After staying in Tampa nearly one week, I finally arrived at this place, a place I thought it was covered by ice and so cold that hardly to find people to travel here. But it is not the truth. There are so many tourists come to visit Iceland or set the Iceland as their first stop for European trip. The landscape here is so broad and wild. Plenty of land without any buildings or people. Long, long grasslands and very cloudy. Empty and fresh. Iceland has super strong wind that probably can blow me up or down. I couldn’t sleep well this week because the wind at the night was so crazy.
I met a Germany girl and she is also doing volunteer in eco-village. She spent whole night in airport just for waiting me (really appreciate it). She is so nice and friendly. We took the bus to get to the village and because of her, I had my first experience to hitchhiking in Iceland. Hitchhiking is so popular in Iceland that tourists always get a ride for their trip to save money. The weather last Friday was so so so nice, compared with recent windy, wet and rainy days.
I live with other volunteers/interns and we share the living room, and a super small kitchen. Each person has their own private room and bathroom. People plant herbs in living room that can just pick up for cooking or tea. We can buy vegetables and other stuffs from the store in this village. The things in this store are almost organic and green products that purposely selected by the staff. Each volunteers/interns has their own credits that they can shop in this store and do not pay anything until they use all of the credits. Volunteers/interns have to work at bakery, kitchen, sustainability center, greenhouse with community people from Monday to Friday. We only have day off on weekends. Those works are real physical work. I did guesthouse and bakery this week. I did the cleaning and all the laundry for guesthouse from Wednesday to Friday. Also, I helped bakery on Thursday, a lot of washing, packing and cleaning. So tired.
But they also have internship program that almost for students from all over the world, studying and living in this community and they also have tours around the Iceland. You can find more about CELL Program through this link: http://www.cellonline.org/programs/study-abroad-program/
It is a community and claims to connect with locals and people in community. But they are also careful about the negative impacts on those home-people and disabled people. So the office staffs told us to keep a certain distance to the people in community. The unique thing in this eco-village compared with others is its social aspect, the powerful connection between community. They always put the benefits of those home-people and disabled people at the first place.
Every morning, there is a morning meeting that all the people stand as a circle, hold the hands and sing the song together. It is really powerful for me when I did first one on Tuesday. You can feel the power and warm through your body. Really touching.That’s the traditional habit in this community to connect with people. Recently I start to realize why they prefer the interns/volunteers staying longer in this village, because the longer you stay, the deeper you may connect with community. It needs the time to know those people and truly feel the spirit of this eco-village.
European did really good on recycling. Those strict recycling process in daily life kind of makes me crazy at the first time. So clear and so specific.
The really interesting thing I found from recent days is people still do not care about the resources, especially for those guests/visitors. Waste is still common during their stay, even thought they are living in this sustainable community. Of course, everyone cannot be purely sustainable, same as me. We all have those “lazy” days or moments. But renewable resources do not mean we can keep wasting. This village probably needs more tags or labels to remind visitors.
Iceland gives me a great opportunity to think about the next things I want to do. Also, a good chance for me to learn from others and re-think about myself. It is so so so hard in China to find a place that no one in the road. Enjoying the empty. I was standing in middle of the road during a raining day, breathed the fresh and pure air, talked with horses even though they did not understand me, or maybe they understood me.
Friday night, I had the first chance in my life to see the Northern Lights. It was so beautiful and magic. Those green lights danced in the sky and changes quickly. I tried to catch those moments and want to share with others, but it’s so hard through camera.
The second weekend, two friends and I rent a car and we drove to Vik, the south town in the Iceland. We spent an awesome weekend. We did some hiking and saw so many pure and beautiful views in Iceland.
Iceland is an incredible place that people here respect Nature. It is also the safest country that travelers and backpackers always hitchhiking to their destinations.