy the nature… and many of us already have. Once we strip nature of what it is, we can never recover the same nature as we once had, it is impossible.

Solitude in serenity. The vast greatness of nature gives me something you can’t get in cities and towns, solitude. To be alone and yet, not completely alone. It allows me to get away and clear my head of the overwhelming thoughts and just relax in the beauty of what’s around me. Nature can do something that most can’t, just being in its presence can calm your soul, to rest.
I use my personal work to give myself rest and peace. Especially living in New York the last few years, it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all. My personal work slows me down, to place myself back where I was in the vast expanse of nature. I hope that I can only do a fraction to help others in also slowing down and taking in the environment of the photo, to feel how it felt to be there and be in the moment.

© all pictures Samuel Han with kind permission

Sam is based in New York, follow him on Instagram here.

Melanie: As you may have heard: We are planning a printed edition of Northletters Magazine Vol.1. Photography today is mostly seen in tiny formats on fast moving media with a very short term of existence. We believe that pictures need PRINT. We want Northletters to be a platform for talented young photographers to have exposure, to be seen i.e. on a coffetable, maybe in a bookstore or even in libraries of universities, where fine art is culture. So, stay tuned dear readers and take good care! Yours, Melanie Kettner


welcome to the north

Images: Davide Rostirolla/ Words: Davide Rostirolla & Melanie Kettner-

Davide: Iceland is known as the “Island of the Ice and Fire”, where nature rules over man and sets the rhythm of life. There are 330,000 people living around the island, but it is only when you get out of the city that you see the wonders that this fantastic landscape has to reveal. The island is not only Ring Road, Blue Lagoon or Golden Circle, but has a lot more to offer. I left from Reykjavík, heading north towards Akureyri and Húsavík passing through Borgarnes. The journey continued to Egilsstaðir and the east fjords, Vopnafjörður and Borgarfjörður Eystri. With the bad weather, the fog and dirty roads overhanging the sea I seemed to be a character of some ghost stories, but these were the sensations and moods I had been looking for in Iceland.

I had not expected a lot of sun, not even in August, but that didn’t matter, Iceland reveals the best of itself with a dark sky and rainy clouds. Don’t be surprised if the weather changes completely in just a few minutes, this is typical in the Northern European countries. I explored the island from South to North, from West to East trying to find its wild side. In a few kilometers you can drive in the middle of nowhere, you can find houses under a waterfall, you can stay silent to admire glaciers and hear their beat, you can walk on black sandy beaches or on lava hills covered by a green coat. Welcome to Iceland, welcome to the North!

Going around you will easily understand that it is a continuously evolving land where the beautiful landscapes can easily change shape and appearance. Here, nature always wins. The road trip continued through the Vatnajökull National Park, Jokulsarlon and its icebergs, the black beach of Vík and the southern part of the island. Driving along a few unpaved roads, I reached isolated and completely out of time places. There, walking under the rain in a windy and foggy day, a lunar landscape and a wild land suddenly appeared in front of me. In Iceland it’s rewarding to get lost, because then you find yourself, in peace and harmony with nature.

© all pictures Davide Rostirolla with kind permission

Melanie: As Davide said, sometimes getting lost in some way is rewarding. We loose sight of our controlling intellect and have to find a new orientation. This often is helpful, as in some cases we need to change direction. We tend to choose always the same compass point in mind, we select the same patterns when deciding in life and these patterns often aren’t based on our own soul needs, but are automatically chosen based on our childhood experiences, learned models or society influences. They can lead to inappropriate problem solving techniques. Thus, sometimes it is wise to push the reset button in our mind and to get rid of thinking patterns that obviously are repeating themselves in our life and aren’t very helpful or aren’t even our own. When we are brave enough to leave the habitual and unfruitful paths, trying different and soul nourishing routes in our life, we will be rewarded.

More about Davide’s work here. Take good care my dear readers in 2018! Yours, Melanie Kettner