Past Experiences ep.03 – The Land of Fire And Ice

This past experiences series are one of the most fun writing I get to do on this blog.

I’ve been through a lot over the years and it’s nice to have a place that I can capture it all, with the added bonus of having the ability to share and inspire others along the way!

If you haven’t read the previous posts from this series, you can read here the first and the second posts.

Past Experiences ep.03 - Iceland

Before We Start ep.03

I started the journey to the land of fire and ice on the other side of the globe, New Zealand.

And above all, this journey wasn’t mine, it was my moms!

I was a bit homesick after 4 months of traveling by myself and like anyone else, I called my parents, my dad answered the Skype call.

We talked for some time and when I asked “where is mom?” he replied that she wasn’t home, so we said our goodbyes – nothing special. 

What happened next got me to stop every plan I had and get back home.

For the lack of understanding

Of how Skype video calls work, my dad didn’t really close the call and I was there on the other side of the screen just looking at my parent’s house through the webcam.

My dad couldn’t hear or see me, but I could hear and see everything…

He walked out of the frame and I was just about to close the feed and move to the next call when he walked back with my mom, helping her to walk.

My mom was sick

I had no idea what happened and why she looked so helpless, I only knew that I should go back home.

When I got back I found out that my mom had cancer – she was in the hospital in isolation for a long time, while I was traveling somewhere on the other side of the world.

My parents didn’t want me to stop my trip because of that, to this day I don’t understand it.

These Past Experiences

From the time that I was at the top of the world to the time that I was at the bottom of the worst place in the world, I understood what is meant to be completely out of control, there was nothing I could do but wait.

Lucky, from there with small but steady steps, she got better and better, getting out from the hospital and moved back home.

It took more than a year for her to be able to get out of the house.

During That Year - Her Journey Began

I think that the only good thing about having cancer is that it makes you think.

Think about your life and mostly, think about all the things you haven’t done yet…

Iceland - The Land of Fire & Ice

Past Experiences ep.03 - Iceland flag

It was her dream to go to Iceland, to see the Northern Lights!

For so many years she stopped herself from going, she could afford it, that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was that she never did anything for herself before, with the sole purpose of achieving her goals and dreams.

Cancer changed that and once the doctor approved, two tickets were purchased to the land of fire and ice, Iceland!

(by the way, the only reason I got to go was that my dad would never go to a place that the temperature would be below 0°c – he hate the cold!)

We landed in Iceland!

Now, I’ve been in 26 countries so far and I can tell you from my past experiences that although Iceland will be one of the most expensive trips, it worth every hard-earned dollar you’d spend (invest) on going there.

Iceland has everything! from active volcanos all the way to massive glaciers (land of fire and ice remember…).

The history, culture, people, and scenery are just some of the reasons you have to visit.

Some Pictures From Past Experiences In Iceland
But We Came For A Different Reason

We drove west for about an hour to get away from the city lights when we arrived at a small hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Picture this if you will:

There is a small lake on the top of a small mountain, from that lake, a winding river goes on until it falls from the mountain edge turning to a waterfall.

500 meters from that waterfalls end was our hotel.

The plan was to go at night with a group that we joined to stand outside and see the Northern Lights.

My mom was excited, it was cold as it gets but we went outside and waited, I kept looking at the mountain, thinking “it should be a better view from up there”.

After an hour or two we got back inside, the cold had won that time, but we’d have more opportunities to catch the lights in the days to come.

I Had Different Plans

My past experiences had taught me that if something of that magnitude is just at the tip of my hands, I can’t stop there!

I mean I’m already there, why not give it another try?

So I got back with the rest of the group to the hotel, they went to sleep, and I took every warm piece of clothing I owned and went back outside.

Just before I got out of the hotel I got another glimpse of my mountain from the window.

I decided I’m going to climb up and take my chances from there.

On the way, I got stopped by the guy at the reception, he warned me that the weather had changed and strong wind is about to reach that part of the island.

I told him that I can handle the wind, he replayed “it’s not the wind I’m worried about, it’s the volcanic ash that it carries with it.”

Past Experiences ep.03 Bárðarbunga Volcano

Two or three weeks before we landed in Iceland the Bárðarbunga (I dare you to try and say that out loud) volcano had erupted.

Maybe there was some risk involved in going up there, but I thought that as long as I would be able to see the night sky and the horizon I’m fine.

The guy at the reception agreed and I was on my way to the bottom of the waterfall to look for a way up.

There was a small trail leading to the top, it took me half an hour to run all the way up and when I got to the last steps I was so happy to see that behind the lake stood another mountain ridge.

It all looked too good to be true, clear skies, snow-white mountains on the horizon, a small lake and a waterfall.

Now The Hard Part

My body was warm from running all the way up, but that warm feeling quickly got replaced with an ice cold strong “breeze”.

It was difficult to keep warm, I was completely exposed to the wind up there.

23:00 – one hour on the top, still no sign of the Northern Lights, the skies where amazing but I wanted to see the lights…

00:00 – 2 hours on the top, I started to run, do burpees and just about anything to keep my body warm, still no lights…

01:30 – 3.5 hours on the top, I started dancing, I was so happy – it started!

Past Experiences ep.03 - Northern Lights

At first, you will see a greenish haze and soon enough it will start to get brighter and create “dancing” lines in the night sky.

The cold stopped bothering me, I had my head stuck looking up for about 2 more hours, just standing there screaming from joy.

It was as close to perfect as it can get! The lights in the sky reflecting in the small lake with the waterfall roaring in the background behind me.

When I got back it was almost morning…

After That Day

The rest of the trip was just as good, with every day that had passed we saw new things, heard new stories about Iceland.

And yes, we got to see the lights again from another spot on the island and also from the sea.

My mom got to see the lights too and we marked this trip as a complete success.

I wanted To Share

My mom’s journey from the lowest point of life, almost at the end of them, to the greatest point, achieving her dream!

My experience with the Northern Lights, just a bonus this time =) though I did came back to Iceland for the second time.

But all about that on another post…

Before I end this

I have just one question for you to ponder on: does it really has to be a life-threatening situation to get people to start doing things for themselves?

Do you have something waiting for you to do? Just Do It!

If you enjoyed this one, check out some of my other posts hereand if you like what you’ve seen so far and want to help me out on my journey, you are more than welcome to check out my Patreon page =)

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Enjoy your journey and go Beyond Boundaries, Shahaf Suarez
I’ll see you in the next one =)

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​Sign up for my newsletter and never miss anything =)

Enjoy your journey and go Beyond Boundaries, Shahaf Suarez
I’ll see you in the next one =)