You know, I started visiting 25 years ago, and in those days I would meet people who would say, “What, you mean Ireland?” And now everyone says, “Oh, I’m going there,” or “My neighbor goes,” or “I want to go.” It is much more in people’s consciousness.
Immediately after the volcanic eruption in 2010, there was the launch of the “Inspiration from Iceland” campaign to promote tourism. I read that more than a quarter of the Icelandic adult population participated in it.
Well, everyone was supposed to tell all their friends to come to Iceland. I certainly did, and plenty of other people did, too. There have been some genius campaigns, many with important core messages about sustainability, such as Icelandic pledge, a commitment to responsible travel that anyone can do online. I think travelers want to know about the countries we visit and what we can do to give back, but sometimes we don’t know how to access that information. The Icelandic pledge is a good way to remind people to be kind to nature and to make sure you have a travel plan in case something should happen.
I was struck by one component of the pledge that said, “I will take pictures to die for, without being to die for.” I guess people forget themselves sometimes?
Here we have hot springs with really hot water. We have active volcanoes. we’ve got sneaker waves On the beaches we have strong winds. We somehow think we’re undefeated when we’re on vacation, but we still have to use common sense.
You write in your book that one of the best ways for visitors to get to know Icelanders is to hang out in a hot tub in a geothermal pool. why is that?
They say if you want to meet a Brit, go to a pub; If you want to meet a French person, go to a café. And certainly here in Iceland you go to the pool, because that’s where you can meet people – in the morning, afternoon or evening. And I recommend that visitors try different swimming pools, because each one has its own character and character and you can meet different types of people. It’s clean and affordable, which is something all the locals do.
Reading your book, I felt the Icelandic community getting more diverse, but still very close-knit.
On the weekends, I had to buy a bra—which, you know, is a fun experience. I was talking to the woman who works in the store, and the woman in the changing room next to me says, “I know that voice.” And our Chief Medical Officer was — like Anthony Fauci from Iceland. And we were just laughing because it’s only in Iceland that we run into each other in a lingerie shop. Then I ran into her again at the grocery store the next day. And you just think: this is a small country.
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