Our friends Milad (@bornpacific) and Owen (@newpeoplesarmy) just got back from an incredible trip to Iceland, and we're going to give you a little peek into what they experienced and saw!
Iceland: so cool! Why/how did you end up making a trip there?
Milad: So originally the plan was that I was going to fly solo to Iceland, and well, become a viking. Just kidding.. kinda.. I wanted to see somewhere different really. I've been through most of Europe, and the Middle East. Iceland just seemed isolated, and full of unknown wonders to me. So I called my friend Rachel, (@therachelcohen) because she's just about as spontaneous as I am, and told her what I was going to do. I didn't know this, but apparently Rachel was in the process of booking a trip for herself to Europe for a couple of weeks, and well, lets just say I came in like a wrecking ball and destroyed those plans for her with mine. She jumped on board immediately and also reached out to our other friend Tommy Kirkpatrick (@tlk3rd), who might I add has NEVER left the country except for this trip, and talked him into it as well. After I thought I had the crew figured out, I was sitting at a bar with Owen and as soon I mentioned to him what I was doing he pretty much bought his tickets right there on the spot with his iPhone! Well kinda, he got to the pay screen but suddenly realized he had a job that he needed to make sure he could request time off for before hitting that 'Purchase' button.
Owen: Milad and I were having drinks and ramen at Underbelly in San Diego a few months ago and he mentioned that he’s going to Iceland with his friends and I said “Dude, that’s awesome! I’ve been wanting to visit Iceland.” He then replied with “Dude, you should go with us!” After a week, I bought my tickets to join them for an epic adventure. It was that simple really. Then we got all excited about it.
What cities/landmarks did you visit?
Milad: To tell you the truth, I still can't pronounce a single name of any location that we visited. I kept referring to everywhere as "Somewhere in Iceland". But a few that I can recall from outside of the capital of Reykjavik would be: Reykjadalur (which has a geothermic hot spring like 3 miles into the mountain thats definitely worth the hike and getting into when its 30 degrees outside), Skogafoss, Jokulsarlon, Seljavallalaug (I'll give anyone $10 if they can pronounce that on the first try), and the small quaint town of Vik.
Owen: We visited Reykjavik of course, the Capital city; such an amazing place. Downtown was great! Reykjavik Roasters became our favorite spot because we love coffee! People are so friendly. A few of my favorite landmarks throughout our roadtrip (naming just a few because they are hard to name, haha) are Skogafoss Waterfall, the outdoor pool in Seljavallalaug, DC-3 Plane Wreck, Black Sand Beach in Vik, and Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon. Lastly, this small town called Vik. Lovely people there. This place is very special to me because it is where I first saw Aurora Borealis, the famous Northern Lights.
Any crazy weird or unusually inspiring experiences while you were there?
Milad: I don't even know where to begin with the unusual occurrences that made themselves present out there. Probably the scariest one that I'd never ever ever want to live through again was sleeping in 60+ mph winds in a Ford camper, feeling like it was going to tip over at any second. I mean, we're talking about this vehicle literally tilting from one side to the other at a speed that could knock you out your bunk. We also managed to purchase beer at a bakery, which was given to us in the same kind of bag that you'd buy a Baguette in. Oh, and Owen tried pony meat.
Owen: It was the moment when I saw Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. It was so beautiful watching it weave through the night sky and I was thinking to myself, this can't be happening, this is so unreal, I can't believe I'm here witnessing this, it's magnificent. It was crazy because we didn't expect to see the Northern Lights at all, we simply assumed that you needed to be in a certain place in order to see it. That moment just inspired me to keep doing what I was doing, going on adventures and taking photos of amazing places.
What did you learn about Iceland and/or "the creative process"?
Milad: Iceland truly evokes a creativity within yourself that you never knew existed. You see things so differently when you leave, to be honest. It is a country of simplicity and minimalism, and completely polar opposite to our "On The Go" daily lifestyle we are so used to here in Southern Cali/pretty much the entire U.S. (except for Arkansas, I feel like Arkansas just chills hard all day). You find inspiration and peace in any geographical surrounding out there. Not only are you inspired to dig deep into your creativity and bring to life a unique idea, but you almost literally have to battle reminding yourself to put your camera down, and just be present in the moment. To realize that there are just some things that you can't snap a picture of to remember what you were feeling in that very moment.
Owen: I learned quite a lot about Iceland: their history, different ways of living, and the culture. It’s very different compared to the U.S. obviously. You would meet people from all over the world, not as a tourist but as a student and employee because apparently they only have one percent unemployment rate and roughly three hundred twenty thousand total population. Iceland, the land of fire and ice is one of the most beautiful place I have ever visited.
Shameless plugs: what brands/instagrams/art should we check out (yours or others')?
Milad: I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out my fellow travelers' feeds. The point of the trip became to influence one another's skill sets and creativity from our own perspectives, and that's just what we did out there. Please take the time to look through @Newpeoplesarmy, @therachelcohen, and @tlk3rd and see what they saw through their eyes! Also, HUGE shouts and thank you Lucas Downey and the incredibly humbling folks at Arcane Supply Co. for all the love, support, and threads (@arcanesupplyco / www.arcanesupply.com). The homies over at Freemans Collective (@freemanscollective), and The Adventure Project & Co (@the_adventure_project). Last but not least, the crazy yet incredibly good souls at KuKu Campers back in Iceland for allowing us to take out one of their vans on our excursion, and giving us a skateboard to not only mess around with in the middle of the freeways but to also use so that I could skate into the historical Selijavallalaug pool built outdoors back in 1923. It was 35 degrees that morning, and probably one of the dumbest/best decisions I've ever made in my life.
Owen: My IG/Website is @newpeoplesarmy / www.ojsarmiento.com. I want to thank The Adventure Project for the gears and also my awesome friends on this trip that made it such an incredible experience, Milad Sadegi, Rachel Cohen, and Tommy Kirkpatrick.
Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us, guys! To everyone else: We hope these whimsical photos of Iceland help carry you into your weekend!