Culture Outpost: That first taste of sky

“A free man can live on fish. Independence is better than meat.”
― Halldór Laxness, Independent People


I once asked a National Geographic photographer if he had a favorite shooting location. “The place I’ve haven’t been to yet,” he said, is always his favorite. I feel the same way, except for a few places. Iceland is one of them. Sometimes it’s as satisfying to find a foreign place where one feels connected and at home, as to discover something new.

My favorite moment in Iceland is at the end of the long shuttle or taxi ride from the international airport in Reykjavik to the lodging destination, when the door opens, and I get a first breath of arctic air — sharply sweet in winter with a certain bite — like the mineral taste of snow licked from a mitten — and sea-salted & soft, but refreshing in summer. There’s something about that taste of sky, sea and earth all at once — foreign and familiar — that excites me. It feels precious, rare, exhilarating and fulfilling.

The joy of travel is simple and doesn’t require extravagance. A walk to your own mailbox can be considered travel if done right. And independence, like that first breath in a special place that imparts an exotic sense of home, is priceless and worth a whole lot of sacrifice.

More about Iceland coming up.

Independent People, by the way, is a must-read.


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