First things first: “on a budget” is not a precise scientific phrase. I live in Amsterdam, which most tourists consider to be expensive. When I go to Reykjavík I am shocked by how expensive everything is. Therefore “on a budget” should be understood as “cheaper than the others”. And, let’s face it, as an author that hasn’t even published anything at all yet and spends tons of money on research books (and on non-research books…) I am poor. This article is going to make me look like a cheapskate. Good! Because when it comes to spending thousands of euros I AM a cheapskate due to not really having thousands of euros.
To prove this works (buy my book on social media guruing that will bring you $10,000…sorry, wrong guru) – we went twice so far. Four days in June 2017 cost us approximately 2/3 of what we’d spent on four WEEKS in April 2018. First time around accommodation constituted about 50% of our spending. Second time around – 80%. We stayed at the same spot in Reykjavík. So what did we do differently?
Since I first visited Iceland in 2016 I never stopped missing it, thinking about it, reading, gawking at photographs. We spent almost all of April 2017 there and it didn’t help. I am homesick for a country I never lived in.
Part I: Poland
I was originally made in Poland. I never met my biological father. My Mom raised me as well as she possibly could, but she had no influence over the ever-present homophobia. I left that country in 2006. While the LGTBQIA+ organisations grew and started to fight for our rights, so far results are rather unimpressive. I mean, it’s lovely that there are Pride parades gathering thousands of people. It’s just that they don’t really affect anyone except those who partake in them. When Husby and I visit my Polish family, because of the Polish law we are not only considered not married, we’re considered to be total strangers. We always buy extra insurance to fly us home in case there is an accident because I wouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions on behalf of my husband.
As I might have mentioned once or twice, I am (hopefully) getting close to finishing my first novel, Storytellers, historical suspense with fantasy elements set in Iceland between 1885-1920. Here’s an honest confession about my delusions…
Having read approximately 15823098 articles on writing, I was under the impression that a book is written in three drafts. The first is for the writer. The second is for beta-readers. The third is when everything gets fixed, becomes perfect, and I get my first Pulitzer Prize.
Things didn’t turn out that way.
On January 1, 2017, I started working on the first draft of the story I’ve been carrying in my head ever since I dreamt it years earlier. I vomited rather than wrote that first draft. It took me two weeks to produce roughly a hundred thousand words. At this point, I didn’t know yet where the book would be set, so I went for generic “village” and “ocean” terms. But of course, I was already starting to get obsessed with Iceland. When I read Independent People and Wasteland With Words, I realised it was the perfect setting. In fact, it seemed as if Gods created Iceland with the sole purpose of helping me write the novel.