I Blame It On The Jet Lag

Hiking in Iceland

Hello from the magical purple fields of Iceland!

The Viking and I made it back to his homeland over the weekend and after sleeping for over 14 hours we are feeling somewhat normal and getting back into the swing of life in Iceland. We didn’t get up to much this weekend but we did enjoy a lovely dinner with some of my friends and a quick hike which has helped take the sting out of the hard goodbye I had to say to my family.

I know every trip at some point has to come to an end but I really did not want my time at home with my family to ever end. Our time back in Oregon this summer was wonderful, one of those trips that I will look back on for years and just smile. The goodbye with my family this past weekend, that was rough. Like I ugly cried at the airport kinda rough.

Now that I have had a few days to sleep off my jet lag and get used to not being back home with my family I am on a mission this week to shake myself out of my funk and jump right back into life in Iceland. The fact that I am sitting outside in a tank top writing this post helps. Dear Icelandic weather please keep staying nice!

Hiking in Iceland

H and I have the next week off before we have to head back to work and we are taking full advantage of our time with lots of adventures around Iceland planned. Between Oregon, Hawaii, and our upcoming Iceland trips I have lots to share with you all so get ready for tons of recap posts to head your way.

For now my goal is to get myself back into routine, catch up on blog stuff, and shake off the last of these homesick blues before I have to start work next week. I know these feelings are normal and all part of expat life, but gosh why can’t I just pack up everyone and bring them with me?! Until I can figure that out I am just going to take things one day at a time and focus on the positive things around me.

Hiking in Iceland

So this post really doesn’t have a point other than to tell you I am back in Iceland, I had a really hard time saying goodbye to my family and miss them dearly, and to share some pretty pictures of the hike I did this morning.

Oh well, its Monday and I blame it on the jet lag. Next time I will try and be more coherent when I come to write a post. Until then enjoy some pictures of the beautiful hike the Viking and I did this morning.

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Nothing like some fresh air and time with beautiful nature to kick off a Monday! Best part about this new to us hike, it was less than ten minutes from our house! It seems like the Icelandic nature really came to life while we were in Oregon so I am looking forward to more Icelandic summer fun this next week. No better way to get out of a funk than to explore the area around you right?!

And with that I am off to do some more exploring, and probably sleeping, jet lag is still getting to me:) Have a great week everyone!

Question of the Day?
How do you deal with jet lag? What is your favorite way to spend a sunny summer day?

The Best Lessons Iceland Taught Me (By Casey!!!)

iceland taught meHi Unlocking Kiki readers! I’m Casey from Land of Marvels guest posting here today and I’m so excited to be here with you! I blog about my passion for travel, sharing travel tips as I venture through the world and offering an honest truth about travel that isn’t always so glamorous. But at the end of the day, the reason I blog is to share the incredible places I’ve seen in the world, of which that list is growing each year and I’m always on the look out for the next amazing place to visit.

I’ve seen a lot of the world over the years but Iceland is one of those spots that has changed me deeply, taught me more lessons than most places I’ve visited and has quite literally taken my breath away on numerous occasions. In my two trips to this amazing island, I’ve learned countless lessons and if Iceland isn’t on your travel list, it needs to be. Iceland has taught me so much but when I stop and think about it, here are the best lessons I’ve learned in this amazing country and how it truly has changed my life.

1. Embrace a little bit of magic.

Iceland is famous for their superstitions. Whether it’s the stories you’ll hear all over about elves and trolls or the constant “elf house” rock structures you’ll see all over the island, Iceland is all about its magic. And honestly, after experiencing the country myself, I can see why. When you’re standing out in the middle of no where in an incredibly beautiful spot, when the wind blows and howls through the canyons or the clouds sweep across the sky and no one else is around for miles, you can see where the stories started. The land seems to come alive. What Iceland has taught me is to embrace a little bit of magic in your life. What’s the harm in feeling like the Earth is coming alive beneath your feet or little elves are building houses throughout the countryside? In Iceland it’s all very real.

magic

2. We are so insignificant in the scope of our world.

When you stand in the middle of no where in Iceland, without another human for miles, you quickly realize how small we are in the scope of our planet. At the base of some of Europe’s biggest waterfalls or in a sweeping valley with giant snow capped mountains on either side of you, it’s very normal to feel small and insignificant and that’s ok. We need to realize that nature is so much bigger than us and so much more powerful.

insificant

3. And yet so connected at the same time.

Even though Iceland makes you feel so insignificant at times, it also makes you feel incredibly connected to the planet in a way I’ve never felt anywhere else. Whether standing above the Waterfall of the Gods in the North or at the Western tip of the Snæfellsnes peninsula looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland has a way of making you feel like you belong to this planet. I’ve never had this feeling quite the same way as I do in Iceland and it’s taught me to never take for granted the natural beauty of our world.

connected

4. Our planet is so beautiful and yet so under appreciated.

So often we travel to experience cities and famous places around the world like Paris or Rome or Tokyo, that we forget how incredibly beautiful our natural world is. We live on a truly beautiful planet, with natural beauty beyond our imaginations and yet we take that for granted. Iceland taught me to look around all the time to see the natural beauty of our planet, to appreciate what an amazing place this is that we call home and to savor it.

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5. Nothing is more important than protecting our Earth.

