Category Archives: Travel Stories

Iceland: the land of many layers.

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.



80 some odd days ’til it all begins

There really is always sunshine after the rain.

Uber cliché, I’m aware.  I was having a really off week for no apparent reason.  In between all of the things that weren’t working out, there were little flecks of amazingness.  Since the storm has passed, I’m able to absorb the wonderful things that have occurred and be grateful for them.

I reached out to the Digital Media Director of my school to pick her brain.  She’s young, good at what she does, and seems to be enjoying herself. Now, when I say young, I mean she graduated college when I graduated high school.  She’s only a few steps ahead of me, so I just HAD to harass her with questions of how she got to where she is. We met for coffee (we’re both addicts apparently) and had such a great conversation.

To put my life into perspective: I’m graduating college in 80 some odd days and I’m a wee bit overwhelmed by all of the possibilities in front of me.  In this regard, I’m no different from thousands of people approaching this milestone.

But I am different.

I have a lot of different types of skills and interests.  I’m also pretty passionate about communications.  I believe in the power of words, tone, messaging, branding, designing, social media, REAL LIFE social networking etc. I’m in awe of it, really.  People blow my mind every day.  There are too many stories to hear and to tell.  I’m just excited about life and often times, I feel like I’m one of the few who realize just how exciting this really is.

The coffee date was great.  She gave me a ton of advice and some serious affirmation.  I guess I needed the confidence boost from someone who knows me but doesn’t deeply know me.  It’s just different when you hear kind words and praise from people outside of your family (hi mom….and grandma). She also said two things that make SO MUCH SENSE.

1)      This is just not the work environment that your parents worked in.  I’ll be lucky if I’m with a company (that isn’t my own) for more than a decade.  Our generation just doesn’t DO that.  It’s normal and almost forced to have several jobs.

2)      The internet is more miraculous than you realize.  You can do…or connect…with just about anyone.  It’s also a place where you can formulate ideas and sell them.  SELL THEM!  There are so many things I can do that I can sell from my adorable, outdated HP while I find 18 other means of income (at once).

And then, life tapped me on the shoulder at my favorite place around my campus.  I was having lunch with my roommate when we over heard a woman talking to a man about how she “couldn’t believe they graduated from my school seven years ago…”

At that moment, I realized I was looking at my future self.  I shamelessly looked at her, interrupted her conversation and admitted that I was graduating in 80 some odd days and I was freaking out.  I couldn’t imagine what life would be like a year from now, let alone seven.

She told me beautiful things such as: take a break from education, finding what you don’t like is important too, and you can do anything with a little drive.  She proceeded to tell me all that she had been involved in.  Home girl dabbled in a bit of everything, kind of like myself.  She explained that she got bit by the travel bug and never wanted to give it up.  I didn’t get her life story, but I got enough to be completely inspired by who she is.  She was just so damn relateable and driven.  She has since turned her love for traveling and her skills in broadcasting and created her own, online social network of travelers.

Speaking with these two women really inspired me and calmed my anxiety.  I really think I’m going to take the uncharacteristic step after graduation and follow my heart.  This is about to be the best 80 some odd days and I can’t wait.

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Wawas, alpacas, and potatoes…oh my!

  • Dipping my toes into the Pacific Ocean—check
  • Seeing Machu Picchu (1/7 of the New World Wonders)–check
  • Seeing the Andes Mountains–check
  • Visit all 7 continents–3/7 so far!

Like most people, I have a running bucket list of things I want to do with my life.  Fortunately, I was able to check off some items over my winter break.  I traveled to Peru with a group of 12 people for a week.  Three of the twelve (myself included) are current students at my school and three are Alumni (one of which works at my school). That was cool because they would share stories of what they did in college.

SO PERU! Ay Dios..what to say.  The country was nothing of what I expected. The scenery was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  Mountains surrounding you with terraces every where you look.  Each morning it was foggy until…like 1pm.  Watching the fog lift from those mountains was awesome because I felt as if the fog was all around me.

What I got most out of this trip was the love of connection.  Connecting with my group was incredible.  I knew a few of the people on the trip from my previous trip to Egypt.  Learning about and with everyone though was so cool.  Such great conversation took place.  Other than that, however, I really enjoyed interacting with the Peruvian people.  I was able to put five years of spanish to work (only by talking to children–too nervous to speak to adults haha). I believe the best way to practice another language is to speak to children, because they are essentially learning it as well.  They speak with you with no judgement.  The only downside is it is creepy to speak to little children which you don’t know.  Oh well, when in Peru…

We saw a ton of things.  We took tours in Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.  While on Lake Titicaca we stopped by the Floating Islands and Taquile Island.  That day was my favorite.  We learned of the cultures occupying both places.  These are people that live off of what is around them and are deeply rooted in family.  In fact, the whole country is like that.  The people of Peru take a lot of pride in what they make, in their knowledge of nature, and in their families.  Such beautiful values and ideals.

Some great highlights of the trip include removing a splinter from a strangers foot, a vicuña rolling around on my friends backpack, running around the Incan City of Machu Picchu to get the “postcard shot”, dancing to JT in the car after a few pisco sours and a water show, and finally figuring out how to get to the beach with the help of my new 7 year old friend. I’ll include more in-depth posts about specific locations and experiences so as to not have an 18 page post :]

Check out some photos here!

Until next time,
Miss Enlund ;]

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