Two years ago on my wife Sarah’s birthday as a special treat we went to Iceland (Not the food chain) to celebrate, we both came back with a much deeper understanding of the word cold! We had some excellent excursions planned to see the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), the famous golden circle, acres of ice and of all things a tomato farm!
While we were there it was also a great opportunity to watch other people and their behaviour; we both love doing this.
The first trip was to see the Northern Lights, we had to go on a coach with 58 other people, just over an hour later we arrived in the middle of a volcanic wasteland. Everyone alighted from the coach into what appeared to be total darkness, we couldn’t see the person standing right next to us. The two ladies that had sat behind us on the coach had followed Sarah and I down the steps and out into the middle of crater, continued the moaning about the cold and the dark!
The view into the night sky was phenomenal, like nothing I had ever seen before, there was no light pollution and it was almost as if I could reach out and grab the star of my choice… A unique experience and the only thing missing was the actual Northern Lights, two hours in and the guide said we should call it a day and the remaining six of us that hadn’t re-boarded the bus should start to do so as it was unlikely that we would see the lights.
Yes, it was minus 12 degrees C and pretty dark, however, we had driven over an hour to be there so Sarah and I weren’t going to miss a minute because of a little bit of cold. Needless to say, the two ladies had found their way back on the coach after about three minutes flat! Just as we were about to get on the coach the guide said “quick, quick, the lights are coming out!” We had the light show that Sarah had be dreaming of, it was absolutely amazing even though it lasted for just over one minute.
Just as it came to an end the two ladies had managed to get off the coach and one of them said “That’s just my bloody luck to miss the show, that type of thing always happens to me!” The trip back on the coach to the hotel was interesting listening to the two ladies bemoaning their luck about missing the famous Northern lights and how they would have been better spending their time in the bar!
Next morning we were up early and on the coach to start our tour of ‘the golden circle’ the start of a ten hour journey to some of Iceland’s most famous land marks. This trip the two ladies were in the seats next to us, so great opportunity to observe, learn and report! The first stop was the tomato farm, then the boiling geysers and hot springs, followed by the frozen water falls and the pièce de résistance the valleys between the two tectonic plates!
The drive between the North American plate and the Eurasian plate put us amongst some breath taking scenery. We arrived at a base camp and was told that there was an optional 25 minute climb up to the coach park on the top of this range of mountains where the coach would pick us up. Everyone on the coach decided to take the challenge and walk to the top… Except of course (you guessed it) the two ladies.
The view and experience was outstanding with volcanic caverns, waterfalls, lakes and ice flows and no end of interesting things to look at, Sarah and I loved every minute. When we got back on the coach the two ladies were sitting there moaning about how long it had taken the rest of us to walk up and I said to them “Didn’t you fancy seeing the heart of Iceland?” Their reply was “No, there’s nothing to see it all looks the bloody same!” You just can’t help some people!
Now then, you might ask why have I told you this little story? Well my job is to Observe, Learn and then Report it back so that people can learn from it also. The two main learning bits from this were;
- You make your own luck! If you have flown 1200 miles and endured a one hour coach ride to see the Northern Lights, what do you expect by sitting on the bus! Life is very much about engagement and new experiences. Engage with the people around you and enjoy the experience, sitting in a safe harbour never ever helped the great explorers of history find new and distant shores!
- Even though you might be looking, what you see depends very much on what you expect to see. If you expect to see nothing new, then you will see nothing new. Open your eyes and start looking for what is under your very nose. There is so much beauty in this world that goes unseen because we are programmed not to really look! It is very much like the book by Russell H Conwell ‘Acres of Diamonds’ sometimes the very thing we are looking for is right there, we just have to look for it!
Observe, Learn, Report!
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