The Greatest Adventure I Was Almost Too Scared to Take: Iceland with Outdoorsy Gals
I traveled to Iceland with Outdoorsy Gals…here’s how it happened.
After nearly 2 years of living through unprecedented times, lockdowns, flight bans, and all of the coronavirus chaos, I was severely desperate for some new experiences and thrills.
I love my friends to death but when it comes to vacations I am the black sheep of the group. They tend to prefer shopping sprees, spa days, and an overall relaxing vibe. Meanwhile, I’m on the complete opposite side of the spectrum searching for the next remote outdoor destination, pushing my boundaries, and diving headfirst into activities that get my heart and adrenaline pumping even if that means I’ll be spending some of my vacations being physically uncomfortable.
I’ve always loved traveling solo but after spending most of my time alone during the coronavirus lockdowns, I was itching to find a community of like-minded women that also loved adventure and the outdoors.
I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I spend way too much of my time on my phone and social media, however, if it wasn’t for a scary accurate algorithm and a mindless scroll through my ‘For You Page’ I wouldn’t have come across the TikTok and creator that would lead me to one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Outdoorsy Gals founded by Lindsay Stevens (@lindzoutside) in 2020, is a community of over 100K+ badass women who love the outdoors and are looking for an opportunity to connect, travel, and explore all while making friends along the way.
So naturally, I went into complete stalker mode and immediately started to follow Outdoorsy Gals and Lindsay on all social media platforms; TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram hoping to make a connection. Then in June 2021, I saw a post that SCREAMED my name:
“Travel to Iceland with Outdoorsy Gals!”
Immediate yes, I was going to go on this trip and would do all that I could to make it happen. There were only 15 spots available and demand was expected to be high. I set multiple alarms and followed updates on social media closely. When the trip opened up it immediately sold out in less than 3 minutes and even with all of my preparation I didn’t make the cut. Luckily, Outdoorsy Gals announced that they were putting on the 2nd trip to Iceland and I was lucky enough to land myself a spot. I was going to Iceland in February 2021 and finally had a new adventure to look forward to.
Now, you may be thinking I must be a very extroverted person to travel with total strangers from the internet but that’s not at all me. It usually takes me a bit of time to open up and be myself around new people and with the trip only being 8 days long I was worried that it wouldn’t be enough time. It wasn’t until mid-January of 2022 that I began feeling extremely anxious and nervous about the upcoming trip. Between budgeting for travel expenses, buying new gear to keep me warm against Iceland’s unpredictable winter weather, and the thought of traveling with 14 strangers had my anxiety at an all-time high. At this point, the group had only swapped a few introductory messages in a chat and although everyone was beyond friendly and cool, I couldn’t get out of my own head and was still feeling extremely nervous. Days leading up to my flight I had to repeatedly talk myself out of canceling and bailing on the whole experience.
Who do I think I am….Why did I sign up for this?
What’s the worst that could happen, right? Just get on the plane and don’t turn back…
After some insane turbulence, my plane finally touches down in Reykjavik. It’s all hitting me now, my nerves slowly turn into excitement as I keep reminding myself that 95% of life is confidence and the best thing about confidence is that no one knows if it’s real or not. Or as some like to say, “just fake it till you make it”.
Meeting the other Gals at the airport was initially a very awkward experience consisting of jet-lagged brain fog and small talk. Slowly, I began to pick up that I’m not the only one who may be nervous about this experience which immediately made me feel a little more at ease. We then jumped in our van transferring us to our first destination.
With the possibility of the Northern Lights shimmering in the night sky, glaciers, and mountain vistas, our trip itinerary was jam-packed allowing us to experience some of Iceland’s most remarkable features and unforgiving weather. We crossed glaciers, hiked along the coast, nearly got blown off the top of a crater, dipped our feet into the freezing North Atlantic Ocean, relaxed and soaked in the naturally heated Blue Lagoon, survived what I like to call “Hurricane Blizzards”, saw jaw-dropping waterfalls, visited a very ‘interesting’ museum, ate one too many cinnamon rolls, spent a couple of nights at the most incredibly quaint family-owned horse farm, witnessed the Northern Lights, celebrated a birthday, sang karaoke, danced the night away, and visited what seemed like every gas station in Iceland, all while fighting motion sickness and hysterically laughing ourselves to tears the entire time (at some point we even began to rebrand ourselves as the ‘Giggly Gals’).
I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a very emotional person and I tend to mask all my feelings with humor but as the trip was coming to an end an overwhelming amount of sadness hit me out of nowhere. I struggled to keep a smile and hold back my tears. First, we said a very sad goodbye to our outstanding tour guide who we called Mama Margaret. I’m pretty sure I saw her shed a tear even though her tough Icelandic exterior would probably deny it. Then after the last night out roaming the streets of Reykjavik, we all said our goodbyes while simultaneously gathering ideas for a reunion and next group trip.
We may have all started off as strangers but we came out of this trip as lifelong friends. This experience forced us to accelerate our relationships and I feel as though I’ve known each of the Gals a lifetime after only a little over a week and countless shared memories. Our bond was formed over moments that friends back home will never get to experience and probably struggle to comprehend.
When we eventually meet up again in some far corner of the world or when we message the group chat on a busy workday, all of our stories will start with “remember that time in Iceland when….Tina almost accidentally yeeted herself off a mountain?”
I’m truly so thankful to Outdoorsy Gals for hosting this trip and allowing me to experience one of the greatest adventures I was almost too scared to take.
If you are interested in learning more, meet-ups are happening globally through the Outdoorsy Gals Facebook group. Join or plan your own meetup to get involved!
8 Day Trip Itinerary:
**Crossed-out activities were unfortunately canceled due to the unforgiving Icelandic winter weather (a.k.a. Hurricane Blizzards) and road closures.
Thingvellir National Park Tour Gullfoss Waterfall Visit Geysir Visit
- Northern Lights Spotting
- Southern Island Exploration
- Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Laki Lava Fields Drive
- 2.3-mile Skaftafell Glacier National Park Hike
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Visit
Hraunfossar & Barnafoss Waterfalls Visit Krauma Geothermal Baths
- Snaefellsjokull Glacier Sightsee
- Arnastapi Coastal Walk
- Djupalonssandur (Black Lava Pearl Beach) Visit
- Crater Hike
- Kirkjufell (Arrowhead Mountain)
- Grundarfjordur Village Visit
- Blue Lagoon
Author: Outdoorsy Gals contributor Amber Hamad / ambersadventues.com
Amber Hamad is a twenty-something-year-old in the midst of a never-ending love affair with the outdoors and travel. She was raised right outside Phoenix, in the beautiful desert mountain state of Arizona but is now currently based out of Detroit, Michigan (which she also adores). If she’s not getting work done as a Project Manager, you can almost always find her outside camping, hiking, snowboarding, longboarding, rock climbing, at a concert, playing her guitar, road-tripping in her Jeep, or working on her website ambersadventues.com. She aspires to one day lie down and relax but somehow keeps getting herself into more and more hobbies that get in the way of her lying down.
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