Dario in Iceland
I have been in Iceland since the 2nd of April and I am gonna leave on the 1st of October 2014. I am in Iceland thanks to Seeds and this organization chose me as workcamp leader, it means I lead usually a group of volunteers from all over the world worldwide in different types of projects around Iceland for a period of two weeks.
I wanted to experience Iceland for a long period and giving my help to an NGO is a great reason to do it. My workcamps took place especially around Reykjavik, because we are several workcamp leaders so you are assigned randomly to each workcamp, but I was close to Egilsstaðir in the East of Iceland and I am going to lead my next workcamps in the Mývatn area and Skagafjörður in the North.
I am volunteering since I am 16 and after 13 years I feel that it is a way of living, a way of thinking our surroundings in different ways. Do something for somebody, for the community because you feel to do so, because you are happy to give your help; it’s the opposite way of living our crazy society that is based on money and power.
Volunteering is getting a smile back from the others. That's your prize.
I chose Iceland because is one of the wildest and complex places in Europe and so unique all over the world. Why complex and unique? It is a land of continuous changes in time and in the space that inspired all type of travellers. Iceland has an inscrutable soul that has to be just discovered. Feeling the smell of the flowers and grass that they take you during the trails from the Westfjords to the South; they create a colourful soundtrack in the portrait that the nature has painted to fill our soul up of unforgettable emotions. You create stories and legends spending your time in Iceland with ones that you heard from the natives. A special one, a bishop told me after his speech about God that he has a strong belief in elves and trolls. They are alive for him and he told me why, but that’s another story...
My best time is always the next I am going to live, but of course my first workcamp was in the East and driving all my new volunteers in places that I had never seen before was so exciting for me. Then the sunny East with a lot of woods was amazing.I had a great experience with two of my volunteers. One from Korea who had drawn my portrait on my diary during his free time and we exchanged a lot of ideas and ways of thinking. On the other hand, there was a Spanish one with who I spent a lot of time and he really lived my crazy way of living and thinking. He just trusted me and I took him in many secret and not so touristic places hitchhiking and hiking along gravel roads with his go pro camera and my funny and smiley face. Soon there will be a movie about that on my blog.
I really enjoyed the time in here because I have had the chance to go around on my own discovering people and places. Building the stages over night during the Secrete Solstice festival and in Hornstrandir where I spent one of my best days in Iceland so far.
I remember when I was driving with my volunteers to Hengifoss. It was a crazy day. The van didn't work properly, so we were really late and on the way to the gas station we saw some reindeers and swans but it was late and we didn't stop, then in the gas station the van didn't work again and I asked a guy to recharge the battery and after a long time it worked. After that, we went to Hengifoss, but we assumed that we had been waiting a necessary time to recharge the battery so I told my volunteers to hike until Hengifoss and in the meantime I was going to wait with the car switched on to recharge the battery. After 40 minutes, it supposed to be recharged so I switched off and I reached them. When I was half way to the waterfall, I found them close to the river. Half bridge on the river was overlapped from the water so they were thinking how to cross it. I suggested walking barefoot with my help. They didn't want to risk even if I was stopping in the middle of the river that was 3 metres wide. Just the Korean tried and I took him to the waterfall with an unforgettable way and view from there. Then we tried to go to the hot pot close to a hot spring on the way to the mountain Snæfell, but we found again on half way metres of snow and ice in the road so we had to go back... We laughed a lot during the dinner about how unlucky we were, at the end our sense of humour turned our day into a great one, looking at the misadventures from the funny side, we were together and it was enough.
My best adventure of all was a trip to Hornstrandir. Since I left Reykjavik it was great adventure. I cannot describe how amazing everything was but there is a wonderful anecdote about my ride to Ísafjörður from Hólmavík. I had been waiting outside Hólmavík for two hours for my ride. I usually hitchhike so I didn't really mind how much time I was standing over there. But after 3 hours you are a bit bored and under the rain you easily get cold. It was five in the afternoon and one guy stopped his car, but he was going in the opposite direction and he told me: "wait for me here, I have to do something in Hólmavík then I will take you where you need". I could answer back just ok with all my teeth out for my smile. After 30 min he was there and he told me that he wanted to show me many things before arriving in Ísafjörður. I said "yes, why not". And he started to describe all landscapes, the storyline, the legends. Then we went to his 100 year-old grandparents’ house and he introduced me inside and described everything and started telling stories. The house was on the coast as the parent's one 10 km away from the last and he introduced me to his parents and I had dinner with them. Amazing. I took just fruits because I am vegan, but I really appreciated it. Then we stopped at a place to watch whales and then seals and then I was so grateful to him that I left him with tears in my eyes. Best experience in Iceland. His name is Orri.
This article was written by Celia Haro Ruiz for Eurodesk Iceland