Have you ever made a really quick, possibly financially foolish decision in under a minute? When that happens you immediately try to come up with any and every excuse to justify your choice. I made the decision to go to Iceland on an absolute whim. I didn’t know anyone that was going, the trip was scheduled the week before my spring break, I couldn’t convince my friends to go, and the trip was smack in the middle of an over-packed semester.
So here it was, a great opportunity to go to Iceland (with AIGA members) in the name of design while also partaking in other incredible and unique Icelandic experiences and all arrows pointed in the direction don’t go.
In under a minute I decided that for all of those reasons, I should go. This was a huge networking opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up, especially with graduation around the corner.
The adventure began with an overnight flight to Iceland. Once there, the entire group partook in tired introductions and we were shuffled off to breakfast. The restaurant wasn’t typically open at that hour, but a favor was called in for our group. This happened several times throughout the trip. The perk of a really small country is that just about anything you need is a phone call away.
At breakfast, we were briefed on what the week would look like, how the design conference would fit into the schedule and how often we’d squeeze in a soak in the geo-thermal pools.
It was a whirlwind of a week. Each day we woke up early, donned many layers (Iceland’s weather changes every 5 minutes), equipped ourselves with lots of camera gear, and were on our way. We soaked in three geo-thermal pools, Blue Lagoon, the (not-so) secret Lagoon, and a city pool. We visited sustainable farms and greenhouses in which we had the most delicious food, drinks, and treats. We hunted the Northern Lights and found them. We walked on black sand beaches, weaved in and out of old-style homes, ATV’d through lava fields, bar/design crawled through Reykjavik, gushed over design, and learned about each other. We had lots of laughs and lots of incredible food. Every turn we took, Iceland became more beautiful. The people of Iceland are welcoming and kind. It was an absolute pleasure to learn about their life and their perspective of the world and design.
This trip was beyond needed. Getting out of New York and meeting new people that have been practicing design for years in a multitude of settings was reaffirming. Graduate school is challenging and it makes you question all you know about yourself and what you’re doing. It makes you unsure of your future and who you’ll be. But this experience wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my choice to pursue this field. I’m glad I went, even though it might seem like a foolish choice to most. I met incredible people and saw the most beautiful things with them. This trip gave me perspective on a lot of things in regards to design, and I’ll be forever grateful.