I’ve never enjoyed being a tourist. I can recall being a teenager at Yellowstone National Park one summer with my family and being utterly dismayed at the crowds of people waiting for Old Faithful to erupt, while thousands of empty acres lie all around. Lucky for those quiet and peaceful, un-trampled acres, I suppose.
Well, I’m on the road at the moment on the adventure of a lifetime as a non-tourist with renowned Italian photographer, instructor, explorer and conservationist Luca Bracali. I met up with him and his talented group of workshop students in Iceland and now I’m in Norway with his team for an exciting project that cannot yet be revealed (more to come!)
One night in Iceland we stopped at the gorgeous but simple and natural geothermal Myvatn Nature Baths in northeast Iceland’s Lake Myvatn area. The baths have two connected soaking areas, one of which floats towards the edge like an infinity pool, with a gorgeous view of the valley. A couple of my new workshop friends brought me a beer and then….signs of aurora began streaking across the sky, faintly in the twilight, then stronger and stronger. New comrades from around the world, a warm mineral soak after a long day of exploring and learning, a cold beer gifted by those generous friends, and Northern Lights, all right there in one of the most gorgeous settings in the world; yet not an expensive resort and a place just as frequented by locals as visitors. Heaven on earth.
Then the aurora really turned on the charm and we all met in the parking area to take photos as the beautiful hues appeared and Northern Lights danced across the sky. Luca shot an amazing set of time lapse images that he made into the beautiful video above. There aren’t any words to describe the sense of gratitude for that night and the moments before and after — the delicious, satisfying feeling of being immersed in an authentic experience and part of a place, rather than simply passing through it.