Iceland does such an amazing job at living sustainably that we should all be learning from them. And when you see the incredible natural beauty that Iceland holds you understand why we need to protect this Earth we call home. Nothing is more important than protecting this planet we live on, living sustainably and respectfully.

protecting

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I had the chance to meet Casey when she was in Iceland in May and loved talking about all the beautiful places in Iceland together. For more beautiful photography and awesome posts head over to Casey’s blog!

Home Sweet Home

Oregon Blue Pool

A few months ago I spent several weeks stressing over my summer travel plans. To go home or not to go home, that was the big question. Finally I made a decision that I wanted to head home for the summer, and now with our trip to Oregon coming to an end I can say 110% I made the best decision coming home for the summer.

These past few weeks have been filled with so many wonderful moments. From laughing with my family in the backyard to taking the Viking exploring around Oregon I really could not have asked for a better trip back home.

Pool time in Oregon

With our last few days in Oregon quickly flying by I can feel myself start to feel a bit of anxiety of all the things I have left to do, the people I need to see and places I want to go before heading back to Iceland.

Just the thought of having to say goodbye to my family in a few days makes me tear up and I don’t even want to think about the emotions that come with not knowing when I will see them again.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and this trip home this summer, it has been more than a good thing.

Oregon River

When I came home over Christmas I really let all of those “end of trip” emotions get the best of me, I was so stressed that it really took away from me just enjoying the time I had with my family. So this time around I have a goal for myself for these last few days, focus on being in the moment and deal with the rest later. Not everything is going to get done, but that is fine, I am going to enjoy every minute I have left.

And now that I have written it down I have to stick to it right?? We will see how this goes, hot mess express Kaelene is definitely going to come out when we say goodbye I just know it. Azora gets the hot mess express look, she has it nailed.

Azora on the beach

I have so much to share from these past few weeks but that is for another time. For now here is a little photo diary with what the Viking and I have gotten up to in Oregon this past week.

A beautiful sunny day spent at the Oregon Coast with my pups
Oregon CoastOregon Coast

Wine tasting at the cutest vineyard with my parents
Winery in Oregon

Boating around one of the prettiest little lakes
Clear Lake, OregonClear Lake, Oregon

We quickly learned that I am terrible at rowing a boat
Clear Lake, Oregon

Hiked back to Oregon’s Blue Pool
Oregon Blue Pool

Camped out in the Oregon woods
Camping in Oregon

And dined under the stars
Camping in Oregon

Evenings spent swimming at the river
Oregon River

And lots and lots of time with my amazing family
Family time

We may only have two days left but we still have lots of fun activities on the schedule, including our skydiving adventure ahh!!!

That is all for now, times to go enjoy this crazy fun family of mine. Hope you are all enjoying your summer, looking forward to catching up once I am back in Iceland.

Question of the Day?
What is your favorite summertime activity?

Hiking in Hawaii

Hey there!

H and I are back in Oregon after an amazing trip to Hawaii and are soaking up more sun and family time before heading back to Iceland. I didn’t inform my Viking of this but as soon as we got back to Oregon I made him pack back up for a camping adventure so currently we are off exploring around Oregon so I can show H around my backyard.

While H and I are off hiking around in the Oregon wilderness how about some pretty pictures from our Hawaii trip?! To start lets talk about hiking, one of my favorite activities, and the two hikes H and I did in Hawaii that you must add to your list!

Koko Crater Trail

Koko Head Crater Trail

Once a railway track used to haul supplies to World War II military bunkers at the top, Koko Crater Trail is now a difficult, but beautiful hiking trail on Oahu. H and I headed out to tackle the 1,048 steps to the top with me feeling terrified about the steep trail and H being beyond excited to tackle it.

Koko Crater Trail Koko Crater Trail

The hike takes you up the old railway track which at times is completely terrifying. At one point you have to hop from one track to the next with nothing but air underneath you! H had to hold my hand for that part.

The hike is thankfully not long, it took us about 20 minutes with a few breaks, but those steps, you feel the burn!

Koko Head Trail

Here is a little photo collage to fully capture how I was feeling halfway into this hike.

Koko Crater Trail

And this is how H was feeling about the hike.

Koko Crater Trail

Yes, he can be (VERY) annoying with his incredible endurance on our hikes. I have him to thank though for motivating me to get up to the top. The views, they were oh so worth those painful 20 minutes!

Koko Crater Trail Koko Crater Trail Koko Crater Trail Koko Crater Trail

Beautiful right?

This hike was H’s favorite part of our trip to Hawaii it was that beautiful. My tips for anyone heading off to do this hike, make sure you go early, bring lots of water, and watch out for the bees, H got stung at the end of our hike!

Diamond Head

Located near Waikiki, Diamond Head is a popular hiking trail in Oahu that has amazing views of the Waikiki shoreline at the top. I have done this hike before but really wanted to take H on this hike. After several rainy mornings we finally woke up to clouds, but no rain, so off we headed for Diamond Head.

As I am training for the NYC marathon we thought it would be a great idea to run up to the summit at Diamond Head. The hike is less than a mile but we were huffing and puffing when we made it to the top. We got some strange looks along the way that is for sure!

This hike though is perfect for those wanting to get some great views from above but not tackle a super difficult and long hike to the top. The morning we were at Diamond Head was a bit cloudy so the pictures don’t really do the views justice. Just trust me, its a must do hike in Oahu!

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And after getting our workout in we made sure to fully recover with lazy afternoons on the beach.

Kailua Beach

Oh Hawaii, what a paradise!

Question of the Day?
Would you be up for hiking in Hawaii? Where have you seen the best view from above?