Posts Tagged With: iceland

Weather or not, here I come!

I live in a warm part of the U.S.  I am in Florida.  I have lived here most of my life.  I did not choose to move here, rather my parents chose it for me, back when I was a teenager.  As I grow older, I realize that I am bored by the constant,  warm climate the majority of the year.  I am tired of running my air conditioner 24/7 for 9-10 months of the year.  Further, I cannot stand sweating every time I open the door or attempt to blow dry my hair!

I long to see the trees in Autumn when they change colors.  I also dream of winter wonderlands!  And just like my thermostat on my air conditioning unit, I wish I had the ability to change outside temps by the turn of a dial!  But, the warm weather is here to stay whether I like it or not.

So whats a girl to do with all this hot air?  Travel!  Yep, I immensely enjoy my winter travels.  Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Estonia are some great winter destinations.  I get to put on my down-filled coat, strap up my boots, and cool off!  Winter travel has it pros and cons, but for me, it is all a good thing!  I have been snowed in during my travels to Iceland, and I have lost countless hours waiting for the winds to die down enough to fly.  I wear layers upon layers to stay warm, and traipse through snow, wind, and rain to explore my surroundings.   But all in all, it is worth it to me!

We have had our share of ‘cooler’ temperatures this past month in Florida.  I have loved the few drops to 50 degrees (fahrenheit) and the sweaters I have been able to wear.  But there is nothing like preparing myself for a winter trip.

In two short weeks, I will take out my wool socks, my winter boots, sweaters, hat and gloves.  I will pack my warmest and wear them all with the excitement of knowing I am traveling to far distances to explore people, places and things I have never before seen.

Has weather ever stopped you from traveling? Or are you an adventurist who travels with total disregard knowing what awaits you on your journey?

Safe journeys,



Categories: adventure, iceland, Travel, travel delays, weather | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Living in America: Feels good?!!

James Brown, the infamous ‘godfather of soul’ crooned about Livin’ in America.  “I feel good, eye to eye, hand in hand while living in the promised land” touted Brown in his 1986 hit song.  But does it really “feel good” to live in America in the 21st century?  For the past week, upon return from my recent travels to Denmark, Iceland, and Norway I have been contemplating this very thought in my mind.

I am an American, born and raised here my entire life.  I am however, no economic major, nor have I ever really paid attention to politics or the state of the American union.  I like to think of myself as a ‘typical’ American who goes about my day thinking only of myself and my immediate family, how hard we will have to work, how much money we will make, and how much money will be left after paying all the bills to spend on personal luxuries.  As a ‘typical’ middle class individual, I rarely spend time thinking about those less fortunate than I, nor do I think about what I could be doing to help make the world a better place.  I don’t have to, after all I am American and live in a capitalistic country where each citizen is clearly out for their own personal gain – including that of our government.  We are raised to be a hard-working, money-making society, and those who have more money are in a higher class in society than those who do not.  Money drives our daily lives and brings us happiness to those who have, and unhappiness to those who do not have.  True Capitalism at it’s best!

Each year, the Wider Opportunities for Women compiles a report on the basic economic security tables in the United States..  This report “measures basic needs and assets for workers required for economic security in American households” (  In 2014, it was reported that 44% of Americans lacked basic economic security.  It went on to report that those households with greater education levels scored somewhat higher on meeting basic economic security than someone without an education.  This struck me as ironic since our country does not support paying for our children’s education, hence only those who can afford a college education can attend and those who don’t are obviously stuck without any means to gain economic security.

Personally, I think these capitalistic attitudes are draining, not only mentally, but economically in my pocket as well.  I may fall into that ‘middle class’ society according to my tax returns, however it seems more and more as if I am left with less in my pocket, and more stress and worry than ever.  With stress and worry comes a decrease in the happiness quotient, and an increase in dissatisfaction with my life as an American.

