Smokey Bay

One of the things I  miss the most when travelling, is running.  There’s nothing quite like that perfect run – morning, the sun is shining, it’s warm but not yet hot and/or humid.  And the pavement seems to slide under your feet, your lungs breathe in perfect tandem to the pounding of your feet.  I run when I get fantastic news – I want to wear off the extra exhilaration. I run when I get not-so-fantastic news – I want to wear off the extra frustration.  But when I’m travelling, it’s not always feasible.  Except that time in Iceland. 

The whole idea behind Iceland was to run 10K in the Glitnir Marathon in Reykjavik.  No real reason for that.  I just saw a pamphlet and decided to start running, and do it.

Running in Reykjavik was surreal.  Around mid route, the race edged the Atlantic Ocean for 2 k, and for the rest it meandered through the city.  With none of my normal landmarks, there was no mental block prompting me to mark the distance.  I didn’t notice the kilometres passing below me, instead I took in the sights and the people lining the streets cheering us on.  It was a great way to see the city, and to find areas that I wanted to visit later on.

After my race, my mother (my cheerleader at the finish line) and I headed to the Blue Lagoon. A relaxing float in the warm  silica infused water was the perfect tonic to the stresses of life (and racing!)

We used Reykjavik Excursions for all of our trips – they pick you up at your hotel and then drop you off there at the end of the day.  No matter how hard I tried to stay awake and enjoy the scenery, after a day filled to the 9-hour brim I found myself nodding off as we cruised down the Ring Road.  Thankfully, a lot of Iceland looks the same, or at least the southern part does.  We visited Thingvellir National Park, where the tectonic plates in Iceland are pulling apart; Gullfoss, Iceland’s most famous waterfall; and Strokkur a geysir that erupts regularly.  (Every 5 minutes or so!)  We also got to climb a glacier covered volcano.  You’re free to guess which one.

Besides my race day, I didn’t touch my running shoes for the rest of my trip.  I have no plans to run another race.  I don’t want to supplant the memory of my run through Reykjavik with something less.  But maybe I’ll plan another trip where I can bring my running shoes and run along some other foreign shore.

And if you’re wondering? “Reykjavik” translates to “Smokey Bay” in English.

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It’s Not the Time. It’s the Money.

I travel.  It’s what I do when I have the time, and money.  Let me rephrase that – when I have the money.  Time I have, the money part of the equation….that takes some serious tinkering with finances, and promises of a more rewarding future if I leave those shoes on the rack, instead of in a shopping bag.
For years I was self-employed with no real vacation time, and my “travels” were limited to long weekend jaunts to Toronto or Montreal, with the occasional road trip to Nova Scotia thrown in.  About three years ago I decided to say “screw it” and I booked a flight to Iceland.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there.  Shortly after buying my ticket, and signing up to run a 10K race, a friend and I decided to take a car and drive to Chicago for a 4 day weekend. 
That 4 day weekend turn into a 10 day Americana road trip, with stops in Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison.  A mere week after returning home, I was off again to Reykjavik, and a whole new world of adventures.
There’s been no stopping me since, and in the past three years I’ve logged trips to Peru, Belgium (with add-ons of Paris, Luxembourg, Rotterdam and Barcelona), Hawaii and Newfoundland.  This Christmas, I’m hitting either Costa Rica, or Panama.  And next summer?  Next summer I’m climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
This blog is (hopefully) going to be a combination of my planning, and my trips.  I’ll give you the companies I found, the companies I ultimately decided to go with (and why), and any lessons learned along the way.