Why I Loved Traveling Slowly through Iceland this Fall

Jennifer DeSimone
January 16, 2024

I recently came across Oneika the Traveller’s blog post on fast travel

The article hits on the topic of travel snobbery and how fast travel – or “short, hectic trips” is superior to slow travel.

As I wrapped up my 35th day trip in Iceland, I got to thinking about the power of both kinds of travel.

I wouldn’t say one is necessarily better than the other, but I will say there is an unstated beauty going deep in a place, in making friends, in going back to the same spot to savor the most delicious bowl of soup you’ve ever had.

Since the American culture thrives on being busy, it's no surprise there is a race to collect the most passport stamps in a week. But there is a part of me that appreciates the attention to detail that slow travel provides.

While I am among the fortunate few whose job allows them to be in one location for a longer period of time, slow travel is my style of choice.

Here’s what I loved about traveling slowly in Iceland...

1. Changes in sunlight

Harpa during a pink sunset

My most favorite building in the world is the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. 

I love photographing it. 

A lifelong, cherished moment was staring at this beauty reflecting pink and purple during a stunning sunset.

Being able to witness the building in various sunlight is something I am so grateful to have witnessed.

2. Environmental changes 

Hiking up the glacier tunnel

I hiked Sólheimajökull glacier four times in four weeks. 

You know what I learned: the glacier is a living being that is greatly being affected by environmental changes. 

I saw the glacier turn blue over the course of the month. I stood in an ice cave one week and by the third week it was gone.  

That is an experience I will never forget.

3. Developing friendships

Hanging out with the guys of Reykjavik Insider after going "fishing"

I also got to spend time with my new friends Andri, Petur and the guys behind Reykjavik Insider, all of whom are locals and have incredible stories of perseverance and what it is like to live in Iceland. 

I've asked them every kind question: from perspectives on tourism, to conservation, to Tinder dating. 

I was able to invest in relationships. I've learned so much about Iceland and her people through people who live here and that has been more rewarding than reading some facts on Google.

 4. Seeing the northern lights

My first northern lights

Weather is one thing you can never control while traveling and Iceland is notorious for crazy weather patterns which affects Northern Light viewings.

The longer time frame in Iceland let me not stress out as much about seeing them and while I only saw them three times, they are each moments that I will forever remember as one of the best experiences of my life.

Travel Slowly

Even if you only have one week to travel, slow it down a couple of notches. 

You may find the depth of your experience trumps the number of passport stamps you can collect in 7 days.

Jennifer DeSimone
Currently based in Austin, Jennifer is the Chief of Community for U30X. She has a passion for creating connections, community, and opportunities for more empathy. In her spare time you can find her on her yoga mat, whipping up something yummy in the kitchen, or reading a good book.


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