I have expenses, huge expenses that I feel would be taken care of in some fashion or another if I lived in an egalitarian country.  Out of our monthly income comes  expenses such as: food, gasoline for the cars (3 of them), household living expenses (such as electricity, water, sewer, etc), education (currently paying $2400 for tuition and $3000 for dorm fees, plus food per semester, approximately 4 months, for my son in college), insurance (car insurance for 3 vehicles is $6000 per year, health insurance is $14,400 in annual premiums plus $7,500 out-of-pocket before the health insurance pays a penny, homeowners insurance $2000 per year, disability insurance, flood insurance, etc). and if anything is left at the end we are advised to invest money into a retirement account.

Speaking of retirement account, “they” say social security benefits which I have been paying into throughout my adult life may or may not be available when I retire in the future.  Americans are told we should not count on it as our only means of retirement income.  Thus, 401-K came into being and now we must take what little disposable income we may have and invest it ourselves (and sometimes with the aid of an employer) with the hope that when we retire we can afford it.  Based on the figures I demonstrated earlier you can see that I have little to any disposable income left, thus I worry about what will happen when I eventually retire. Worry and stress, stress and worry, it takes up a great deal of my life and leaves me with less and less quality of life and time to spend with family and friends as I am always worried about having enough money.

After returning home from Norway I began to look at and wonder how different my life would be if I were to live in an ‘egalitarian’ system such as in Scandinavia.  From what I gather, egalitarianism focuses on low social inequality.   There are no divisions between low class, middle class and upper class. One is not looked down upon for making less money than another.  All citizens are treated same and/or similar in respect to what they have or don’t have.  In egalitarian countries one works for the good of all.  With this type of system, those individuals who work are taxed heavily and the government is responsible for giving out funds to help those in need.  With this system comes health care and an education at no expense to any citizen.  Norway in fact has a great deal of highly educated people for this very reason.

Because all medical expenses are paid for, as well as a full education, no one has to stop and think where this money will come from.  Hence, the people who live in an egalitarian system have less stress, less worry, and have a higher happiness quotient.  In fact, in Denmark I spoke to a gentleman in a coffee shop who said to me “I gladly give my money to the government because I don’t have to worry about anything.”  With little to no stress or worry, Scandinavians work a moderate amount of hours per week, have something like up to 6 weeks paid vacation per year, have one year of maternity leave paid for, and have time left over to enjoy spending time with friends and family.  I was amazed to see a great deal of people having a leisurely lunch with friends and I watched intensely at how much enjoyment they had on their faces.  This would never be the case in the States as we are lucky to have a one hour break where we scarf down our food, pay the bill, and race back to work!

In my opinion, the United States capitalistic mind-set has created a huge disparity among its citizens whereby the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Self-satisfaction and personal gain are prominent features in our country.  The leaders of our country abide by these principles and make decisions on our behalf with the underlying premise being what is politically best at the time these principles go into effect.  I have never heard a political leader premise his/her actions by doing what is best for the citizens of our country, rather they act based upon once again – personal gain and how much influence their political power ensues.

On the other side, Egalitarianism means that all of one’s basic needs are met without question of who you are or where you fall in society.  This type of government does not base their decisions upon who deserves what over another, rather it treats its citizens with respect and believes in honoring the basic needs of all individuals and not just the chosen few.  If I lived in such a place, I would no longer have to pay out of my pocket for health expenses, nor would I have to worry about my retirement.  My kids would have an excellent education and future.  I would be living ‘the high life’ with an abundance of happiness and increased quality of life.

I am ashamed at my country for treating me and all other citizens with such disdain for human life and sustenance.  I feel there is a better way for us all to live and it does not include the American way.  I want my children to grow up in a land where all are treated the same – as human beings with basic needs.  I do not wish my children to look down upon another simply because they have less than we do.  It’s time our country steps up and takes care of the basic needs of its citizens!  And I think it should begin with free education for all!

If only the United States would see to the betterment of its citizens, then and only then would James Brown’s song ring true!  “Eye to eye, hand in hand, promised land!”

Safe journeys,


P.S. I would like to say that this was written from my personal perspective only and not necessarily the views of all Americans or of the United States.  I am simply stating my thoughts and have no intention of offending anyone.

