Iceland Made Me Feel Like A Kid Again

Charlie Braunlich
January 16, 2024

Ever since I was a kid I spent my free time outdoors. 

Each summer I spent every last drop of sunlight exploring the forests in my Midwestern hometown. I spent countless hours building forts, climbing trees, building fires, and sleeping under the stars. 

I was a child of nature and the wilderness became my refuge and my sanctuary.

Being in nature did and still does speak to me. It’s my happy place.

To me, there is no greater feeling than standing in a sunny field, or on top of a mountain, or beside the ocean; I close my eyes, turn toward the sky, and am blanketed in golden warmth. 

Sometimes I can hear the mighty crescendo of the wind as it rustles through the leaves. I can’t help but smile as I realize how grateful I am to inhabit such a remarkable planet. In this moment, everything is perfect. I am one and I am home.

This is what I like to call a “pinnacle moment”

Enjoying a surreal moment at Skogafoss

A pinnacle moment refers to those few rare moments in life where you realize that everything about your current circumstance is exactly perfect.

You wouldn’t trade your position for anything. A pinnacle moment is when you realize, even if just for a split second, that you are exactly who you are supposed to be and with exactly who you are supposed to be with. 

Your specific place in the universe, across all time and space, is exactly where you are at that particular moment. A pinnacle moment is a spiritual experience. It’s a feeling of liberation and content when you have found your personal nirvana.

A pinnacle moment will look different to each person based on his or her perception of what true happiness can be. For some people it’s travel, for others it is nature, for me, it’s both.

Listening to stories atop of the glacier

Why I Chose Iceland

As soon as I learned about Under30Experiences and that they offered a trip to Iceland, I knew I had to go. 

I had always considered Iceland to be the quintessential travel destination, and it was just waiting there, taunting me to come and conquer it. Glaciers, waterfalls, cliffs, natural springs, rolling fields, volcanos, the list goes on and on. 

I couldn’t wait to explore.

Breathtaking views from my chalet

After flying to Reykjavik and driving to our lodging accommodations, I quickly learned that Iceland was as magical a place as I had imagined. 

The front porch of my small chalet had a view that will forever be imprinted on my brain; miles and miles of empty, rolling hills, mountains in the distance, gloomy skies above, and prevailing sunbeams shining through the clouds upon the moss covered lava fields.

Many Pinnacle Moments

This trip provided me with the environment to be in perfect harmony with my surroundings and there was nowhere else I’d rather be. 

Later, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to The Skógafoss waterfall. As I got closer and closer to the base of the waterfall, the first thing I noticed was the sheer power that this waterfall was generating. The force was so great it nearly blew me back! The waterfall produced a deafening thunder as the water rushed down a 200-foot free-fall. 

Standing as close as I possibly could to the waterfall, feeling the mighty strength and power it gave off while cool water sprayed over my face, I found perfect bliss.

Fighting against the force of Skogafoss

That same night, two other U30x travelers and I sat in the hot tub at the eco-friendly farm where we stayed. When we looked up we could see thousands of stars uniting to create the Milky Way. The only sound that night was of cows grazing not more than 15 yards away. 

We sat in silence as we took in the splendor.

On our last day together, the whole U30 crew got together and had a bonfire. The bonfire was a typical one, something many people have experienced. However, the circumstances made it special. 

Being in a large empty field with nothing visible except the stars, the roaring fire, and the glowing faces of my travel companions, I experienced another pinnacle moment.


There is something extraordinary about making genuine, lasting friendships through travel and adventure while sharing good food, drinks, and stories along the way. It’s hard to find the type of bonding that occurs during travel in other places, and it is no doubt something to be cherished.

The Under30Experiences Iceland trip gave me what I haven’t had in so long; constant wonderment, awe, and pinnacle moments elicited by Mother Nature herself, just as she had done when I was young.

There are always a million reasons to not do something, but every person owes it to them self to seek out happiness as often as they can. 

U30X allowed me to do that at an unbelievable magnitude.

Charlie Braunlich
Charlie Braunlich is a 24 year old thrill seeker and outdoorsman currently residing in Washington, DC. When he’s not traveling to parts unknown, Charlie enjoys hiking, photography, snowboarding and writing about himself in the third person.


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