There are some things that happen that you are unsure how to explain. I have been beyond fortunate to visit some of the most beautiful places this world has to offer. Every time I visit somewhere new, I wish there were ways to convey the feeling that overtakes me. This is one of the reasons I entered photography. I have traveled to some places under all types of circumstances; work, weddings, or just a vacation. The story of how this trip came about is quite hilarious. This entire adventure was all thanks to the wonderful team over at Bearded Goat. I met their team at the GoPro games in Vail, Colorado. They were hosting a free trip to Iceland! All they asked for was your email and a reason why they should take you to Iceland. I remember spending a solid 3-5 minutes typing a lengthy response on why they should take me. To be honest, I do not remember exactly what I said in that dialogue box but it worked. A little over a month later, they messaged me on Instagram to see if I was still interested and available to go! I asked what would it take to win. I immediately biked home, told my roommate Brandon about the situation, and he agreed to help me make a video. I want to say I owe at least 50% of this win to Brandon for shooting this video of me and editing it rapidly. Here is the video we made!
And We Won...!!!!
I remember being at work and getting the a facetime request from a number based out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I literally could not stop yelling and screaming! The entire crew from Bearded Goat was on the other end of the phone telling me that I won a trip to Iceland! They were just as excited as I was. The trip was now two weeks away and I had no idea what to do next. Brandon and I packed up and we went to New York City for a couple of nights before heading to Iceland. A huge thank you to two people in New York; Jimmy Mac for hosting an amazing photo meet-up and showing me some cool parts of the city. And Hannah Seusy for hosting Brandon and I for a night after we realized our AirBnb was underwhelming. Grateful for both of these groups of friends.
There is always a surge of adrenaline and anxiety that takes over me when going somewhere new. For the most part, I am not much of a planner when it comes to traveling. I do plan a few things I would like to see or experience but I normally leave enough time to meander and walk. Fortunately, Bearded Goat supplied an itinerary for the entire trip. I am pretty sure the most clutch move they made was renting two camper vans for us all to stay in. Brandon and I landed bright and early in Keflavík and we were picked up by everyone. Before I get into everything we did, I would like to give everyone a personal shoutout and thank you!
My great friend Brandon was my plus one for this trip. I owe you one for this trip. Great travel partner and even better friend.
I remember meeting Owen at Vail GoPro games at the booth. The man with the plan who made sure trip trip went smoothly. It was great meeting you!
Maggie is the photographer for Bearded Goat Apparel. Besides being an awesome photographer and friend, she somehow managed to hang with 7 guys for the duration of this trip. Respect.
McKane is brothers with Morgan. He runs social media and content for the company. Excellent co-pilot for Kile during the extended distances between stops.
Kile. Arguably the chillest guy on this trip. I'm glad you got the chance to discover your love for reggae music and breakfast burritos.
This dude here is one talented creative. He does video for Bearded Goat and has some amazing work from his travels thus far. Can not wait to see where this guy goes with his talents. Check out his work here!
Mateo! My man came all the way from the UK on this trip. He met Morgan before this trip and came to capture some video as well. Such a pleasure meeting you man and hope to cross paths again!
Tom was one of the winners of another giveaway by Bearded Goat and it brought him onto this trip as well. One hell of a shooter as well and chill guy. To my Colorado friends, check him out and shoot him a message! He lives in Vail currently!
The Ring Road
If you look at a map of Iceland, there is a road that circles the entire island. During most of year, parts of the road is inaccessible. This is particularly common when you try to venture north. Most of the the things you see from Iceland are attractions along the southern coast. We headed west from Reykjavik as soon as we left the airport. We stopped here and there to take photos or just take in the beauty that is this insane country. Seeing some of the sights I've viewed in photos for years made me stop in awe. No matter how many photos I have seen, the beauty this land held will never be accurately captured. We stretched what would of been an 7 hour drive over two days to end at Stokksnes. Here is a collection of photos I captured along the way.
As we woke up to the sun in Stokksnes, we headed back to Reykjavik. The following morning, we had a mountain bike trip planned. I did not capture any photos of us mountain biking or the amazing views along the route the guides took us, but I did a photo of our guides. We had one day left and we made the most of it. From sitting in a coffee shop for close to 3 hours hanging out, to mountain biking just under 15 miles, and then relaxing in a hot spring outside of town, our last day together was a great way to conclude our time in Iceland. We ended the day at a campsite near the airport. I skateboarded (finally) and just sat there listening to the waves crash.
I am beyond grateful for an experience like this one. The crew over at Bearded Goat showed me one hell of a time and knocked off one of my bucket list items. I could not have imagined a better trip with an even better group of people. Below is a video that my best friend Brandon Tormanen made that is definitely a good representation of the trip.