Categories: America, American, capitalism, economic security, egalitarian, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel delays and how not to go crazy!

If you are a frequent traveler, then travel delays are inevitable.  Winter travel can be especially treacherous given the amount of snow the northeast U.S. has had this winter alone.  Add to that travel conditions in other parts of the world and that spells  d-e-l-a-y.

It is a known fact that if you are someone who has the expectation that not all will go 100% as planned, then it can be somewhat less stressful and disappointing if something out of the ordinary occurs.  Knowing this fact alone, does not change the situation when you are faced with delays.  And unfortunately, one travel delay only adds to the outcome when it involves other airline carriers besides the primary carrier.

I recently experienced weather related delay on my last trip.  Keflavik (Iceland) airport had to close due to extreme weather conditions and consequently cancelled my primary flight home from Oslo through Keflavik.  I found out the night prior to travel.  I spent over four hours on the phone trying to reach Icelandair to change my travel plans to the following day.  After I completed the transaction I had to contact United Airlines which was my final connection home.  I must mention that both airlines were quite accommodating in getting us home the next day.  I was fortunate in that I had one more day built into my plans that allowed me to come home later than planned without any consequences such as missed work or school.

Not everyone is as fortunate as I was in getting this to happen the following day with few disruptions.  One thing I always do that I suggest others do is to purchase a travel protection plan.  No one likes insurance per say as it is a gamble.  I prefer to be safe rather than sorry.  For the nominal fee I paid, it was worth it.  I am able to make a claim that will pay for my extra night at the hotel, meals, and fare differential that I had to pay.  For me, travel protection plan is a peace of mind when traveling great distances.

In addition, I think it is essential when traveling far to pack extra medicine as well as extra underwear!  I had just enough meds to get me through the extra night.  However, on future trips I will plan to take a few days extra.  And well, it should go without saying that clean underwear is an essential!  Of course, you can wash out what you have already used, but I have a personal preference for clean, unused!

Another tip I think is important when dealing with delays, is to plan ahead.  What I mean by this is to consider on your next trip, what would happen should I be delayed for an extra day or two?  Would I need a back up plan for work?  Or for pet care, child care, etc?  It is something I definitely will implement for my next travels.

Do you have any tips you might want to share of what to do in planning for trip delays?  If so, please let me know!

Safe journeys,


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What I learned in Denmark and Iceland

True to my blog’s name, travel really does enrich your life and make you a better person or in some cases, a more aware person.

I had a great deal of personal enrichments on my last trip that I will share with you today.

My pre-trip goal was to have fun, learn about the Danish culture, find my own “hygge,” and to step outside my comfort zone.  I have not only accomplished what I set out to do, but much more!

First, I found my true “hygge.”  Hygge for me was experiencing the entire Danish lifestyle and embracing what was in front of me daily.  That goes for everything from the local coffee shops, the conversations with locals, and even to the slip and fall in the middle of the street in Copenhagen (I definitely learned I need to look more where I am walking and not assume the curbs are all even as they are in the states!).

When you travel, it is best to expect the unexpected.  By expecting things to not go perfectly one is better equipped to go with the flow.  I had never expected the Danish ground crew to go on strike and delay my plane.  I also did not expect the gate the change and be on the other side of the airport!  By not being upset, and calmly dealing with these travel snafus, I was less stressed and a much better traveler than I would have been had I taken everything so seriously.  Let’s face it, things happen.  Accept it and move on!

I also learned that the Danes are well taken care of by their government and have little to worry about.  This gives them a sense of security that we Americans do not have.  I understand why they live the way they do and how less pressure they live under.  This affords them the opportunity to enjoy family and friends as well as leisure time.  As Americans, I do not think we will ever have this.  At best, all I can learn from this is to want less, and to appreciate what I have and not to yearn for more and more.  If I have less, it follows that I would be able to work less if I am spending less.  It would all even out.  I know this sounds kind of far-fetched, however, I think some of this is possible in our country (America) of excess and materialism.  As I have been saying, less is more.  I intend to make changes in my life such that I am less and less of a materialistic girl and more of a  connoisseur of what I already have.

