One thing I always complain about is the cold, as a lifelong Londoner living in between rain and grey skies is just how it is. We’ll get a month of good weather each year if we’re lucky and for me, that’s about 25°C, anything above that starts to creep into heatwave territory. So, if one of my biggest gripes with living in London is the weather, the question is why would I choose Iceland as my first solo holiday? The answer – because I wanted to.
I’ve always been more of a homebody but once I started my first 9-5 job I greatly underestimated what I had signed up for. I initially started working from home which was great, because I hate getting on the central line, in the midst of a London summer (which doesn’t really feel like heat but more so like you’re suffocating from pollution), at rush hour.
I got to wake up in the comfort of my own home in my pyjamas – well pyjama bottoms – and could go through my whole day without having to physically interact with anyone.
I didn’t realise that this was giving rise to the increased feelings of anxiety and tiredness that manifested itself in my depressive mood that saw all of the colour taken out of life. Everything felt grey and almost as though I was watching from outside of my body as the same routine of my life played out over and over again.
It wasn’t until I actually went outside on a random weekend that it dawned on me, I had become miserable at home. What had initially begun as a dream scenario in which I could shut out the world had turned into a self-inflicted seclusion.
the sunday reset
Like many people I would long for the weekend as if it were some kind of saviour – and perhaps it was in a way – but by the time that Sunday rolled around I was dreading the week ahead of me. In an attempt to combat that, I started to transition into a healthier routine in which I would try to carve out some time for myself each day to stretch/exercise and just sit with my thoughts for a while.
In what was essentially a miniature, weekly New Year’s resolution, I would make a list of how I was going to keep myself sane for the week ahead – because the stress and the drama would kick in as soon as 9 am came round. When Monday started I would still be carrying over the relief of the weekend, but as the week went on I could feel the energy sap out of me like I was losing battery. My perfectly prepared plans that were put in place on Sunday would fly out the window at a rate of knots and I found myself scrambling to take a breath throughout the day.
forgetting how to breathe
Heading into another hectic week at work I knew it would only serve to contribute to the desolate feeling that has been building up internally. We had eight people off from our relatively small team and so it’s safe to say that those of us who remained were barely keeping our heads afloat, and the week had only just begun.
It’s not that I didn’t know that I need to slow things down and take a breather, it’s just that there was never any time to. Everything was hurtling toward you at 100mph and in those situations, it’s easy to forget that you’d been holding your breath all day.
so, I flew to Iceland
My job and subsequent lifestyle had me in a stranglehold and whilst the weekend offered a temporary escape it wasn’t enough.
I wanted to get away or run towards something new, so I did. The journey to Iceland was an emotional albeit short adventure but I had made it and it was transformative to say the least.
Nothing extraordinary happened but I think taking your first solo trip anywhere shows that you’re capable of much more than you think. I found that I often take for granted the small luxuries that have become ingrained in my daily life and I didn’t fully appreciate how exposed and vulnerable you feel when you’re left on your own.
Being thrown into a completely new environment breathes new life into you and grants you the freedom to live without really thinking about it. It’s a pure experience that brings back your curiosity and excitement for life that can often fade away as you get older.