I hovered my finger over the email inbox on my phone screen, hesitating to press the email I knew would bring good news or bad news; confirmation of a dream or a postponement of an idea.
For years, as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit Iceland to marvel at the geology and landscapes with my own eyes. I have wanted to see the areas carved by ice and fire I’ve longed dreamed about or seen ever more increasingly in movies and TV programmes, the desires hammering away at my conscience more and more.
In 2010, with the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano coupled with the appearance of Iceland across popular media further brought its incredible landscapes more prominently to my mind. One day I will go, I would think, without ever putting a plan into action.
Last year, something inside me snapped. Seeing friends and relatives planning trips, I had to do something. It had to be something memorable, something where I could experience the vastness of the open landscapes, but also not just blindly sit in a bus looking out the window.
A few months ago, by chance when researching my summer 2014 trek to the Alps, I discovered information for the first time about a trail called the Laugavegur trail in the south of the country near to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. I instantly knew I wanted to do this, but trekking it alone was not enough. My mind stumbled around the idea of the four day trek, when I – again, by chance, saw the opportunity to apply for volunteer for two weeks, helping the trail managers maintain the path, help with erosion management in the Thórsmörk valley region, a chance to combine my love of hiking, with hopefully helping with a small individual effort to offer a piece of assistance to an obviously incredible landscape. I Googled a picture of the area – the vast flat valley you see in the picture above, ribbons of water heading slowly down the valley. This was it.
I made an application, just on the off chance, and then was lucky enough to have my first ever interview by Skype, thinking it had gone badly.
Yesterday, I opened the email to the words ‘We would like to confirm our offer of a placement with our volunteer team this summer’.
I leave in late June, for two weeks – my grin might be ever bigger by then.