This trip also taught me that it is ok not to straighten my hair to perfection daily – my hair straightener would not fit in the adapter plug so I had to do without!  I learned that I can survive and go out in public with my hair just the way it is!  Further, it is ok, not to have to put on makeup to go out.  I am who I am and those who pass judgment or do not approve can take a hike!

In addition, I learned what it is like to truly be myself, not caring what others think.  By being myself I experienced spontaneity and freedom.  I played in the snow like a 12-year-old, and I had so much fun!  True, we don’t have snow here in Florida to play with, however, it felt darn good to run in it, throw snow, and make a snow fairy just like I did up north as a child!!  I intend to work on this aspect of being myself while at home so others too can experience the “real” me!

Finally, I have all the experiences and memories in my head that will be with me forever.  I will never forget waking up in my Danish apartment (thanks to airbnb!), or tasting Swedish meatballs in Malmo.  I will always have a sense of peace and rejuvenation every time I re-visit the Blue Lagoon in my mind and in my pictures.  And I will always savor that first bite of Icelandic cod I had in Reykjavik.  These moments will never be forgotten and I will cherish them always.

I am as always thankful for being able to experience my journeys and to come home safely.

What have you learned from your latest travels?

Safe journey,



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Icelandic winter wonderland

imageimageAs a Floridian,  I consider  myself a die-hard Icelandic fan. After all, who else would choose to come to Iceland in the heart of A winter “slizzard” (sleet, blind rolled into one)??!!

Reykjavik is on my bucket list. I have never had so much fun and enjoyment as I did today. Playing in the snow with child-like enthusiasm was without a double the highlight of my trip. After all,how often does one let go of all concerns, and be in the throws of genuine happiness and peace??

Icelandic people live here because they love the land and the lifestyle.  Iceland in my opinion is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I feel as if I have left the world as I know it and have entered an entirely different space   A world of peace, happiness and contentment unlike any I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

As  I wander up Laugavegur I am transported to a time when Vikings ruled this land and I am just a visitor to a settlement from long ago.  I visit the settlement museum and see first hand the discovery of a land of opportunity, and self-sufficiency.

I stop to eat at the fish market and savor the Icelandic fresh fish, and savor every bite.  I am enamoured by the flavors of the land and the warmth of the people who welcome me.  I can only hope I am as good a visitor as they are a host.

I am immersed in their love of land and hospitality. I will never forget the beauty, and serenity.

safe journey, Debbie



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‘Twas the Day Before Travel

‘Twas the day before travel and I awoke with a clatter – or was it my cat’s patter?!

For me, the day before I travel is often filled with great excitement and anticipation for the journey I am about to embark on.  My brain is overflowing with what tasks I must finish before the day is over as well as what I need  to prepare for tomorrow’s flight.  Are the kids going to have enough food?  Are the cats going to be fed?  Who will take out the trash and get the mail while I am gone?  Oh, and a big one around here -who will do the laundry while I am away?  Ha!

The reality of all this is that no matter how much I pre-plan or how much I worry about what will or will not get done – in the end, it is all insignificant as I am about to be rewarded with a wonderful journey.

I must constantly remind myself to be mindful of this moment, and as distracted as I may be, I must remain cognizant of the fact that all this pre-planning is a part of my journey and I must not ignore it.  I tell myself to take the good with the bad, enjoy the moment as it is what it is.

When I board my flight tomorrow, all this brain-flutter will be behind me and I will be able to concentrate on what is before me.  I consider myself fortunate to be able to visit new lands, experience the culture, people, and places I will visit.

I look forward with anticipation when I step off the plane in Iceland on Friday morning.  And I am even more excited over seeing my new digs I got from Airbnb in Copenhagen!

Any ideas or suggestions of what I might see or do in Copenhagen or Reykjavik?  Can a Floridian (such as myself) be brave enough to dip into the waters at the Blue Lagoon in freezing weather?

Safe journeys,


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