My greatest wish is to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. As of right now, we live in an apartment near the centre of Amsterdam. Every now and then I need an escape, and this time we went to a holiday island – Terschelling.

The Netherlands is a small country with more people than necessary space, and that’s before the tourists descend. It’s also a flat country. Literally. It has no mountains (although a friend of mine once had a really large zit and it got officially registered as Holland’s tallest peak at 2.3 mm). Amsterdam is obviously the worst place for a lover of nature, space, and silence. The holiday islands are exactly what they say they are – 99% of their income comes from tourism. Luckily, we went a week after the school holidays ended, which made me the youngest person around with the exception of people who live and work on Terschelling. Nobody blasted loud music. I only had to pick up other people’s litter once. It was rather fabulous…

 

Saturday

It turns out that the change from living near the centre of Amsterdam to this place is brutal. I am not used to silence. Actual, near-complete silence, interrupted only by the sounds of rain and hail, birds’ mating call, and one rather insistent duck attempting to join us inside. We don’t let the duck in. My head is super-confused. I’ve been ready to go to sleep from about 7pm (when it was still completely light outside), because the only times when I experience actual silence are when I go to bed with earplugs in.

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I am currently spending some time at my family home, with mom and brothers (and husby, of course). And…I have no motivation to write. AT ALL.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal. But since I started on Storytellers on Jan 1st, 2017 I haven’t stopped writing for longer than 2-3 days when my health issues made it impossible. This is my first actual “vacation” from writing in two years. Brain’s all like “we are on holiday, bugger off, I refuse to do gramer en spelink”.

I forgot how it feels to actually take some rest. I always told people writing relaxes me. Which it does, but perhaps after two years of going nearly non-stop a week off might be a good idea…? It’s not burnout, although had I gone at this pace further I might have reached one. Brain is just not interested. There’s snow, there’s my mom’s food, my brother’s kids (send help – 7-year-old twin boys), a new tattoo tomorrow. Even when we were in Iceland I kept writing, in fact being there gave me extra motivation. Right now? Nope. I do absolutely nothing useful, don’t bother getting dressed before noon, eat tons of sweets. (Note to self: you WILL do extra workouts when you come back home.) I don’t even read anything more serious than music magazines.

Do you find it easy to take an actual break? A real holiday without either feeling guilty about not doing Things And Stuff? I’m new to this and need pointers…

In the first instalment of “How to go to Iceland on a budget” I covered flights, accomodation, food, drink (as in water), timing, and Golden Circle. What else can I add?

 

Don’t assume Iceland = Reykjavík and Blue Lagoon

For our 2019 outing, assuming someone does buy my kidney on eBay soon, we’re planning to go to the surroundings of Akureyri, somewhere around October. Akureyri is the second largest town in Iceland with population of 18 thousand people. (This is not a typo.) But let’s take this a bit further. We don’t intend to actually stay in Akureyri. There are beautiful – and even cheaper – places very near the town itself. And Iceland is being, you know, Iceland everywhere. The gorgeous spots haven’t been all placed around Reykjavík. Another plus side, at least for me, is that the…density of tourists is going to be smaller.

The prices of accomodation in Akureyri are on average half of what you pay for the same length of stay during the same time of year in Reykjavík. You could, of course, go even more remote. But the plus side of Akureyri is that you can fly there from Reykjavík. The flight takes 45 minutes. And nothing stops you from going to Reykjavík for three days, doing a bus coach tour around the main Golden Circle attractions, then spending two weeks in Akureyri. Or really anywhere…

I don’t have my own photos from other parts of Iceland yet, so the one on top is from, yes, Golden Circle – lazy bird’s view on Thingvellir to be precise. Because the first time we went we, too, thought that Iceland consisted only of one place.

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