It was only last week my wife and I were in Iceland. Though with our feet back on British soil we are left with a small pieces of our beings missing. I think we subconsciously left them both there as an excuse to return in the near future.
This was the first trip for Abi & I in a long, long time. It was nice to get away and enjoy road tripping with one another. Something we haven't done together in what feels like forever. We packed light and left heavy hearted.
This beautiful country opened my eyes to how much more there is to life and how much I've allowed the everyday cloud my view. It was a trip well needed to gain real clarity and a sense of self. A good few days of empty, off camber, gravel roads that seemed to have no end.
This is a place where you can truly experience feeling good. Feeling healthy. Feeling balanced.
The air is so pure you hardly notice it when you inhale. The water is so clean you feel energised after every sip or shower. It is a place to truly over come whatever ails you.
I may be accused of being overly flowery for the sense of this blog, but something in that country really changed me. The sheer size of this place confirmed how small we are as humans. The harshness of its weather made me humble. It's people filled me with gratitude.
The national motto in Iceland is; “Þetta reddast” which translates to "It will all work out ok".
The Icelandic way of life really opened my eyes to how I've been living my own over the past few years. A lot of the answers I have been searching for seem to have fallen at my feet since returning.
I'm sure you've read time and time again about how I sweat all the small stuff and try to make good of less playable hands but this time it's different. Like a switch has been flicked deep within my brain and suddenly I'm operating more soundly.
For the first time ever, I felt truly present in the moment. Watching all these huge mountains cascade over us, feeling the wind whip past us, knowing the freezing cold was only a few inches from our bodies. I felt completely selfless in this jagged environment. Despite the weather having the option to rip us to shreds, I felt completely unthreatened by it. As if it had hardly noticed our two tiny bodies walking through it.
I struggle to put it into words well enough, but something changed within me. This place is so full of life despite it's harsh reputation. It has undeniable sense of power yet has no reason to prove it to anything. You can't help but feel it and admire it..
Because of this, I didn't want to take as many photos as I originally thought. I felt like coming into this places presence to take what I wanted from its beauty was highly irresponsible. Almost disrespectful?! Instead I only shot a few photos to remind me of the feeling this place gave me at the time. Something to look back on in years to come. Maybe whilst telling the grand kids what to expect on their first visit to this incredible island.
During the flight over I had a shot list looping in my mind. Though when we were finally on the road these became less important. Knowing I was sharing such an incredible experience with the woman I love set alight a sense of honour. If I just lived behind the camera the whole time I'm sure the trip wouldn't have been so inspiring.
Since returning, I have made a few changes in hopes of living a bit better.
1) Use my phone as a tool.
2) Trust my gut.
3) Focus more on integrity and honesty instead of what work is considered "popular".
4) Go to bed at a reasonable hour.
5) Drink more water.
These may seem trivial, maybe even daft, but they all entwine with one another. I'll explain how, I have been using my phone a lot for work. Making/taking calls, emails and mainly using social media to find inspiration. In doing so I have completely lost sight of where I stand as a photographer. Anything I produce I am quick to shoot down as I subconsciously compare it to everything gaining likes and shares. I'm ashamed to admit it but I'd pretty much become addicted to using my phone late at night constantly trying to find where I sit in amongst the thousands of photographers. Even during our time away. Spending too long at night updating my Instagram story. So in turn now, I leave my phone on charge in the kitchen. Away from where I'm working, relaxing or sleeping. It's a tool made predominantly for communication. I think a lot of us forget that these days.
By stepping away from my phone I am no longer influenced by everything I scroll through. I am now trusting myself to let my style fall back into what it used to be. Care free and creative without the fear of going against the grain. Going with my gut and trusting I am doing the right thing for that moment. Not just creating an image to impress other photographers.
With that being said, I am focused on creating work that is true to me with an unapologetic grasp on honesty. Integrity over popularity. We don't need any more unrealistic displays of a perfect life. Let's show some struggles and tell some stories right?! Let's get back to reality.
Now I'm focused on all of the above, I can finally sort my sleeping habits out. I'm a night owl by nature, but I no longer see the need to stay up till the early hours trying to "figure it all out". Despite my efforts I'm still struggling. I type this to you at 3.43am. I really hope in a few weeks time I can go to bed at a reasonable hour and fall asleep with my wife.
I added in drinking more water simply because I choose coffee over something as simple as water. I spend so much of my time caffeinated. No doubt this adds to all of the above.
Everything you have read so far may seem completely random and out of the blue. But I type it to give you an idea of where I'm at. I've really struggled with my confidence and drive recently and to be honest... It's getting a little bit boring.
So over the next few months, I may not blog much or post anything on social media unless I have something worth talking about. I'm confident that this is the best way for me to go. The idea of having to be active on social media 24/7 to help my business really bugs me. I'm not in this to become a wealthy man, deep down I'm in it to regain control over my life.
For the first time in a year I am optimistic as to what lays ahead. I understand that there are many more challenges and struggles ahead. But now I plan to face them in the same way Nordic cultures approach winters. Much like winter, struggles are a natural occurrence. They exist regardless of where you stand in the world. It's how you approach them that counts. Work with them, not against them. Wrap up warm and enjoy the moment. All of our books on Hygge will no doubt find there way back to our coffee table during the darker, colder nights.
With all that being said, Þetta reddast!